Malawi Trip Part 2

Monday

[written and adapted from notes of Bro. Michael’s voice memo daily journal]

Cyclone Freddy Relief distributions in Malawi began on Monday, April 17. We purchased a bag of maize, a cooking pot and two blankets per family. This distribution is not going to all of the families in the church. There are 500 families that have actually suffered loss and damage to their homes that we are assisting. Most of these people lost literally everything. They had been staying in schools and camps but now the schools are sending them back to their homes where Michael observed some people building temporary homes of grass even as it continues to rain sometimes daily. We also bought extra maize to assist 100 other families in an area where crops failed.

At the beginning of the morning I got into my vehicle and it wouldn’t start. After some investigation I located a loose terminal on the battery and was thankful to be able to repair that and be on my way. The first distribution was near the land purchase. We met the truck carrying blankets and had to empty some blankets and maize into the storage house built there. We had quite a little caravan traveling along to the distributions.

The people at the first place had been waiting for a while and we quickly discovered that in order for a distribution to run smoothly, you HAVE to have tickets. I didn’t bring any so I made 130 tickets by signing my name on paper and tearing it into pieces. At the second location we just gave tickets to the pastors to begin with and they went and gave out their tickets themselves first. It worked much better!

The roads are treacherous. You don’t want to drive on them at night. The sides have broken off of the road and left big ravines and there are big pot holes. You have to pay close attention between other drivers, pedestrians and bad roads. It was difficult to get good pictures because I was trying to work and get things done. I would get some things done then go run take a couple of pictures.

Tuesday

Our second day was a good day. A full, but exhausting one. We had three distributions. At each place I would read a scripture and have prayer. This morning there was a ruckus at one place with a man running off with a bunch of blankets. Some women were very disturbed saying one of them was theirs.  I used it as a teaching moment and told all of them through Bro. Master’s translation, that we are to act like Christ and when someone doesn’t treat us right we are to love and forgive them. We then gave the lady a replacement blanket.

One of the places we just gave out maize because it was an area unaffected by the flooding, but the people’s crops had been very bad and they were very hungry in that area. We traveled on some of the roughest dirt roads I’ve ever been on to reach them. Something was wrong with the vehicle. It was scraping the bottom, a tire seemed out of balance and there was a squeak on the other side.

At the last distribution of the day we had a wonderful experience. I spoke to the people about the hope of Christ. When all the blankets and maize are gone, Christ still remains. It was such an inspirational time and the people were so responsive and appreciative. Moments like this are the high points and what I love most about mission work.

Wednesday

I returned to the village one last time for a final distribution at Chiringa. On my way out of town I stopped and had a mechanic to look over the vehicle. They recommended a number of maintenance projects to be done but said it was safe to drive. As I drove the hour and a half to the village I realized it was NOT safe to drive. I stopped several times to discover what was making a noise like a blown out tire. Eventually I could not drive any further and was stranded. Upon further inspection I saw that the rear tire was about to come off of the car! Two lug nuts were gone and the others were loose. If that tire had come off while I was traveling at highway speeds I and others could have been killed. The Lord spared me a serious accident.

I called ahead for Bro. Master to send a mechanic. While I waited, a retired school teacher that lived across the road came to visit and we discussed the economy and I enjoyed giving him some farming advice from the Foundations of Farming techniques. A group of about 30 children surrounded me, one little boy in particular incessantly asking for me to give him money. A lady excitedly approached and told me she recognized me and that she attended the Church of God in the area. She left and brought back her pastor. The mechanic finally arrived, bringing with him the lug nuts we needed to secure the tire and go on to our destination.

We completed our final distribution and I said my goodbyes to the congregation. I returned to the city and prepared for the next phase of my trip to travel to Kenya. We thank the Lord for His mercies and protections. He kept all of the funds secure, enabled the purchases and distributions to go smoothly, protected the goods at night that were being stored. Truly the Lord blessed in every aspect.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email