Mission Malawi – Chapter Twenty-Two


END IN SIGHT?………..

Since February, life has been hectic with the usual spate of attempted robberies, but by the Lords grace we haven’t lost much. It’s very sad to witness the amount of thieving especially from those who come to stay with us saying that they want to be taught the gospel. I guess times are so bad now people will try anything and obviously ‘third world’ Africa is even more desperate. Sadly, one of those we had been teaching for over eight months left on a sour note. We discovered afterwards that he really only wanted us to pay for his education and had managed to deceive us for that whole time. Well, the Lord knows and we have been enriched by the experience.

April 1996
Kathy, the Kids and I left for a short break to Zim at the beginning of April. We had planned to go for three weeks and had left the mission in the capable hands of Andy and Sue. We were a bit concerned because they never had transport, but having had that experience ourselves for six months and learned a great deal, we weren’t too concerned as we would only be away three weeks.

Our funds were extremely low – in fact we didn’t have enough for the journey. We received a message that the headmaster and his teachers from the school where Theresa-Anne has been helping would like to come and visit us before we leave for Zimbabwe.

The visit was really amazing as they all squashed into our little lounge area. The headmaster spoke about this ‘little white haired ‘mzungu’ who had helped so many children with their English studies and how to find their way to the Lord. He said they were very grateful to the Lord for sending Theresa-Anne and thanked Kathy and I as parents for trusting them and allowing Theresa-Anne to go there. They presented TA with a gift wrapped in a cloth. When she opened it later it was K220.00 – exactly enough for us to get to the Zimbabwe border!!!Teaching

Well, well, well. The Combi broke down just before the Mozambique border and we were set for a repeat of the previous year’s journey. My Mom was with us again (as if she hadn’t learnt the last year!!), and we decided to plod on somehow.

Eventually, to cut a long story short, we were helped by a couple who live in Malawi. Their towrope snapped and they were forced to leave us just before the Zim border. We were so grateful for their help as it cost them a whole days journey (and a tow rope!!).

Two men from Zim who were on their way back from Cahora Bassa Dam towed us into Zim with a piece of seat belt less than a meter long!! Both had been drinking beer their whole journey so it was a very hair raising trip to say the least. The Combi breaking system doesn’t work well when the engine is turned off – we spent the last part of the journey praying like we had never prayed before – at 120km per hour!

All was well and we slept the night at a filling station. The next day we plodded on slowly until Kathy’s parents came to the rescue again.VW_kombi_Wheels

The Combi was again sent down to Johannesburg, South Africa, for repairs. Some weeks later, Theresa-Anne and I journeyed to Johannesburg to collect it while the rest of the family stayed on the farm with Kathy’s parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t yet ready. Just to help things along I got a bout of Malaria while waiting in Johannesburg.

The friend that I was staying with took me to a hospital in Johannesburg. I explained to the Doctor on duty that I had come from a Malaria area and that in Malawi we were able to get medicine from their local supermarkets, which was a course of tablets we could take for three days. He simply laughed and said, “who’s the Doctor here?”. I was given aspirin and told to go to bed!!

As the Malaria worsened, I asked my friend to take me to another Hospital where they diagnosed Malaria and gave me the treatment.

Theresa-Anne needed to write her ‘O’ level exams in Lilongwe but there was no way I was able to undertake that journey in my condition. The Lord was good and we were able to set up for her to write in Zimbabwe at the British Consulate. Leaving the almost completed Combi in Johannesburg, back we went to Zimbabwe on a bus and she wrote the exams.

After that, we both again returned to Jo’burg to collect the Combi. Once again the Lord undertook for us and the brother that had previously repaired and paid for the Combi, once again repeated the blessing for us. After final repairs were made, we journeyed back to Zimbabwe to join the rest of the family.

Just outside Harare the fan belt broke and the engine overheated (Oh Lord – how many more times!!).
The Combi came to rest at the entrance to a farm and I went in to seek help. A very precious couple who farmed in the area helped us with a fan belt, but by that time, Kathy’s parents had dispatched help for us from the Farm.

While waiting on the side of the road, some men arrived and tried to distract my attention. While they were busy, one of their group spiked the back tyre. They tried to open the sliding door. When we realised they were trying to steal from us, I drove off in a hurry. It’s then that I felt the flat tyre. We stopped at the first garage to ask for help. While I was at the office, the thieves arrived following us in their car. Theresa-Anne was screaming but I couldn’t hear because the Combi windows were closed. When I saw what was going on, I ran out with the wheel spanner in my hand. I’m afraid my ‘missionary cap’ came off as ran towards them. The gospel was the last thing I was going to give them!! Well, thank the Lord, they took off without any further incident and I drove the combi into town with the flat wheel to the safety of a large hotel.

That was the last straw as far as the Combi was concerned.

As we sat on the farm, we were then seriously challenged as to whether or not it was the Lords will for us to go back to Malawi. Originally planning to be away from the group for 3 weeks, 5 months had passed!

In those five months, the mission in Malawi continued as if we hadn’t been away. During Kathy and my prayer times, we began to sense the Lord was saying that our time there was now complete and we should go back to Joburg and wait on Him for the next season. Those we had worked with over this period of time should now be ‘set free’ to continue sharing the gospel with others as the Lord led them.

The final confirmation came in a prayer time where the Lord showed us that if we were to stay with the Malawi brothers any longer they would begin to find their security in us, rather than the Lord. They needed to take all they had been taught, and start making disciples.

Still beset by further vehicle problems, we eventually got back to Malawi, using one of Kathy’s Dads pickups. To us, this was a further indication that the Malawi season of time was drawing to a close. We had not lost our peace during these latest vehicle challenges but we could feel that overcoming them appeared to be getting more and more difficult – was our Father’s hand of blessing starting to lift off our circumstance? Was He telling us to move on to a new season?

By Gods grace, Andy and Sue and the young men had done a marvelous job during the time we had been away. Teaching was still going strong and the little shop managed to survive, so the work stood the test of five ‘Malawi’ months.spaza

Meantime, Zimbabwe customs went on strike and we were unable to get a permit for the Combi to stay on the farm for an extended time. This meant we would only be able to afford a very quick trip back to the mission in Lilongwe before getting back to Zimbabwe to prevent the Combi being confiscated. Hence a swift journey out of Malawi to save the ailing Combi. At that point we felt the Lord was definitely showing us it was time to close off our part of the Malawi work.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Eighteen.


30.11.95
Our little grocer business is growing well. How I marvel at the Lords hand. We started off eight months or so ago, with three crates of cold drinks to sell which would give us about K160.00 turn over. Today, by Gods grace we will turn over about K1000.00 per day!

Why not start at the beginning of the series?

As our needs have increased God has blessed the business accordingly, it has just been a case of us watching carefully for the doors HE has opened and obeying HIS word as we go through. Hopefully I will be able to share on a daily basis, the miracles God performs in connection with this business. Up to now there have been so many other things to write.

Malawi RestaurantIn regard to the shop at the market we felt that perhaps a small restaurant would be a good idea. Memories of the last one come flooding back, but this time I believe we have the right ingredients (not just for the food!), and this seems to be in the Lords will and not our strength. We needed a place for people to sit and eat so Titus went to investigate at the site. Almost opposite, there is an open structure which the owner has not been able to use for four months. The only site available in the centre of the market!! What a blessing. Titus will go and negotiate with the owner and we will continue to leave it in the Lords hands.

On the domestic front the Lord has opened the door for much sharing in the area of marriage and past hurts. Sometimes we lose sight of the work which is going on in our own hearts. We become so engrossed in ‘outreach’ we forget that God is trying to work in our own hearts through these external circumstances.

Of course, the ‘Team’ is not exempt and require much pastoring and shepherding. “Christmas” time brings back memories of ‘back home’ – family gatherings and large christmas dinners. How easy it is for us to dwell on those things. It’s in those times of depression that the Lord reveals our hearts once again. He is a jealous God and wants all of our attention.

He does not demand that we don’t love our families, but that the love we have for Him must come first – above all else. As we dwell on the things of family, friends and the world, we are able to see just how much we are still tied to those things in our hearts. God allows this circumstance not that He would gain some malicious joy from seeing us in pain, but that we would be aware of just what percentage of our hearts love him and where the balance is. We must pray to receive this teaching and not become downcast and miss what God is showing us.

We are hoping to go up to the Lake next weekend and see if the Lord will open up some land for us. It seems that all land sale has been suspended along the lakeshore until government surveying is complete.

05.12.95
Today we placed a larger than normal bread order due to an increase in our sales. The bread delivery was due as usual around 7:30 in the evening. The day’s sales in the shop weren’t good and by 3:30pm we hadn’t had enough money to pay for the bread.

As we sat in our lounge area wondering what to do, we noticed an unfamiliar white car rolling backwards passed our drive entrance. It was being closely followed by a rather large lady trying to chase it!Christian synchronicity

We rushed out to see that the car had stopped just short of a deep drainage ditch outside our pavement. The driver got out the car and started shouting at the lady for allowing the car to go backwards. Once the situation calmed, we discovered they they had run out of petrol and the wife was trying to push the car uphill past our house. When she could no longer manage she simply stepped aside and the car rolled backwards!

We were led to invite them in and I asked Arthur if he would mind taking the husband into town in the Combi to buy some fuel.

This was not something I would normally do because I was aware that the Combi was our only form of transport. We relied on it 100% and I didn’t want it exposed to any danger unless we really needed to use it.

On his return, the husband was clearly shaken. He said that he had never experienced such kindness –especially from white people!

He asked me if he could contribute to the petrol we had used taking him into town and proceeded to stuff some notes into my pocket. I didn’t take much notice of what he had put in my pocket and we enjoyed the rest of their visit. They duly left – very grateful for what had happened.

By 7:00pm the bread delivery hadn’t arrived and we had mixed feelings of relief – having not enough money to pay and anxiety because our order hadn’t arrived.

We counted the day’s takings from the shop and we were K135.00 short for the bread payment. Kathy reminded me of the money in my pocket. I pulled it out and counted – K135.00 exactly!!

08.12.95
Theresa-Anne has been asked to help teach English at the local Baptist Church School. Even though she is still busy with her ‘O’ Level qualification and is so young, the need for English teaching is so great. She has agreed to help them every day for no pay so that the arrangement will not break the law in any way.

Arthur takes her to the school each day on the bike.

10.12.95
Arthur has requested to go back to South Africa for a break over the Christmas holidays. He is such a blessing to us and we will miss him, even for this short time.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Thirteen


Zimbabwe

July 1995 – August 1995

 Kathy’s parents had asked us to please return to Zimbabwe for the birth of our 5th child. They had kindly offered to pay for all the costs and also knew of a Christian doctor who would oversee the birth. I asked Titus if he would like to accompany us because he had never been out of Malawi before. He was very excited.

19.07.95

It’s wonderful how the Lord has brought us to this lovely place at Lake Kariba, in the Northern part of Zimbabwe. The ‘Cabanas’ belong to Zimbabwe Sun and the unit we are staying in is part of Kathy’s parents time share. The contrast of life is amazing. How good the Lord is to allow us to experience different types of living. We need to learn to trust Him more and really KNOW that He will never forsake us. Kariba

 Kathy is starting to feel uncomfortable now and we expect that something should happen soon, by Gods grace. We are about 500km from the hospital that she has been booked into, but the Lord knows!!

05.08.95

Praise the Lord! After two weeks overdue date, Kathy and I are blessed with another little boy. We have decided to call him Daniel Stephen. The birth was another wonderful testimony to the Lord. Although Daniel was the heaviest of all the children, his birth has been the easiest. The doctor, a precious brother in the Lord, said Kathy would be his ‘tithe’ patient and so we did not have to pay for his services. We were blessed by Kathy’s parents who kindly met the hospital bill for us. We are truly so grateful for all these faithful people who are so willing to open their hearts to us in obedience to the Lord.

 10.08.95

We have been blessed with more gifts of money to be able to buy some groceries to take back to Malawi with us. There is also enough to have a new tent made for the little caravan/trailer that the Lord blessed us with in South Africa.

 One day while I was standing in the queue at the Mozambique embassy, a man came up to me and began to ask me some questions about Malawi. A Zimbabwean, he owned an art museum in America and was trying to find certain types of wood carvings to take back to America with him. After chatting for some ten minutes, he disappeared to the front of the line where he collected his passport from a man who had been in the line on his behalf.

 About 15 minutes later he came back as though he was looking for someone in particular. As our eyes met, he said, “Ah, I’ve been looking for you”. A bit taken a back, I wondered why he was looking for me. He then asked me what line of business I was in. The Lord opened a door for me to share briefly with him. Right there, in the queue, he took out his wallet and blessed me with two hundred Zimbabwe dollars. It was the exact amount we needed to finish the last of our shopping. The man in front of me couldn’t believe his eyes. He said to me afterwards, “But that guy didn’t even know you!!”

 How great is the Lord. If I had complained and had not stood in that line for as long as I did, I would have certainly missed the blessing the Lord had planned for us….”

With our new addition safely in the arms of Mom and Kathy’s family, we planned our return trip to ‘Area 49’ in Lilongwe.

Area 49
Area 49 Lilongwe Malawi

Kathy and the children would stay with her parents until strong enough to come back to Malawi. Her parents had once again kindly offered to pay for them to fly back when she was ready.

17. 08.95

After much planning, praying and packing, Titus and I are ready to leave for Malawi. We plan to leave at 4:00am. All being well, we can expect to get to Lilongwe at about 4:00pm. A long 12 hour journey. This journey is difficult for me as there are always ‘niggly’ challenges at the border posts. I believe from time gone by, in the days of white supremacy in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, there has been left a certain amount of unforgiveness and anger towards white people by some of the custom and immigration officials of these countries.

 Whilst I can appreciate the very difficult job these people have, their attitudes always appear to show their desire to have their authority respected. I am blessed that the Lord uses them to humble me.

 Arriving back in Lilongwe, the Lord has really granted us favour with men, apart from the Malawi customs gentleman who was very angry at Titus because he spoke in English! We have found Arthur Jacob, Patrick and Joseph all well and mightily blessed.

 The Lord has had His hand on the little businesses and they have all grown. Thank you Lord.

 18. 08. 95

After going to bed filled with the joys of returning to faithful brethren, we are awakened with a terrible shock. The Combi is up on pieces of log and stone – all four tyres and rims stolen!

I can’t find words to describe our disappointment. Somebody in our locality knew that we had arrived and had informed the thieves. All four new tyres given to us in South Africa a few months before, especially for Malawian conditions, had been stolen!Stolen Tyres

My first thought is: “Why Lord?”. As I ponder deeper on those words, the Lord shows me that actually, I have no right to even ask such a question. What right does a selfish sinner have to question the Almighty and powerful, everlasting God who knows all things?

 God, in His infinite wisdom had allowed this thing to happen and all I desired to find out was what lesson was in it for me. At this time the anger within me is too great to see very much.

Mission Malawi is published by “…time with the Master…” on a bi-monthly basis.

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is also published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Twelve


Back again

Kathy, I and the family (increasing again by the way!!), have finally arrived back in Malawi after being away for 4 months.

We returned to find our precious brother Jacob Arthur quite tired but very, very blessed. He had been kept on his toes by the various situations which were brought about to allow him to grow in his faith! This included two robberies and other testing things.

The brother who stole the bike, radio and money from us just after we left for South Africa, was forgiven and came back to work in order to repay the money he stole. He stayed for two weeks and did exactly the same thing again. As a result our little ‘grocer’ business took a real dive. However, in the Lords time things have got back to normal and most of our regular customers are back.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Twelve”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Eleven


Why not start at the beginning of this amazing series……..

South Africa
26th January 1995 – 29th May 1995

We had planned a break to S.A. and Zimbabwe for six weeks, during January 1995, so we were quite amazed when it turned out to be so long. In our last newsletter we shared about the challenges with the Combi and how wonderful it was to see the various parts arriving from South Africa to try and get us on the road.
“….We finally left for Zimbabwe on 26th Jan. On nearing the border of Mozambique (after finally getting visas, which is another whole story!), the power in the Combi began to fade. There was a terrible feeling in my stomach. As the situation worsened, I was freewheeling the down hills to try and make it to the Zimbabwe border where Kathy’s parents had offered to meet us.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Eleven”

I’ll encourage you…stay with Me


 

On the 22 April 2017 all South Africans were invited to meet on a farm near Bloemfontein in the Free State. The purpose of this meeting was to worship the Lord and pray for our country, South Africa.

It was amazing to be part of such a gathering. As far as our eyes could see there were people of all cultures assembled for one purpose…to petition the Lord our God and intercede for the country. Each one of the one million people that attended worshipped the Lord in the warm Free State sun. There was a call for repentance and many gave their lives to the LordPrayer Picture Group for the first time. It was important to ask for forgiveness before asking God to hear the prayers of His people.

The Lord encouraged His children to become ‘prayers’. Once leaving the gathering, we should all become intercessors for the areas in which we live. We left the meeting excited at the prospect of being used by the Lord in our area to intercede for our country.

 

Continue reading “I’ll encourage you…stay with Me”