Saturday, January 31, 2009


We arrived in Malawi four days ago. Since, we arrived in the evening, we weren’t able to see much that night. It was the first night that we had to sleep under mosquito nets, some thing that will soon become natural. The next day, the 28th, we were taken to see the places where we would be living. Neither of the two are finished yet. Our guy teammate Josh will be staying in a one bedroom apartment-like unit in the missionary’s yard. Laekan, the other girl, and I will be staying in a middle-class Malawian home. This consists of concrete floors, running water, small kitchen, living room, and dining room, and two bedrooms. It is a very cute place. Probably the best thing about the house is that when we walk out the back door, there is the most beautiful view of green tea estates and mountains in the distance. (Yes, it is green here; we are in the middle of rain season.) We also were able to go visit a local church and pastor in a nearby village. Later that day, we were fixed the screens on all of the windows for Josh’s apartment.
I am going to give an update on all of our time thus far, because one thing that we have already learned is that you can only plan one, maybe two, events per day. The reason for this is that A) everything takes time in Malawi. It takes hard work to live. Eating dinner for example takes 1 to 2 hours preparation. B) when running on Malawi time, you don’t tell time by the watch, but rather by events. They are a people oriented culture. Relationships come above scheduled events.
The next day was devoted to continuing to get our living spaces put together. We went into Blantyre (a bigger city) to shop for things needed for a household. That evening we ate with two guys named Titus and Willard. They are members of the TAYO (thyolo active youth organization) that we will be working hand in hand with. This organization focuses on topics such as Environmental Issues, HIV/Aids Education, Girls Ministries, Sanitation…and so on. Our job is to walk alongside them and to encourage and help them infuse biblical thought in to the activities that they are planning. So the next day we were actually able to go and help organize some things as their offices and to look at some of the upcoming initiatives that they have planned.
This morning we woke up early and helped hoe a field with the Thyolo Baptist Church. I’m not sure how helpful we were. I would find myself trying to hoe the ground and then one of the church members would come right behind me and correct it. I feel like we were there mostly for entertainment. Something we are getting use to. This evening some of us, and some locals, were to the market, and every time we would stop to look at a booth, we would draw a crowd. It was very nice though because walking back from the market we were able to see our friends Willard and Titus and stopped and chatted with them for a little while. It gives Thyolo village a home-like feel, where you can walk and see someone you know and talk for a bit with them.
Tomorrow, we will spend our first Sunday in Malawi, and we will be going to a church called Calvary Baptist, I am sure it will offer a unique experience. While we are here, we will mostly be scheduling days one at a time, because that is how the people and organization we are working with do it. Though there are a few bigger things we already have scheduled. One of which will take place February 16-23rd. We will be taking a 5 hour train ride and then will spend at least one whole day hiking to a village in the bush of Mozambique. During this week, please be praying extra hard for strength and endurance, as it will be a physically demanding trip.
Malawi’s first language is said to be English, and while that may be true, there are few people that seem to be able to speak more that 7 English words. We are trying the best we can to communicate with them and we use the missionary’s son as a translator when available. We are also working on Chichewa (the local language) phrases.
so far this is what I’ve got:
MONI which means HELLO
ZIKOMO which means THANK YOU/ EXCUSE ME and basically you just say it all the time and clap your hands together.
…I need to learn a lot more….
As the days take a wear on my body, and I find myself weak and tired this is some scripture I have been praying. I encourage you to pray it both for yourself and me as well:
Isaiah 40:28-31 The Lord is the Everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Thank you so much for your time and reading this blog. Thank you even more for the prayers that you nor I will ever know the full extent of. Thank you for taking part in making Him known among the nations. I was also going to let you know I am not sure how often I will be able to update this and that is why I wrote a rather long blog today. Access to the internet will not be on a regular basis, but I will try as much as possible to keep you updated.

Malawi is a beautiful place to live for the next four months. The people of Malawi are even more beautiful. And I cant wait to see the beauty of what God has planned to do here.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

..back to the real world.

  We finished orientation today and at 6.00 we headed to the airport so that everyone could head off to their destinations. There are 26 HandsON people going to different locations. There are 8 groups in all. All the groups except ours and one other left to their destinations. We will fly out tomorrow at 3.30 pm to Malawi. Today has been a peaceful day and very relaxing which was very much needed. We are staying in Johannesburg South Africa with a missionary couple for the night. 
  After not being able to communicate in 10 days and it feeling like you are living in a fish bowl, getting on the internet and trying to call family is a little overwhelming and because of that this blog will probably be rather short. Lots of very useful information was learned at orientation, things from cultural norms to team building exercises to the other religions found in the area. This time was well worth it and will be very useful in the days to come. I feel like to some extent, some of the information is still being processed. I do plan on writing more in depth about orientation in the next couple of days if possible. 
   I did want to post some prayer requests for those of you who are praying.
-Pray that we will have smooth and safe travel to our final destination tomorrow.
-Pray for our team as well as the other 7 teams that will be ministering in different areas. Those teams are going to Uganda, Botswana, another team to a different part of Malawi, 2 in Johannesburg, South Africa, One in the Lyndhurst district of Johannesburg, South Africa, and one in P'Burg, South Africa.
-Pray that God will already begin working in the heart of the people we will meet.
-Pray for the Brownfields. They're the missionary family we will be serving with. 
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

i made it.

hey- i made it after hours and hours and hours of flying and sitting in airports and not lots of sleep. we begin our training today, therefore i wont be able to contact anyone or update this until the 27th. at that point, i will be able to give an update (i think) and we will be headed to malawi. currently, we are in johannesburg, south africa. so thanks for the prayers for the safe travels and continue to keep me in your prayers as we continue to prepare to show the people of malawi who Jesus is.

Also, a great update. After lots and lots of encouragement (and threatening) by one of my teammates...i was able to swallow my first malaria pill. 179 left to take. So far so good. We have began to get to know one another, and absolutely love my two teammates. they are absolutely amazing (and hilarious.)

Keep up the prayers and an update will come soon.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

if you know me...

..then there's a chance you know this about me: i do not know how to swallow pills. and yes, i have tried everything..hiding it in food, drinking lots of water, breaking it up, etc. and here's the deal: in order for me to be protected against malaria i must take a pill daily beginning two days before i leave and every day up until a month after i get back.

So far things have been better than expected. I went to get my shots and had prepared myself to get lots of them and found out i only had to get two of them: a polio booster and a typhoid fever shot. Much to my suprise, these shots didnt hurt a bit and cost less than $50. (my arm got a little sore later.) Also, when i went to pick up my prescription for the malaria pills, prepared to pay a big chunk of money, i discovered that my insurance would cover some of it and i was only responsible for paying about $20. With suprising outcomes like this, maybe it will be easy to swallow the pills.
-the challenge-

In the next couple of days, I ask that you specifically pray that it will be easy for me to swallow these pills. yes, its a small request, but the swallowing of these pills is a big deal to be protected against malaria and it would be awesome if it became easy for me to do. thanks so much. i'll keep you updated on the progress.
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a peace that passes all understanding.

I feel like out of all the questions that I have been asked lately, one is asked over and over again. And with the number of days until I leave becoming fewer and fewer, the question is asked more and more. That question is "Are you nervous?". And my answer to that question is "no, not at all." I am so UN-nervous about this trip that it makes me a little nervous. (If that makes sense.) And dont worry I have thought about what I am doing and played out any possible scenarios in my head. I think there are a couple of reasons that there is no nervousness:

1. I believe that God offers peace, a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that comforts a worrying heart.

2. I know that I am being obedient. If I am obedient and seeking to be in the center of God's will, then there is nothing to worry about.

With all that said-
*******ONE WEEK UNTIL I FLY OUT!!*********

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

where it all began...

I feel as though I have been wanting to start this for a little while now, but due to my hectic schedule and wastlefulness of the free time I do have, it has been pushed off. So I am beginning it now and planned to stay as up-to-date as possible. I was wondering how I should start off this blog and I figured that people would probably like to know what led up to my decision to go on this trip and so here it is. I will start from the beginning or at least, somewhat of the beginning (And I will try to give you the short version.):
Two years ago, I was a freshman in college and there were two things that I began to have an undescribable passion for. Those two things were: the beginning of a homeless church and going to Malawi. Obviously this blog and this trip have to deal with the latter of the two. After I first began to have this passion for Malawi, everywhere I began to find stories and references to this small country. I began to learn more aboutu this country and printed off some Chichewa words and traditional dishes (that I never ended up making). I both thought and prayed about the possibility of going there. That spring break I went on a trip to Peru and didnt think going to Malawi that summer would be financially possible. After sorting some things out and growth, I thought that the summer after my sophomore year would be the right time to go. However, this is not the timing that He had in mind. Instead, I moved home for the summer in order to make money so that this would be less of a factor when the time came for me to go. I also began to wonder if this trip would ever become a reality. Towards the end of the summer, one Sunday, a couple serving in Madagascar spoke at church and talked of a program called HANDSon. This is where twenty-somethings served foro a semester and the cost was $2600 and the IMB covered the rest. I, immediately, thought to myself, that maybe this was for me, but there was no way because I have a four year plan of my own to finish school. I looked into it anyways and then realized that there werent any trips to Malawi so I thought maybe this wasnt the right time either. Then one day, when I randomly checked back to the website, I saw that there was now a trip to Malawi, and with this I became overwhelmed with emotions- excitement, anxiousness, nervousness, joy, and in awe I just sat there and pondered the reality. I knew that this was the timing that I had been waiting for the entire time and with that, I began the application process, and had references fill out and send in reference forms. At the beginning of October, I received notification I had been accepted to go. My dream, my passion, my call to be obedient is now becoming a reality.
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