Fast and Faster

Friday, April 21, 2017
Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Malawi
The last few weeks have gone by rather quickly and have been some of the busiest weeks for me in a lot of ways.

The Kubiks were with us not long ago . The Passover came and went and so did the First Day of Unleavened Bread. We had a wonderful Feast filled with fellowship and good conversation. The very next day we had a work party on our property, cleaning windows and leveling the ground. We also bought paint and a few other supplies and added some nice touches to the windows. The day started early and ended late with people getting rides to the building and home again. It was a very productive day which we attempted to repeat the following day with slightly less energy, but still a great day. We managed to help fuel the workers with homemade rice samoosas provided by Mwayi Chonde.

The third day we would have loved to have worked hard another time so we could continue to take ownership of the blessing we have been given, but we were advised to wait to complete any major jobs until the previous work was evaluated and ties with the previous contractor were dissolved. That day began with a meeting, some letter writing, and a bunch of running around and sitting around getting the Bongo ready for yet another road trip . Just before sunset the work was done and all the parts were bought. Only one small job, fitting the new tires on the front wheels, remained till Sunday. The Sabbath had begun and it was time yet again to drive Francis Ngopola home. He had patiently waited around for work to be done on the van when he could have been elsewhere doing anything.

Another Sabbath, the fourth so far this month, came. We enjoyed more fellowship and learning about what forgiveness means. And yet another day was passing by us. All too quickly our time here seems to be moving along. Just when progress in so many directions seems to be happening we are beginning to think about what's next for us and what's next for our brethren here in Malawi. Just as we are getting to know everyone a little more closely and individually, it will be time for us to head back to the US for a visit. I can't exactly say it's a vacation. More like trading one busy place for another. But the incoming month of May and a very hectic schedule means we have been here for four months . When we fly back into Lilongwe at the end of May, we will only be left with about six months. And then what's next? We don't know where God will place us. So far, since I was asked to work for the Church, we have moved twice in less than two years. In fact since we got married, Lena and I haven't lived in the same place for more than two years. We have no idea what is next for us. All we know is, we have to be ready for anything and willing to adjust to change.

Any way, back to the events of this week. Sunday morning arrived very early, as most days seem to lately. I've been waking up earlier all the time. Sometimes I get more done that way. I got ready early and left Lena with the Hilgens so they could finish packing everything for a trip up north. We were about to head out to Mzuzu. I had been in contact with Julius Kachali and together we were praying that the heavy rains would stop long enough for us to be able to drive to their home in the hills of Mzuzu . I got the new tires fitted on in no time and drove straight home. We packed the car and headed out to find two of the Kachali sisters, Lancy and Juliana. They would be joining us for a visit to the home of their parents for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread.

The weather was pleasant and we made excellent time, arriving to our destination with plenty of time before sunset. The dirt and dust road to the Kachalis was dry except for a few puddles, one of which is actually quite deep. This can cause problems when the only way to the other side is straight through with a van full of people. We arrived safely, had some tea and coffee, and then were escorted to the guesthouse we had booked for our stay. If we would have stayed with the family, I'm certain they would have given up their beds for us. We checked in to the empty Anglican Guest House. Only two employees were there and only because they knew we were coming. They were supposed to be on vacation that day, but had kindly shown up to prepare our rooms . We then headed back out to the hills for a lovely dinner and some enlightening conversation.

We were promised breakfast the next morning by the staff at the guest house. But first we headed down the street to a little coffee shop, The Mzuzu Coffee Den, for some delicious coffee drinks. Our breakfast took its sweet time being made and we were left with negative ten minutes to eat it. All morning it had rained in town off and on, sometimes heavy and sometimes just a cool mist. Everything reminded me of the Skagit Valley except for the red dirt and the occasional banana tree. The decision was made to park the van at the top of the hill before going down into the valley just in case the rains had made the mossy hills a little too muddy for Bongos to drive on. Thankfully the rain had stopped and the ground wasn't too muddy. The four of us walked down the hill, past the neighbor's attempt at a guest house, and were met by Juliana and Abel. The rest of the family was cozy and warm inside their house preparing for our arrival and for the Holy Day services we would soon be taking part in .

It seems that when traveling there is the most chance for things to go wrong. The Sabbath before we left, Brennan and Michala weren't feeling well and stayed home. We haven't really had a chance to rest for a while and I think their bodies needed some time off. While we were on the trip, Lena's stomach gave her some trouble, but she gracefully weathered through and spent some quality time with our brethren. Just as we were nearly home the following day Brennan had some sort of allergic reaction to something and ended up spending the past few days in his room resting up and staying hidden from the world. Today he is finally better and will hopefully stay that way so he and Michala can travel safely home at the beginning of next month.

The Holy Day was a delight from beginning to end. We ate together, we sang together, we worshipped our God together in a small classroom positioned in a village in a mountain ridge. I even anointed a few weary heads with oil and we prayed together . We feasted until the sun went down and then we sat and shared stories until it was time for us to go. Again the morning came early. We packed up and headed out for more coffee. No one was at the front desk of the guest house and so there was no one to take our payment for the two nights we stayed. I decided to ask the friendly guard who I think understood what I was asking. He accepted the money on behalf of the staff and I took a picture to prove that I had paid him. It's a good thing I did. Later that day Julius, who had made the booking for us, got a call from the Anglicans who were asking about the money for the rooms. The guard still had the cash but insisted that I had told him the money was for him and his friends. I definitely never mentioned the word 'friends' in any language. I think everything was sorted out.

The coffee drinks were again very tasty, but by the time they arrived at our table, we were already late picking up Juliana for the drive home . She didn't seem to mind, especially when we showed up with a cappuccino for her. We hugged Patricia, Julius, and King Kachali and headed in down the road. I hope we were encouraging to them. And I hope they are ready for our next visit. We are planning to return sometime in July.

The drive home was terribly foggy until we got down out of the mountains and the sun began to shine more brightly. Other than that, the day was uneventful until we reached Lilongwe and Brennan started to realize his predicament. We rushed around, stopping for fuel and food, and scrambling through midday traffic. Eventually everyone was home safe and sound, and at least we had food in our belies even if we were tired and not entirely feeling all that well. It's always nice to visit people and places, but it's always nice to have a home to come back to and a familiar bed to sleep in.

Don't worry. There's more. The week was half over, but there was still plenty that needed to happen . As per the advice from my lovely wife, I did nothing (or at least nothing important) for half a day. I still had to go for a meeting in the afternoon, but it was relatively painless and completely productive. The next day we had plans with Darlington and Fidelia Misomali. They have two children, a successful business, cheery smiles, a lovely home in a hill, and plenty of questions and ideas to share. Lena and I left our younger, more worn out counterparts back at the house and had a delightful afternoon getting to know more of our brethren. Something we intend on continuing to do (except hopefully with the Hilgens along for the ride).

And last but not least we find ourselves at the very end of a very busy week. Today was definitely no exception, at least for me. I had planned to meet with Wiza, the young adult who volunteered to give the sermonette tomorrow for the youth Sabbath. We talked for a while and I gave him some pointers and some encouragement. I did have some quiet time to work on my own message today between meetings and helping Wiza and Juliana apply for Youth Corps projects . I drove quickly home in the middle of the day when I didn't actually need to, but it gave me a chance to reorganize my thoughts and get a bite to eat. Tonight as the Sabbath is upon us, the Church will be voluntarily fasting for the next 24 hours. It's good to remember to prepare for a fast. I don't necessarily mean physically. But mentally and spiritually we should be prepared, understanding what the purpose of fasting is. Is it not to loose the bonds of wickedness and draw close to our God so we can better hear Him when He tells us what His will for us is? I ate my lunch with these thoughts in mind and rushed back out to meet Alfred Mitomoni who had come right from the hospital after having treatments for his cancer. We did some quick letter writing and went to get some advice about moving further forward with our building. We are still headed in the right direction, but again we were told we must wait.

Hurry up and wait. That seems to happen a lot. But waiting can be just as good for us as moving. Waiting helps us build patience and gives us time to think. If all we did was hurry around everywhere, there would be no time to sit and talk, or to meditate on the words of God. I'm thankful that we do have some time to slow down here and there even though our time here is moving by so quickly.
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Comments

gonzolupe
2017-04-21

Thanks Lewis! I had been following Brennan's illness online (FB) but hadn't heard if he was better yet. I really appreciate your blog.

Be well.
Lupe

gonzolupe
2017-04-21

I have another questions - beating down the broken bricks - can you explain that? I have an inkling that you're crushing them to make a gravel (brick piece) walkway but I'm unsure

Be well.
Lupe

lewvan
2017-04-21

At the end of construction there are always broken bricks left over. We
used them to help level the ground before pouring concrete. It's cheaper
and easier to use the materials on hand. Plus bricks hold up be than sand.
On Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 10:58 PM wrote:

bmBritton Redline
2017-04-23

Thank you for these blogs, Lewis! They really help me to think about & pray more deeply for our brethren in Malawi and Africa. I must say I tell people in the Church about you and Lena serving over there alot. You're both in our prayers.

bmBritton Redline
2017-04-23

Thank you for these blogs, Lewis! They really help me to think about & pray more deeply for our brethren in Malawi and Africa. I must say I tell people in the Church about you and Lena serving over there alot. You're both in our prayers.

bmBritton Redline
2017-04-23

Thank you for these blogs, Lewis! They really help me to think about & pray more deeply for our brethren in Malawi and Africa. I must say I tell people in the Church about you and Lena serving over there alot. You're both in our prayers.

bmBritton Redline
2017-04-23

Thank you for these blogs, Lewis! They really help me to think about & pray more deeply for our brethren in Malawi and Africa. I must say I tell people in the Church about you and Lena serving over there alot. You're both in our prayers.

bmBritton Redline
2017-04-23

Thank you for these blogs, Lewis! They really help me to think about & pray more deeply for our brethren in Malawi and Africa. I must say I tell people in the Church about you and Lena serving over there alot. You're both in our prayers.

lewvan
2017-04-23

Thanks for the encouragement Britton!
On Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 2:50 PM wrote:

2017-09-23