Raqel is originally from South Africa, so for her coming with the TMC team to Malawi is almost coming home. She encapsulates here much of what the team has been thinking about and doing while they’re here – wrestling with suffering, considering the role of compassion ministries, and loving the church.
(Raqel Cherry) The pace is a lot slower here in Malawi, in everything from the internet connection to tasks we are trying to get done. I found it really easy to feel right at home here, and not just because the Floreen’s have been the most amazing host missionaries, but also because a lot of the culture is very similar to South Africa and there are a lot more familiar sights like rooibos tea, nutticrust biscuits and green cream soda.
Our main project here is to help Matt find out what local ministries are around and who is doing them well. Our team has been wrestling through how we can really be helping. Through team time, conversations with Matt, and a book he’s having us read, I think all of us have a new perspective on many aspects of missions work, and how we can really help without hurting here. Malawi is a new culture to us, we cannot begin to expect to understand in our short time here.
God is teaching me a lot about His sufficiency, not only for us but for those in great suffering. It is one thing to accept Christ’s love but a grave danger to forget how much we don’t deserve it. The devastating effects of a fallen world became very apparent when you walk into an HIV/AIDS clinic and see the downcast faces of those in true suffering, God’s role as comforter to the broken hearted takes on a whole new depth when you put it in this context. It is incredibly overwhelming to feel helpless in the face of others suffering and so we all feel like we need to make some temporary fix by throwing money or even our time into different ministry efforts. While this may be well and good it can sometimes just be for our own guilt relief and become more selfish than selfless as it may appear.
Something I have a deepened respect for since being here is the role of the church and the demand for us to be committed and serving. The church is Christ’s body and the home of the Gospel, which in all reality is what people need more than any life-saving drug or steady supply of food. It’s hard to say that because even after experiencing salvation from the Gospel and reveling in its depth I still just want to give some kind of relief to anyone I can, but I’ve seen how while this can be a good thing, it isn’t the best thing.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, we truly appreciate them so much. I pray that God is blessing you, and you are having a joyous summer (or winter in South Africa).