On to Blantyre!

Monday, April 10, 2017
Blantyre, Malawi
Today we travel by AXA coach to Blantyre. Bus to Blantyre. Both the VanAusdles and the Hilgens come by the lodge just before 6:30 to take us to the AXA bus departure point which is about 10 minutes away.

I cannot tell you how much we've appreciated being here in Malawi with these two couples . Their contribution to the welfare of the church is immeasurable. They provide spiritual guidance, organization, vision, music, but most of all love to these people. They understand what it means to serve in a Christ-like manner. Bev and I felt emotional about parting with our friends.

When we arrive the bus has some mechanical problems. I see a long set of jumper cables being brought out and with some activity in front of the bus we hear the welcome sound of an engine.

Off we go to Blantyre. We have the front seats on the bus. Great view from the bus of the gorgeous countryside. Everything is so green right now after a very rainy season. The scenery is reminiscent of western South Dakota and its buttes emerging from a plain.  This is the most beautiful that I’ve seen Malawi on a drive. Perhaps it’s because we are just observing from a very good vantage point on the bus.

We drive through Dedza, the Mozambique border, Ntcheu and finally into Blantyre . Sitting across the aisle from us is a white lady who told us that she’s lived in Malawi since age two. She speaks Chichewa. Her English is beautiful British English. She was born in Greece. Everyone has their story.

Police stops and roadblocks are continual. Our bus passes through most of them without any stopping, but the great effort to continually ride the public who are driving is so wearing. We’re so used to in the US to just go and not be stopped unless we are obviously violating some traffic rule.

The traffic in Blantyre was very busy and the streets are crowded with vehicles. Much more so than in the past. We seemed to barely get around the cars into the bus terminal. Gracious Mpilangwe was there to greet us. It was so good to see him again.

Off to the Casa Mia Guest house…just out of the downtown area. Very bad road, but surprisingly secluded being so close to the city center .

We don’t need to leave here until 5 pm for the Night to be Much Observed at the Baptist Missionary Center in the Chichiri area, but we told Gracious that we really felt good and wanted to go see the new church building under construction. We went there at 2 pm and walked around the new construction for an hour and a half. The main auditorium is going to be impressive. The roof is just going up. The building is awesome. We went through every room and talked about what is next. They will put plaster on the brick on the outside and also plaster on the inside. We talked about financing and use of the facility for youth camp and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast will no longer be held at Lake Malawi, but here at the Church property.

From here we go directly to the Baptist Missionary Center where the Night to Be Much Observed is held. We come about 4:30 pm…early. But, we visit with the ladies who are preparing the meal in an outdoor kitchen . Unleavened bread is baked on the spot. Just like with the Israelites who baked the bread in haste. Then a huge pot of nsima is cooking. Along with chicken and beef. And rice. A real Feast!

We talk to old friends who come in one by one.   GG Chikaza and BB Bvumbuti. We have a pleasant chat with them. Also Elizabeth Chipilingu. GG, Elizabeth and Dr. Chilopora are all about 88 years old….birthdate in 1929.

Also Dennis Chinangwa appears with the new transport van that LifeNets helped advance money for. He just got it last week in Dar Es Salaam. It’s a used one that came from Japan. It still has the commercial writing all over it. Wild looking. It’s a cargo van. Passenger vans have extremely high customs duty. He will convert this into a passenger van to use as a taxi.

We fellowship until after 7 pm. There are LOTS of children and they are so precious. And, well-behaved. A joy to be around. There are 84 people here for the NTBR.

I opened with an explanation of the evening starting with the 10th plague against Egypt which was the killing of the first-born. Then the events of the first day of Unleavened Bread in which the Israelites left Egypt triumphantly. Read a big part of Exodus 12.

The meal was fabulous. Then we fellowshipped some more and back to the guest lodge.

A wonderful, but long day. Services tomorrow for the First Day of UB.

We love these people and wish them the best.  
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The new church building is huge! This is fabulous!


The new church building is huge! This is fabulous!


Big building. Ready for Growth!


Absolutely inspiring to "meet" our brethren ...see their devotion and dedication and the joy they exemplify. Great to see the beautiful hall where they will enjoy many Sabbaths/Holydays etc. ......what a joy to be able to have the FOT there !!!! Thank you both for serving God's people...a terrific example of servant leadership !!!! Impressed with the beautiful blue curtains as well as 5 hours cleaning the windows !!!!!!