Well Played, Malawi 8/52

Sunday, February 12, 2017
Dedza, Central Region, Malawi
Well played Malawi; well played. This week has been an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. The week started out lovely! We drove to area 25 of Lilongwe to attend the birthday party of Lancy Kachali; and we had a great time eating pie and playing different games.

Monday was a typical day, we stopped at the LifeNet's shop and church hall; and then did some errands in the morning . Late in the evening our power went out. It came on several hours later; but it was just a tease; it went out again at 4:30am (I woke up when the fan turned off). It remained off the rest of the morning; which meant a cold shower for Lewis and me. We went to the post office to buy stamps and drop some letters off; and I bought some cards on the side of the road. I’ve bought cards from three different vendors, but somehow they all have the same design of "hand painted" cards…

We arrived back home around 4:30pm; and the power was still out (it had been out all day). I had three video calls scheduled for Tuesday night and I was getting nervous that there wouldn’t be power in time for those. And I was correct; there wasn’t. Thankfully we had enough of a signal to make our first call; and then, the power came back on… but it was just a cruel tease. The power was “on,” but not enough wattage to actually use anything… the power lights were on, but there was no juice. Unfortunately the signal was not good enough for my second call, but thankfully they understood and were willing to send me the info via text; that was at 7:00pm . By 9pm the power was back fully on, and I was able to attend my final meeting.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember that we had screens installed so we could keep our windows open in the evenings. We realized pretty quickly that there were sizeable gaps (the screens are perfectly level, but the construction of our apartment isn’t quite as precise); we thought we had fixed the problem with a combination of plastic grocery bags and silicone. Unfortunately, on Tuesday night we found so many mosquitos. We thought we killed them all; and tucked ourselves into our mosquito net for the night. We woke up on Wednesday at 5:00am to no power and multiple mosquitos INSIDE our net; and multiple bites. Mosquitos are scary because of the threat of malaria. The power came back on after a short while and I was able to get a warmish shower, but after so much time without power, cold showers, and mosquito bites I was feeling emotional, frustrated, and overwhelmed. My wonderful Lewis reminded me to eat some breakfast (I was probably hangry as well) and prayed for our attitudes and for our safety for the day; we were headed to Dedza to spend some time with Chifundo and Kettie Njewa (members from our congregation) .

Dedza is nearly two hours away for us; but in a minibus it can take much longer and the trip is expensive. Because of this Chifundo and his wife are only able to make it to Lilongwe for services once a month. I can tell you I had a very bad attitude when I got into the van. I was tired, itchy, and overwhelmed and I was looking at a two hour van ride. In that moment, I wanted to be anywhere but there.

But Malawi, this beautiful country, has a way of making up for the difficulties. As we headed out of Lilongwe south toward Dedza a beautiful mountain ranged loomed larger and larger. Unlike our drive through the mountains to Salima, the climb was gradual, and seemed less arduous, but the views! Oh the views. They were breathtaking! How can you stay in a bad attitude when you’ve got God softening your heart through prayer, and through His beautiful creation?

As an aside; even in the midst of my frustration and general feeling of being overwhelmed; I realize how easy we have it; even here . I have running water in my house. I have power connected to my house, even if it doesn’t always work. I have food to eat. I have a job. And even though I worry so much about Malaria, I am taking prophylaxis medication as a precaution. I have so much; and I try not to take it for granted. You see, even with all of my advantages, I look at some of the circumstances here in Malawi, and I think, “This is hard.” But so many have it even harder than this!

Since we arrived in Malawi I've been on the hunt for nice stationery to send letters with, unfortunately I haven't really found anything except some postcards (that I've been grossly overcharged for). One of the exciting things that happened in Dedza is we found a little recycled paper making shop. The owner was very nice, and took us around and showed us how he made the paper. One of the best parts? The paper I bought was nearly 1/2 the price of the postcards I've bought in town. Plus, now (if I can find just a few items) I might be able to make my own paper . From there we visited a pottery shop before heading to pick up Chifundo from his workplace.

We had a very nice afternoon getting to know Chifundo and Kettie a bit better, and we got to take a bit of a tour through their neighborhood. Thursday and Friday were slow days spent working from home and trying to get our taxes filed with the internet signal temperamentally going on and off.

The Sabbath is always a joy, and this week was no exception. We had a sermonette by Cephas Chapamba titled “A Designer’s Eye,” and reminded us that we have to view everything through the lens of what God intended, not necessarily what we see. Lewis gave his fourth in a series on the fundamental beliefs of United Church of God. The two messages blended quite well.

After services we had another English lesson. I’m hopeful that they’ll be helpful, but I’m not really a teacher, so I’m skeptical. Sunday we will be going to Lake Malawi with the Chapambas and Haiton Thungula. I look forward to writing about that in my next blog.
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Candace Abd

This experience of hardship in so many ways, can build such beautiful character that God wants in us. I know it's hard, calling it what it is, and we have moments like a roller coaster ride. But it is in the process, God tells us that He, The Father Almighty and our Lord and KIng, Jesus Christ, will never ever ever leave us or forsake us. I've been in Egypt, North from where you are, and we had very similar issues, usually every day, with the electricity and mosquitoes and flies. And it would affect how much potable water we had. So when it was working we would fill container after container. We did have a generator, which did help in some ways. I would really suggest looking into solar or wind power as a supplement. It could be done! We also experienced crooked lines in construction, maybe some sort of foam spray would seal? As an aside, I have to say, we didn't have such pristine views or land, mountain, or sky as you have with the pictures you share. WOW. What is also amazing is our fellow human beings and their attitude of patient endurance and relationships with each other that gets us through. And especially our relationship with our great Abba and Lord, Jesus Christ. Prayers and hugs. P.P.S. A site that may be of some help with the English class that I and my husband found helpful that you may be able to use as a guideline of format is: w w w .learn american english online .com /index. h t m (I have to post it here that way :)


You are far away but you are never never forgotten about I love your updates it is a wonderful marvelous way to pray for you and to stay close to you it just brings me chills

Dianne Clark

Hello to you and thank you for your service to the brethren in Malawi. I do not know you personally but certainly have you in my prayers. What a blessing it is to have beautiful young people willing to serve so far from home. God will be with you. Dianne

Wendy Kovalchick

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! We especially appreciate your frank & detailed posts. They're so helpful in helping us to pray more specifically for you both, and for each of our brethren in Malawi. We're looking forward to hearing & reading more! :-)
With love & hugs,
Wendy & John Kovalchick