Everyday Things

Life in Malawi is so normal for me now that I often forget that it’s so different from what my life used to be when we lived in America 10 years ago. Here are a few normal parts of today.

The bugs are different:

And so are the slugs. Well, they might be the same, but I don’t remember seeing slugs in America!

The bike taxis are not only different, they made me learn a new style of driving: the stop-and-go-swerve style.

The overloaded semi-trucks do feel normal now, but they don’t feel “right.” I still feel like they’re going to tip over and squash me whenever they drive by!

I’m pretty sure this one didn’t squash anyone, but it doesn’t raise my confidence level.

And having kids is a new normal for me. I haven’t spent any significant time raising kids in America, but I do know that I love raising kids in Malawi. I’m glad it’s our “normal!”

What “normal” parts of our life would you be interested to see? Let me know in the comments!

Science in Malawi

Abigail is doing biology for science this year, and she is loving it!

We are currently studying birds, and today’s lesson on nests had a section about weaver birds.

So we decided, since we have weaver birds in Malawi, to go find one of their nests. We found lots, right on our own street!

They’re way up in the palm tree in front our neighbor’s house, so the picture is a little grainy, but you can see the hole/tube on the left side where the birds enter from the bottom.

Then we went home to study a feather. If you have to study the barbs of a feather, why not take a close look at a beautiful guinea hen feather?

We love doing science class in Malawi!

Loving Team Time

Over the last several weeks we have had the privilege of hosting a team from The Master’s University. We had a fantastic time with them!

They came to do the kids’ program for our church camp, and stayed around to help with lots of admin projects for both the church and the training center. Then they got to experience life in rural Malawi by spending 3 weeks working with Action International in Ntcheu. Sunday night they came back to our place for a little debrief, and Monday afternoon we dropped them off at the airport.

We so enjoyed this team! Dinners were long and full of conversation.

Our evenings were fun as they loved on our girls.

We got to share life with them and enjoyed showing them some of our favorite things about Malawi.

We were very blessed to get to know these college students! We will miss their deep theological conversation, their hilarious antics, and the genuine love they poured out on us. Thank you TMU team, for the blessing you were to our family and to so many others here in Malawi!

Food for Six Months

Martha told me a great story today: About 7 or 8 months ago, I had asked her if she wanted to plant the seeds leftover from a watermelon we had eaten. We both knew that her son, Chancy (16), had a green thumb, and we both thought it was a great idea. From those few seeds, Chancy raised 12 plants. He took the plants to Salima and planted them on Martha’s property, where her mother now lives. The plants grew and produced lots of fruit. The maize fields were empty for Martha and many in Salima, but the watermelon patch did great!

In March, there was a funeral in the village, and one of the men attending the funeral told Martha’s mom that the restaurant at Livingstonia hotel needed watermelons! He took 2 truckloads of watermelons and paid her enough to buy 3 large bags of maize. I asked Martha how long those bags would feed her mom and the grandkids she cares for: 6 months.

Six months of food from a few seeds. Three bags of maize when the maize fields were empty this year. We are thanking the Lord for his provision! And we are passing along some more seeds!

Birdwatching Around the House

We have heard the owls the last few days, but finally saw one roosting this morning.

It’s a barn owl, and apparently there are a couple in our palm tree, and several more in the neighbor’s trees. Unfortunately, they’ve taken up residence in our neighborhood because our neighbor’s stockpile of maize has drawn “hundreds” of mice. The owls are here for the mice, and I hope they have quite the feast! Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy hearing and spotting them in our backyard!

Church Camp 2018

It’s hard to believe, but this year was our 7th annual church camp! These are treasured times of fun and fellowship within our church body, and this year was no exception.

We were able to hear the testimonies of the church elders and from each of them a devotional from a passage that has had an impact on their walk with the Lord.

During our free times, we piled into vehicles to go look for zebra, nyala, sable, and giraffe.

While some of us took a quieter walk through the woods looking for birds.

And just in case we missed the wildlife on our drives or hikes, it often came right into camp.

The kids had a whole week’s worth of VBS – Bible stories, games, memory verses, crafts! – in the three days of camp. The girls LOVED it! And, of course, in good camp tradition, they were completely dirty by the time camp was finished!

It was a fantastic 3 days of sharing life together with our precious church family. These opportunities for sharing meals together, having long talks, and playing together are priceless!

Waiting for Dad

I’m not sure who is more excited for Dad to get home today: Samson or Naomi. It doesn’t matter if he’s gone for three days or half an hour – these two take their watch duty very seriously!

Catching Dragonflies

I sent Abigail and Naomi out with a butterfly net to catch a butterfly that they could observe and draw. Five minutes later they came back inside quite proud of themselves: “We caught something!”

Yes they did! But not a butterfly! They caught a DRAGONFLY!

If you’ve ever tried to catch a dragonfly, you’ll know they’re fast! It’s no small feat to catch a butterfly, and even more impressive to catch a dragonfly!

So they grabbed some paper, colored pencils, and their friend Rejoice and started drawing their dragonfly, just as though it was the most ordinary thing in the world to catch a dragonfly. I love sharing life with these girls!

CAPA Graduation

On April 19th, CAPA graduated its first class of Masters of Divinity students. These students had studied hard for 3 years, and it was a joy to cheer for them as they crossed the stage to receive their hoods and officially finish this arduous course.

Matt has walked with these men, not just on the finances and IT side of things, but also as a prof, teaching their counseling courses and many discipleship labs and round tables over the years.

Many of these men are our friends, some we count as very dear friends, so for us this graduation carries with it not only the distinction of being the “first MDiv class,” but also of being a major milestone in the lives of our friends.

Years of friendship, discipleship, and growth are represented by these few pictures of men in black robes.

Years of partnership, preparation, and desire to see men trained to study, apply, and preach God’s word.

Please pray for these men as they pastor churches in and around Lilongwe, that they would remain faithful to the accurate handling of God’s Word. Pray also for the next classes as they rise through the ranks. Thank the Lord with us for his good work!