It seems that we live life in Malawi in three-month bursts of energy. When we arrived in July, it took us a month or two to get settled and begin to sort out what we would really be doing here day-to-day and in ministry.
Then in late August we began attending revivals, conference meetings, teaching, preaching and our round of circuit visits. We traveled from Ngabu in the south to Livingstonia in the north. Each visit taught us more about Malawi, more about the United Methodist Church. Each person and encounter revealed the depths of the need and the heights of accomplishment. We heard groans of the spirit and celebrated answered prayers.
But by the middle of November we were tapped out. We could not make ourselves get into the Rav4 one more time. And our Superintendent and friend, Rev. Mhone, honored our need. He supported our decision to cancel our calendar of visits for the remainder of the year. We attended to meetings and responsibilities here in Blantyre, took a holiday with the kids and celebrated Christmas.
The rest was good for us body and soul, but as January came we were anxious to get back into the circuits, to continue to visit the pastors and their families and be immersed in the life and vitality of the church beyond Blantyre. So we planned an ambitious calendar from mid-January to mid – April.
I have been to Zimbabwe for a week and (nearly) completed several manuscripts for editors at home. Jeff has attended and taught at Finance meetings and hosted computer training events for Tiwasunge. We have visited five additional circuits, taught at the Youth Training Seminar, hosted two mission teams, including a glorious three-week visit with my parents, attended Annual Conference, and hosted guests in our home 37 of the past 50 days. The mission teams have enabled us to re-visit ministries in Ngabu and Tiwasunge and host the first Nursery School Teacher Training for seven teachers across Malawi. We cannot possibly capture or share all the blessings of this time – the people who inspire us, the firsts that continue to build and shape the church in Malawi, and the sacrifices of leaders every day that reveal the glory of the Lord.
So here we are again three months into our work and ministry, weary and worn. The next 23 days of our calendar hold another circuit visit, a busy Easter weekend, meetings and commitments to our local church. And we look forward to Claire Marin’s school musical, time with friends, and planning our furlough at home.
Thank you to each person – whether in Malawi or the US – who has visited, prayed, emailed, Skyped, IM’d and texted us. You are equal partners in the mission and ministry.