Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ministry to the Orphans in Zomba

Yesterday was another glorious day of seeing God move in a powerful way.

First thing in the day, we traveled out to the orphanage near Zomba to visit the new work that the pastors are undertaking there.

We turned down a very rutty path and passed through rows of newly planted coffee plants clinging to the side of the mountain. Our car, a small Toyota 4wd similar to a Camry, bottomed out frequently as we slowly crept toward our destination – the orphanage site.

We arrived to find a large crowd assembled and waiting for our arrival. There were perhaps as many as 150 men, women and children sitting patiently under the shady trees.

After we debarked, we were greeted by the village headmen and offered a seat. The bishops and headmen spoke briefly (Well, as briefly as can be expected in Africa) and welcomed us to the site of the orphanage. Currently, there is only a building standing there which is used as a classroom. The orphans stay with the mothers and fathers who have taken them into their homes to care for them.

Practically all of these orphans are without parents due the every present HIV/AIDS problem in Malawi. I saw no shoes on these children and mostly ragged, dirty clothing. There were however, many beautiful smiles in the crowd.

I stood to present the gospel to the crowd. The children were very patient – much more so than American children. I may have spoken a little too long for the children, but I believe that the Holy Spirit was directing my message and I trust Him. In the end, perhaps as many as 50 people indicated their desire to receive Christ. (It was very difficult to tell and I am trusting God that their commitment will endure).

A slight cultural misunderstanding occurred when the villagers saw the size of the gift that we brought with us. You will remember that I mentioned the fact that Africans are receivers from my previous update. Bryan and I had purchased a 50 kilo bag (About 110 lbs) of rice and a 50 kilo bag of sugar.

Had we known that our gift was only a token, and, had we been better prepared for our visit, we could have done more. In fact, our gift probably only helped a handful of the children at best seeing as there are only 600 orphans in the village.

After leaving, we returned to the guest house for lunch and to prepare for the evening service. Sampson, our house helper, had prepared a very nice and tasty spaghetti meal for us.

About 3:30, the bishops came to pick us up for the service at one of Bishop Tangwe’s churches. We again journeyed down some very poor paths to get to the place where the church was located.

Upon arrival, we discovered that our bumpy ride had punctured the gas tank on the car.

We continued on foot to the church. Children were coming out of the woodwork like little ants shouting, “Azunga, Azungu!” This is typical.

When we arrived in the church, the congregation was worshipping and praising God. Their joyful singing brought much needed light to that dimly lit little church. The floor of the church was dirt and the pews were mounds of dirt that were shaped and compacted like the adobe bricks that you see frequently here. The pews were “padded” with old burlap maize bags so as to avoid getting dirt on the parishioners clothing.

I preached a message on How to Share Jesus from Acts 8 with Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch. It was very well received and the people seemed excited about the challenge of sharing Jesus with their friends.

Today, we will be at Bishop Khula’s church for worship, and we will tie up loose ends with the committee in a planning meeting.

Please continue to pray for us here in Malawi. The journey home is very long and tiring. I hope to get a few days rest upon returning home.

Darrel – From Blantyre, Malawi

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