Monthly Archives: April 2012

April 2012 Oh, How I am ready for you to end…

In my poetic update last time I said,
” Breathtaking beauty is brought to my attention by belief that God is an artist.
I find myself in a valley– times are unsettling, with new challenges daily.
Yet, the hilltops have heights that have me higher than high…”
And I mean every word. Metaphors and truths.

Where I live in Blantyre, it is much of a valley. Its hilly and no matter where you go, you will be walking up and down. Roads are steep and just to reach another point of interest you might start at a lower point than where you end up. Hence, my third line. “Yet, the hilltops have heights that have me higher than high.” I reach my destination I can stop and look and take in all the beauty surrounding me.

April 2012, oh, how I am ready for you to end, because of the valleys I have been trudging through. I’v experienced change in residence, some health problems, phone/internet issues, stress with visa/immigration issues, and uncertainty with my future. On the other hand, the hilltops I have enjoyed include easily connecting with the surrounding community, youth and camp leaders, joy reading the Word/memorizing Scripture and quickly feeling comfort here.

When I am stressed and struggling for hope, I know God is knocking at my door for my dependence on Him. Forever God is with us. His love endures forever. I know and believe that, even when we do not see or acknowledge Him. (And my hope for you is that you can know and believe this too) A friend often quotes a certain song lyric for strength and encouragement. “There is beauty in the breakdown...” She would say..and that is where line one of my previous post comes in. “Breathtaking beauty is brought to my attention by belief that God is an artist.” God ALWAYS has a hand in all that I/you am experiencing, hard or easy. God is by my side. Knowing this, it allows me to be sure there is beauty in the breakdown. The Lord has a reason for the struggles…

April has allowed me to struggle, which has me pondering what I am to learn while I am here?
April’s struggles have given me time to reflect on my life, and teach me how to move forward and make necessary changes in my life.
April’s reflections have redirected me. God is allowing me to endure the valleys, then lifting me up to admire the new beauties from the highest of heights.
Seriously, I understand purpose in struggling, and seeing others struggling, is a part of life, however, it is tough, and tiresome.

The breathtaking redemption to the struggle is that there is something to gain. There is beauty. Yes. Beauty in the struggle. Beauty in the breakdown. There are lessons I can take from hardships. We can all grow if we choose to look for the lesson. If we choose to point our thoughts to God, and to the beautiful lessons he wants us to gain from the struggles of this life.
Despite finding myself in those unsettling valleys, I am assured God will reach down and pull me up to reach new heights.

Colors & Textures: Life in Blantyre

Full of colors, faster paced life, businesses.

Chilamoni where I stay I am surrounded byTEXTURES in every direction.
From dusty gravel roads to jaged stones as a pathway; hand made bricks in all hues of
redish orange to fresh fruits and vegetables of all different shapes and colors.
Angles that allow you to appreciate and houses in hues from the an artist’s palet.
Wind blows, and my skin shivers. I feel good. This expression of the earth makes all things new and warm and good.
Breathtaking beauty is brought to my attention by belief that God is an artist.
I find myself is a valley– times are unsettling, with new challenges daily.
Yet, the hilltops have heights that have me higher than high…

I know this is not now the time for full comprehention, however, someday Ill understand the lessons for which I am passing through and see why the struggle to the top was so tough.

Seriously, if I am not fascinated with the make and model of the mwuezi(moon), I am obsessed with the abundance of colors God splashed in the sun
Setting up a back drop for the prettiest photographs — only for my mind to capture.
Night is near, with a subtle exchange to the afternoon, and I hope one day I can recreate the depth of this serenity
You have to see to believe, that this is the WARM HEART OF AFRICA for yourself.

When I awake and arise from my slumber in the early morning,
Madzi is slowing boiling for the shower I shall soak up..
Adding some flowing water from the faucet, I prep for the day.
Two legs in my skirt, which skirt/shirt combination today?
Breakfast; bread & butter plain or taken with Chombe tea?? grown just an hour away in lushious green fields…
A trip to town, grab my kwacha.
Sometimes crispy money, most of the time, wrinkled, overused and dirty–so I walk to the bus depot
Down the unpaved trail, across the river, hope to hop to the rocks that rise out of the water…faithfully I leap!
Passing shops with open doors, music blarring on the radio, mostly praising God;
Catching stares from the littlest ones — maybe they’ve never seen someone like me before;
I am there
I am greeted,
Madzuka Bwangi? I reply, dadzuka Bwino, Zizomo!!
The minibuses* zipping by with the callerman shouting “80Kwacha to town,” I climb inside, and squeeze in. Crowded with people in colorful dress,
carrying brown potatoes, green apples and furry, lively chickens
Put- put- put as the petrol in this country is scarce, I pray we progress
Picking up people along the way, this is how Malawi’s bus system works.
One out, 3 more in. Did I mention the squeeze?
Personal space is no comfort here, the callerman is now the conductor and he collects coins and bills.
We whip around corners and sometimes I secretly suggest for seatbelts….
In town, the streets buzz with people. Smiles abound, and hands seeking change.

Here, I am overcome with the beauty I am exposed to
I’v become more creative & have aquired an attraction to art.
Remember to look around, to reach up and smell the flowers around you.
Pick one off the limb and feel the texture, and then offer it as a random gift.
I beg you
Sense it all

*Minibuses are 15 passenger vans. Not buses. Come to Malawi – experience the fun. 🙂

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Politics asside…
I hope and pray all the best for the late President of Malawi, Bingu Wa Mutharika and family.
Today is a holdiday for the burial of Bindu. I have never in my lifetime experieced the death of a president while in office; and it is quite an experience. Tradgedy rather. Of course, I have only been here for about 3 months, so my knowledge on Bingu is slim, but I’d still hope he Rest In Peace.
Also, many people were able to view the body and I was one of them. Sanjika is the Presidential Palace here in Blantyre, and its about a 10 minute walk from my house; uphill. Once there, my camp leader and I waited in line about 2 hours, and finally got to “walk quickly” through the palace ordered by the police in order to see Bingu. Talk about experience. Talk about walking uphill for 2 hours to reach the Palace atop a hill and experience a glimpse of a presidential life.

Please Pray for Malawi. Right now, Joyce Banda, the 2nd woman president in Africa’s history has become President of Malawi, and transition of power is our current state. Poverty is a real issue she has to work out, and we need God’s mighty assistance. Pray for President Banda to make the best desicions and pray for better quality of life for the people of Malawi.
I think this moment marks one for the history books. (I will always remember this)

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spotted my favorite flower
we must go! He sees, I smell, I smile.
Ide Osangalala
Friendship allows us to share life, carry burdens and give encouragement
we explore, we think and we go.
laughter is the last and most important ingredient.

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None of this is a Coincident

One of my good friends in California and I have been keeping in touch through email, sharing life together. Recently, she was sharing about her time of fasting and praying.
I told her how I was inspired by the revelations she had experienced in this discipline, and that I desire to be a person/Christian more like this.

Upon going to bed last night, I decieded I should actually do as I said. I picked up “Life Together,” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I turned to the portion of the book entittled,
“Confession and Communion,” and immediately I was was underlining and
agreeing with an “Amen!” as I read what Bonhoeffer was expressing. The pages were opinion, however, laced with Scripture. In fact the opening line read,
“Confess your faults one to another,” (James 5:16) He went on to explain we will only be alone in our sin if we do not confess to our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. So true!
We will only live a life of lonliness, and pain living that life. So as I read, I asked myself, what about the fasting? How can fasting and prayer help?
I said a simple prayer last night and asked God to help me become more disciplined, so I can be a more affective person, volunteer,
Christian and member of society. I asked God for the motivation/desire to pray more, to be more disciplined to pray and have time in the word. (I do not always get
excited to read the Bible. Often I am unsure where to begin and then how to stay motivated) Starting off last night in prayer and in reading “Life Together,” by Dietrich
Bonhoeffer I was struck by the words he used to describe confession as a practice, and something we cannot live without. With assurance, I know the life of a sinner
is changed when we have the Gospel of Christ in our lives. We need to rely on God and our Christian community to uplift us and
help us out of our sins.

This morning I woke up with two significant dreams. First, I distinctly remember seeing two girl friends, who might claim Christianity, yet their lives are very much
living for the world. (Parties and the like) Another part of my dream was a man turning over his life to Christ. He just said, “Ok, I just want to live better. I know I cannot do
it alone, but with Christ, I can live…” Waking up, I made it a point to thank God for waking me up and later when I rememberd these dreams, it might be more clear why the
message at church was about prayer and fasting.

Scripture Message: Fasting and Prayer
Today I attended Chilamoni Living Waters Church where preacher kept repeating “today is going to be a good day, we are going to learn about fasting and praying.” (I was thankful
they preached in both English and Chichewa for me…as you can assume, I was interested in hearing THIS message.) On he went, saying, we as Christians need to be bold for God,
and for the sake of others to know God fully as well as the Good News. However, we cannont be bold without the annointing of God. 1Samuel 17:55 explains part of the story ot David a youth and
Goliath the Giant and enemy. Verse 55-58 sets the scene where David was noticed for doing something unthinkable. Saul is a man wondering and asking Abner, the commander of the Army,
“who is this young boy, David?” When Saul sees David set out from the crowd as an ordinary person, with extraordanary strength he replies, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
(David stood there, in front of the commander of the Army with the head of the slayed giant, Goliath. David was able because he was anointed.)

Action Steps:
The preacher reiterated we need to STEP OUT OF the CROWD! He was very passionate about this statement. Not only step out, but know that we as Christians
are not just ordinary people. The scriptures say David was a young boy, and no one expected him to kill the giant. The preacher reassured us, that because we are born again
in Christ, we are anointed and he urged us again and again to STEP OUT of the CROWD and BE BOLD for the Lord, and for His kingdom. With this anointing, we can slay a giant…or the
giants in our lives.

The preacher made us look to Luke 4:18 where Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent
me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…”(free those captive by sin.) The preacher advised us to become annointed by fasting and prayer. My understanding of anointing is “a call”
God will reveal to you about your life and your life’s purposes. All christians are anointed, yet we must actively partake in the relationship God desires with us.
We must confess and turn from our sins, and then, when we fast and pray God will annoint us. God will reveal ways for us to serve Him, and ways for us to be BOLD in His
Love in order to spread the Good News to those who do not know about it.

Tie it all together:
Perhaps my first dream was revealing through the others sinfulness, that I must confess and turn from the worldly life. Once I repent, and begin to change, God will reveal how
the second part of my dream can happen.
If you are not a Christian and are not sure about this life, please know transformation is possible if you so desire. God sent his only Son, Jesus to be a living sacrifice for us, and
to die for all our sins, so we can live on eternally with God the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
He too wants you to be anointed, and know your life’s purposes for God has a plan for each and every life, yet, you
must turn from your old life and become new in order to live free, and eternally. (2 Cor. 5:17)

God had all of this planned and I am greatful. I am hoping to be washed clean of my sins, and begin to fast and pray more dilligently. I too, need anointment
so I can know my call, and also so I can be Bold for the sake of Christ.

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Minibus, BigBus, Minibus

The day has come. Tomorrow I will leave Madisi, and start my new adventure in the southern region of Malawi. I am still learning new lessons each and every day. New things about cultural practices, more words in Chichewa and patience. I am more ready for the transition, than I was when I posted my update; however I’v enjoyed being where I am, and not sure my heart is ready for something new.
Pray I make it safely, part of the day I’ll be with a friend and partly by my self. I know I can do it, but that darn suitcase….
I am headed to Sullivan’s ministry, Project TEACH for a few days, while my friends in Blantyre are gone for the Easter Holiday.
Updates to come from Luchenza/Blantrye coming soon! Stay posted, and keep praying for all of God’s plans to come to fruition.

Zikomo Kwambrirl

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Ndi Osangalala (I am happy)

Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Is this my life?” I am blessed beyond words, loved beyond boundaries and humbled by the Lord’s everlasting provision. The kids at RISEMALAWI are all getting new shoes. ♥ That makes my heart smile. It will forever make my feet dance. Zikomo.
–This was my facebook status after my birthday party(last night) in Malawi, and after hearing about the surprise for my bday! My parents were compelled to give after hearing the distress Iv shared about my kids not having shoes. I am thankful to all my donors for contributing.
None of this would be possible without your generous gifts.

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