So, we really should’ve known this, but Ovi’s idea of a day of rest is quite different than mine…
I read Acts 13-15 this morning and was impressed with a couple things. Mainly I love how Paul and Barnabus went out together and it mentions that Paul spoke most of the time. Just another example of each person having different gifts and talents and using them together with each other to further the gospel. Second, I will admit was a bit of an answer to some questions I had floating in my mind. Paul and Barnabus travelled from town to town and began churches. They sometimes stayed for a little while and taught, but for the most part they moved on planning to return again to check on the church. It is well-documented that Paul wrote many letters (the epistles) to different churches when he could not physically be there. While I’ve been travelling around with Ovi and seeing the different churches, he has started around Zomba and hearing about even more, I began to wonder if he’s overreaching himself. How could he possibly oversee all of these churches? But as I read Acts this morning, I saw how truly biblical this is. Ovi does train the pastors he leaves in charge at these churches, and he checks in on them as often as he can. I was greatly encouraged by this and even more so that God would answer my thoughts through reading the Scriptures. What an amazing God we serve!
This morning we went to check on the new church building. It looks great! The floors and stairs are complete! It needs a door and the inside painted but for the most part it is ready for worship! After having a look at the church, we had lunch at Samuel’s house. He has a beautiful home and yard. It is all so tidy and welcoming! His wife and daughter had prepared quite the spread for us, too. It was interesting as well. Before we ate, Samuel’s wife came around with a picture of water and a large bowl. She bent and poured water over our hands into the bowl so we could wash before we ate. What a wonderful picture of service! We then kind of helped ourselves buffet style to rice, chicken, nsima, cabbage, and eggs scrambled with tomato. It was all delicious! We enjoyed our meal, talking and teasing with each other. It is amazing the bond that can be shared with people who seemingly have little in common, yet we have Christ!
After lunch we began an epic adventure up Zomba Mountain. And it was truly and adventure! The roads were so bad that Janine and I nearly banged heads in the back seat! Naturally, we were laughing the whole time. The first stop on our adventure was William’s Falls. I do not know who William is, but he has some beautiful waterfalls. I also decided to take a little fall while we were there. I stepped and my foot went out from under me, and I went down…laughing the whole way. Scraped my knee a bit but I’ll live. We hiked a little way down river to see another part of the falls. It was all amazing! But, hiking down means hiking back up. I think Ed might have gotten a little worried about me on this climb. I will admit to being winded—very winded. Janine & I did not train for this kind of walking! Will need to do better next time. From the falls we drove up ever worsening roads to the first lookout point-Emperor’s View (the king of Ethiopia came and looked out from there many years ago) and Queen’s View (Queen Elizabeth also came and looked out from a place nearby). Both views were absolutely majestic. We could see a huge lake to our left (sorry. I have no idea which direction I am pointing in this country most of the time.) and several mountains and one spent volcano. We were about eye level with the clouds. We drove on a little further and then hiked over some boulders (I managed this without falling but still with much laughter) to another view just as magnificent. I could not help but be in awe once again at the God who created all of this! So much beauty and splendor all created with a word. Then we went on to one last place Ovi wanted to show us. But as we drove, the clouds began to move in and once we reached the top, it began to pour down rain. We sat for a little while hoping it would clear but it did not, so we began our long drive back down the mountain. There might have been a couple really wet places where the car lost traction and someone in the vehicle might have screamed—once even startling the driver—but I’ll let her tell whether or not she thought we were about to meet Jesus face to face. We did make it home, sore and tired, but having enjoyed the day and all of God’s creation. Another wonderful dinner from Lita and a bit of teasing the kids and we were ready to crash.
I am so humbled by all I have seen in this first week. We have seen God’s vast creativity in nature, His provision in corn for people who’ve lost nearly everything, and His love for His children. I pray, as we go to two services tomorrow, that we will have more opportunity to serve the One who died for us in serving some of his lowliest of children.