Settling In 4/52

Sunday, January 15, 2017
Lilongwe, Malawi
I’ve vacillated between being overwhelmed with excitement at all of the new things; and overwhelmed with doubt as I realize how difficult this year might be. We lose power most every day. The outages range from just a few minutes up to five or six hours at a time. Thankfully we keep frozen water bottles in the freezer to keep the things in the refrigerator cool during those times. But it also makes planning things tricky. The power might go out at 5pm on a Friday and be out for five hours… there goes your dinner plans. You may plan to start work at 7:30am and work for five hours and the power goes out for three hours. Looks like you’ll be working late into the night. Everything is prepaid with a scratch card here, including our wifi and electricity. You go to the business location, or just a regular store (depending on what you are purchasing); you buy a little scratch card (with cash preferably since many locations just don’t accept credit cards) and then you load up your electricity account, your cell phone, or your wifi provider. We’re currently buying smaller increments until we get a better idea of how much things will be and how much we will use. We will survive (obviously), but it will take some adjusting to our new normal.

All that said, the Sabbath was wonderful! No matter what your doubts or fears might be, being with God’s people has a way of making things all better . I was very nervous to meet the congregation. We’re outsiders, we don’t know them, we don’t know their culture; and they don’t know us. I needn’t have worried. Everyone was friendly and kind. To help myself learn names, and to later become a directory I went around and met most everyone who was at services (a couple slipped out the back before I got to them) and took their picture, got the spelling of their names, and got their phone numbers. I’m going to take a map to services next week and try and get an idea of where everyone lives so we can hopefully start going out on visits soon.

On Monday, Lewis took his Malawian driving lesson. I’m nervous about getting around the city, but I have every confidence in Lewis.

On Tuesday Lewis drove the Deans to the airport. It was wonderful to have them here for our first week, to help us get acclimated. We miss them already.

Lewis drove all week, and he did a fabulous job! We’re beginning to learn our way around town. We can get to the LifeNets Shop/Church building, the bank center/household goods center, and the mall where our favorite grocery store is located… and back home again. It’s exciting to get to know our town.

We’re looking forward to the Sabbath and getting to know everyone a little better. I believe we are going to start going on visits next week.

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Denise Dobson

Oh Lena! I love hearing about your new experiences in this adventure! Hooray for Lewis's driving and learning your way around! When you can get around, things start becoming familiar which leads to feeling more at home. Well, "at home" in spite of some obvious inconveniences like undependable electricity. Auggh! In that situation I guess I would have to change my whole personality from a planner/scheduler to a flexible person. ;-P Who knows? It might be more fun that way. (Nah, surely not.)

Your comment about the Sabbath rings true, loud and clear, no matter where we are on this globe: "All that said, the Sabbath was wonderful! No matter what your doubts or fears might be, being with God’s people has a way of making things all better." <3

We love you and miss you and pray for you every day. And we're thankful you're able to have this amazing opportunity as you serve God and his precious people. Big hug to you and Lewis!