Praises And Prayers.
We are two weeks into our Malawian adventure. It’s been wonderful and it’s been hard. Today’s blog is going to be very simple as I’m going to tell you a few of the wonderful things and a few of the hard things we’ve experienced.
1. The people God’s placed with us.
The Lord continues to prove Himself faithful in regards to the people He’s given to help us here in Malawi. Ken and Avisha Mpemba have been incredibly kind and generous with their limited time. Ken and Avisha are the directors of Malawi Children’s Mission, therefore they’ve been designated our point people here. Even though they have three children, two businesses, and help lead our church, they have given massive chunks of their days to help us get established. Without them we would have no way of getting from point A to point B. In fact, we wouldn’t even know where point B is! Ken has continued to give his valuable time to walk Josh through every step of getting settled, such as the DMV, Lilongwe for furniture, the grocery store, etc. Avisha has been an encouragement to me by picking me up to get mani-pedis so I could get some freedom and letting me use her kitchen to prep and cook over a weeks worth of meals, since our temporary kitchen is small and has limited functionality. We couldn’t be more grateful to them.
We are also blessed by the sweet missionary couple who’s property we’re currently staying on. The Taylor’s have gone above and beyond to help our little guest house feel comfortable. Andrea has been an encouragement to me as we have been able to have chats in the garden about what life and ministry looks like here in Malawi. As a Mom of three teenagers, who she has raised here in Malawi, Andrea is a blessing of insight and wisdom. She also leads a bible study that I’m able to attend on Friday mornings. I’m truly enjoying getting to know the sweet ladies in that group and can’t wait to continue building those relationships.
2. The daughters God has given us.
Even though the transition has been challenging for them, our girls have brought us so much joy. They truly are gifts from the Lord. I feel as if right when I’m having a homesick moment one of the girls does something sweet or silly and I’m reminded that my home is with Josh and our girls. Not only that, but being a parent pushes me closer to my Savior. I realize daily that I can’t parent out of my own strength. Parenting necessitates walking closely beside Jesus and letting Him pour out of you rather than the flesh. Otherwise I’m going to be modeling a mess of sinful and frustrated responses to my girls. I’m so thankful that my girls encourage me to pursue Christ.
3. The message God’s entrusted to us.
The message we have come here to share is the greatest encouragement we’ve been given. The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. He has been so faithful to encourage both of us through His Word. We’ve also been able to share with the girls that God loves with an everlasting love and that He is always with us, even when we move to the other side of the world. We are beginning to explain to them that we came to Malawi so that the people here can learn about God’s saving love too. Even though they don’t fully understand, I do believe they grasp that God loves them mightily. I delight in seeing their faces light up when we tell them that God knows them and loves them.
1. Lack of Freedom
As of right now we own a van! Woohoo! What an answer to prayer. Thank you all for praying and giving to make this possible. However, it’s not technically drivable because it’s not registered. Josh will go to the DMV to straighten that out on Monday (The 1st). Hopefully, it is a quick process with no issue, but that hasn’t been the case with his last two experiences there. You can be praying Josh is able to get all the necessary paperwork, including registration and his permit, in a quick manner. Lack of freedom due to not having a vehicle and simply being in unfamiliar surroundings has probably been the most difficult aspect the girls and I have faced so far. At the point I’m writing this, the girls haven’t been able to leave the property in eight days, so they are more than ready to be around other people and experience new things. Ella Jane has been asking to go to church, so that she can play. Clara is miss social and will be thrilled to meet new people whatever the occasion. You can be praying that we begin to gain more freedom so that the girls and I can build relationships and thrive here in Malawi. There are play groups around us as well as several couples at church with children near our girls ages, so we are anticipating being able to plug into those.
There are many things I miss about home. My dishwasher, air conditioning, dryer, reliable power, take-out food, and pumpkin spice lattes are at the top of the list. On a deeper level, we are truly missing our families, friends and church. Ella Jane asks daily about nearly every member of our family and still doesn’t understand why we can’t see them in person. It’s hard to watch her miss them, as we are missing them too. I hate having to explain to her that we can’t go to Winnie or Lollie’s house because we live too far away now. We are so blessed to be here and have full faith that the Lord will do amazing things during our time here, but the desire to be home is strong. As I see events like our Life Group fall retreat, my sister-in-laws baby shower, and the Hope Market (which I enjoy going to with my family) pass by there is a longing to be there and to be in the familiar and comfortable with those we love. Please pray that the Lord continues to help us navigate these feelings and desires as we establish Malawi as our home.
3. Details of getting settled
I think one of the most difficult things for Josh so far has just been adjusting to how things work here. Nothing happens quickly. Small tasks like bank trips can take hours. This is primarily due to the level of disorganization that’s rampant in this country. When you have a long lists of tasks to accomplish in order to get settled into life, the slow pace can be extremely frustrating. Josh is doing a wonderful job of handling it with wisdom and grace. I’m so thankful for his diligent care. I do pray that he can gain a sense of accomplishment this week as he gets things checked off the to-do list.
I share these hard things not as complaints, because we truly do know that Malawi is where God wants us to be. We are excited and grateful to be in the center of His will. I share these things because I know many of you are wondering how you can pray more diligently. I wanted to let y’all know our praises and prayers as you join us in what God is doing here in Malawi. Thank you all for faithfully praying. We truly can tell we’re being prayed for.