With the new fans in place I slept like a log last night! Good thing, too. We had a very active day. First we went to the sight of the new church being built. They were there preparing the floor to pour concrete. They were working so hard! It was really cute to watch even a little—maybe around 3-4 years old—filling a grocery bag with dirt and carrying it inside to dump in an area they were trying to level off. A couple men were using picks to loosen some dirt in an area outside the church and then a couple women (and a child) would load the dirt into 5-gallon buckets, carry them on their heads into the church building and dump them in a low area. A young man was doing the same with a wheelbarrow. Meanwhile, there was a man inside breaking up some of the higher area so they could make the whole thing nice & level. The view from the church was amazing! I’ll post pics on facebook.
After that we drove to a village and met the pastor who took us from hut to hut. He had several people in mind who had been coming to church and for some reason or other stopped coming. We walked between decimated corn fields and fields where they have since planted other crops in an effort to grow enough food to live on for this next year. Things are desperate. But as we came to huts along these paths we were greeted with warm smiles, handshakes and a few hugs. Of course there were always a gaggle of children following at a distance and giggling. The first place we stopped we were looking for a young lady who had been attending but had stopped. She wasn’t there but her family was. They were professing Muslims, which may be making it difficult for this lady to stay faithful to God! But they all sat down and listened attentively as Janine went through the plan of salvation with them using the Evangicube and an interpreter. When asked if they wanted to receive Christ they all said yes, but with little conviction or seeming true understanding. But, we know that God knows the heart! While we may not have confidence in ourselves, we do have confidence in the Almighty God who loves each one of these people! We will pray that a seed has been planted and that just maybe they will come to church, even if out of curiosity, so they may hear the gospel again and learn more about Him.
The second hut we came to we found the young lady we had been searching for at the first place! I had thought that Ovi and Jonah had said that she had been coming and had professed faith in Christ but Ed told me to get out my Evangicube and tell her about salvation. I was a little confused about our goal on this one and hesitated, but someone came to my rescue and stepped in saying she just needed encouragement. Then Ed took over. He actually threatened to come and carry her to church Sunday! Ha! That finally made this sad, hopeless looking young girl smile very shyly. She has a child of about 1 but looks no older than a teen. She struck a chord in my heart. She had all the sullenness of a typical teen but there was real, deep sorrow there. I truly hope she will come Sunday (and Ed doesn’t have to carry her).
Next we visited a couple and we were able to share the message of salvation once again. Again, both of them said they wanted to accept Christ but we just felt unconvinced. (Later, Ovi spoke to us about how the culture here says to not offend others so many times people will give you the answer they think you want to hear. This doesn’t surprise me and validates our concerns—BUT God knows and we can rest in that.)
The next place we visited had three women—one much older—and they all listened to the gospel message. They all said they wanted to pray as well. This time, however, one of the younger women really seemed to have heard and understood much of what was said! We asked them, as we had all the others, how we could be praying for them—what some of their needs were. While the others all mentioned having the strength to come back to church & things like this, this young lady said” you’ve already done the best thing in the world for me by telling me about God.” (I’m sure that isn’t an exact quote since it was not even in English, but that was the gist of it.) Her smile was amazing! I hope she truly believes and will begin going to church to be taught more.
Each of the people we spoke to were concerned about food. I mentioned before that their crops were washed away by a tropical storm and the replant hasn’t been successful. This is their only real way of feeding themselves until the next corn crop next April! It is not simply a matter of getting food stamps for a few months or going down to the local charity to get groceries to help you get by. They have no other food sources. Hope for the future is trying to get corn to some villages, but since most of the crops in Malawi had the same fate, it is difficult even to do this. I just found out that tomorrow we will be delivering food to another village and I am excited to get to do this. It just seems like so little. I am praying that God will work miracles and the people will see these miracles and turn to Him.
In spite of the shortage of food, the pastor of this village and his family fed us lunch before we left. It was yummy! I won’t say I will put Chinese cabbage at the top of my favorites list but it was ok. The rice and egg were really good!
When we got back to the house, we found the power and water were out upstairs in the Cornea home so Ovi had to get onto getting that fixed. After walking a lot in the humidity and hot sun, Janine & I took short naps. Once the situation was taken care of we sat with Ovi and talked about the day—what we could do differently next time, how we felt the message was received and our hopes that the ones we spoke to would come to church Sunday. Then we ate yet another yummy meal prepared by Lita, Pastor Ed & Ovi wrestled with the TV for a while we ladies giggled at them. Now we’ve finished showers and are winding down for bed. I will go to bed with prayers for the ones we spoke to and thoughts about what we will do tomorrow. It’s a really good tired.