Back on the African Soil
It is hard to believe that we are beginning our 4th year here in Malawi, but we are back on the African soil and God is faithful as usual. I am so thankful for our family, their adjustment from America to Malawi is a miracle in itself. It takes two days of travel to get here: 8 hours to Paris, another 8 to Nairobi, a surprise stopover in Zimbabwe to pick up people, and finally arrival in Lilongwe at 1:30 am. The great thing about getting to the airport in the middle of the night is that everyone is tired, even the immigration officers. I was able to talk the immigration officer to giving my son a free visa since he was not included on our work permit yet. I said: Please, help the people of God… You can still do that in Africa without offending people…and he had mercy on us.
Day begins at 5:30
After the whirlwind trip, we began the reinsertion into Malawian life (which really is the more sensible way of living as our Malawian brethren would say). The day begins at 5:30 am when the sun comes up whether you like it or not. You are getting texts and calls that early. “Pastor, when is Bible college registration…Do you know its 5:30 am…Yes, so.” We live just off of a main road and outside our window there are cars, deathly old minivans that should have been scrapped long ago (David Livingstone said that he saw the smoke of a thousand villages…I’ve seen the smoke of a thousand minibuses where no mechanic has ever been), bicycles, and pedestrians all moving to begin their day. Even with a very low rate of formal employment, Malawians are extremely hard workers and are up early on the streets to find their daily bread. This motivates us to minister seeing the great needs both physically and spiritually.
In Malawi, one learns very quickly what the fundamental needs are for humanity. In the US we used to complain when our internet was not fast enough or when our calls were dropped. Because of the recent drought, there has been water rationing. Water is off for two days, and then on for 12 hours. Thankfully, we set up a fairly large water tank in our back yard which we can draw water from when the water is out; maybe it is God’s way of identification with the people whom we minister to. The majority of people in our church do not have running water in their house even in the capital. They go to a common tap to draw water for the day, often having to wait in line; so walking out to the back yard doesn’t seem so bad. Thankfully, our power has been on with very few blackouts, allowing us to have hot water for taking bucket showers.
Upon our arrival we had Mindy Stein from Berlin, Germany visit us, and she was put through the crucible of the Malawian welcome. No running water, only bucket showers, flushing toilets by pouring water down them, etc. She was a trooper and looked beyond the details to really minister to people. Philippians 1:12 describe it best: “the hardships that have befallen us have happened for the furtherance of the Gospel.” It is worth it all because the Gospel is preached.
Pray for us
We have a bigger turnout for Bible college than ever before with over 200 registered, visits to the cities where our summer missionaries went, our National Radio Program, home schooling for the girls with little Noah in the mix, and the running of the church with visitations, ministries to married couples, women etc.
Also pray, as my step mom, Carol had knee surgery in the States. and will come back here with my father hopefully before Christmas.
Thank you for your priceless love, prayers, and support; we are nothing without our spiritual family. by Pastor Chris Arman