Sometimes when God wants to do great things, the enemy comes against you in ways that are most frustrating. Getting to Malawi was a challenge to say the least!! We arrived in Johannesburg from London with only 50 minutes to get to our connecting flight. When we got to the transfer desk, they said our flight to Malawi was closed and there wasn’t another flight until Thursday. After going to two different airlines, they decided that because our connection was an “illegal transfer”, the only option we had was to call our travel agent back in the states. We knew we couldn’t make the call from our cell phone, so we set off to try to get another flight and to find our baggage. In the process, we went from Terminal A to Terminal B no less than 10 times. We had two guys from Belgium with us who were in the same predicament. They asked if they could hang out with us and if I would talk for them at the different desks that we were directed to. The ironic thing was that the airline found their bags, but ours are still missing. We all had to purchase new tickets to Malawi on another airline and we flew that afternoon to Lilongwe. It was a nightmarish day, and when we landed in Lilongwe, we had to go through Thunderstorm clouds. That sounded scary, but was relatively smooth compared to what it could have been. However, as we landed we were grateful for the rain because one of the wings on our plane emitted a ball of fire!!! OH MAN!!!! Troy looked at me with eyes as big as plates!!
We arrived safely and our contact Rus met us at the airport with a doctor friend named Gari. We went to his Aunt’s home and quickly became part of the family. Mama Jesse (as Troy and I call her), has taken good care of us. We are in a very wealthy part of the city, so it is very safe here. We’re spoiled actually! :) We have walked alot and have taken the "African Subway" a.k.a. a "Mini bus" PACKED full of people.
Wednesday, we went to several places to try to get toiletries, internet access, water and contacts for possible camps. We walked A LOT!! We did a mini camp at a Secondary School called Chipasula. The kids were great, but it was HOT!! Troy and I got FRIED!!! I’m not sure what we thought when we didn’t put sunscreen in our bags!! We got to share with the kids though, so we were really excited.
Thursday morning we walked to a pharmacy to try to get sunscreen (which by the way is $26USD for a small bottle. No joke.) We walked back to the house and then down to Good Shepard International School for a small clinic with 5th graders. It was overcast and we both wore long sleeves and praised God for the cooler day!! The kids were SUPER fun and they LOVED the camp! We played “Knock out” and they asked “Can we play it again?” One girl said “I wish you could come everyday!!” They were so cute!
Thursday afternoon we went back to Chipasula and did another clinic. Afterwards we were approached by a guy named Chisomo. He had some questions about the Jehovah’s witnesses. He then told us about how his mother was a strong believer and had prayed for healing after a diagnosis of being HIV+. She was healed, and that really impacted his life. He commited his life to the Lord in 2009, but has struggled with what he called “backsliding”. Troy was able to encourage him with his personal testimony, and then Chisomo asked how he could get more connected with people who could encourage him in his walk. We introduced him to Rus and they are going to meet on Wednesday! When we walked away we were so excited. It’s worth it!!
Once we were in the car, Troy said that he wondered if there was more he should have said and we talked about that a bit. As we “debriefed”, we passed Chisomo on the road, so we stopped and gave him a ride to his home. On the ride, Troy was able to share a bit of what we had talked about in debrief time. It was so cool!! We were so blessed to see the Holy Spirit working in the life of this guy. We are so grateful that he was prompted to ask a question and had the courage to do it! We are also trusting that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide him to people who will challenge him to grow. God is faithful to complete the work He starts.
Gari, Rus, Troy and I went to lunch at an AMAZING Pizza place and as we were washing our hands in the dining room, Rus looked at me and said, “I am so glad you guys came here. We had almost decided to give up on the Basketball ministry here in Lilongwe, but having you here has reignited something in us to keep going.” If you know me….even a little bit…you know that there is nothing better for me to hear than that I encouraged someone who is in full-time ministry. It is worth it!!!
In spite of the enemy’s attempts to keep us from this place, God is working through us. We are sunburned but not burnt out. We are missing belongings, but not destitute. We are tired but not defeated. We press on to attain the prize for which God has called us heavenward, and it is worth it!!!
Thanks for reading!