Planning the Unplanned Plans
Trip Start Jan 02, 2017
10Trip End Dec 31, 2017
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I finally remembered to take a photo of our congregation during Sabbath services. It's nice to be able to see each others' faces so we can better get to know one another. That's one reason why I enjoy social media and sharing photos of places and people. I know there are some who don't or won't have the chance to travel and see the world. I have the chance to help some see what I see and experience a little of what I experience
The Feast of Tabernacles is always a delight! Even when there are difficulties that happen during the Feast, we still know that we are there to worship God and do His will. We know that we still live in the world and that the Feast pictures a future time when this world will be changed. Last week we set out on a trip to Chipoka which is near Salima. The purpose of the trip was to see a possible location for the Feast of Tabernacles this coming year. No sites have been finalized as we are waiting for some final details to be worked out. A bonus of visiting a few places in the area is that we finally got a chance to see Lake Malawi. We had heard about it, seen photos on the internet, and even been very close on previous visits to the Salima area. It is a vast lake and we only saw a few parts of it. The water was not as clear and blue as we had anticipated. During the rainy season the rivers that run into the lake fill it with the red sandy soil that makes up Malawi. We are told that the clear blue of the lake will return during the drier season. Don't worry. We will return to see that.
As we work on getting to know as many of our brethren as possible outside of Sabbath services, we do sometimes get the chance to have people over for a visit or meet up with them somewhere
Last week, the office manager for LifeNets was busy with some examinations so I sort of filled in while he was away. I arrived early to the office and sat at his desk, going over the books a few times, and seeing how the construction of the building was progressing. Several building committee meetings also occurred during my stay at the office. It's interesting to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that happens while planning and executing construction
The congregation (of course including Lena and I) has been anticipating the arrival of Brennan and Michala Hilgen. They are a young couple who decided they wanted to save up and go somewhere away from home to serve in the Church for a year. This was, of course, shortly after getting married. Some people joke that they are on an extended honeymoon, but they came to work and to serve. We are glad that they have finally arrived and can help in serving the people here in Malawi alongside us. Michala has been to Malawi twice before and remembers many of the faces. They, too, remember her and her family. However, this trip is a first for Brennan. Lena and I picked them up from the airport in Lilongwe less than two weeks ago, but it already feels like they have been here for a month or two. We have been here for nearly two months ourselves and it feels like longer since we have already done so much and been so many places
On their first Sabbath, we didn't take it easy on the Hilgens. Our morning started earlier than it might usually have. We all got up early, prepped the coffee and tea, went over notes, got ourselves ready, and then headed out in the van to pick up the Rashid and Elia families. The plan was to reach services early to set everything up and practice special music. We did manage to arrive to the building in plenty of time, but the keys to the storage room didn't arrive till later. It worked out fine because we had forgotten a few items at our house and had to head back to grab them. One item was a stack of paper copies of the congregational survey which needed to be filled out that day since the deadline was the following day. Between ride sharing, setup, special music practice, church services, surveys, a greeting from the entire congregation, and rides home for some, it made for a long day. After all was said and done, we had the chance to meet up with the Kachali family. Julius and Patricia Kachali had come down from Mzuzu in the northern region to visit their children and grandchildren, and to meet us. It was nice to sit and talk with them, listen to their stories, and enjoy a meal together
We drove home after dark as has happened on several occasions now. The more night driving I do, the less I enjoy it, but the less it scares me. It's not like driving on well lit highways where pedestrians are forbidden and people are polite with their use of high beams. The highways and side roads in Malawi are always shared with cyclists, families, small children, dogs, chickens, motorcycles, ox carts, and the like no matter what time of day it is and no matter the weather. I don't think I'll ever get used to that.
The follow day, we had the pleasure of visiting Jeremiah Kampazangula Phiri and his family at their home. Jeremiah is a teacher. His two children have dreams of journalism and brain surgery. The family sat and visited with us for quite some time before taking us on a tour of their house which included the kitchen. This is where we learned how to prepare nsima. We supplemented the main course with cooked pumpkin leaf which Memory and I collected from plants found in the maize fields surrounding their home. The food, as usual here, was delicious and filling. Plus we learned some new skills, and about property and schooling in Malawi.
To prepare for our upcoming trip to Chipata, Zambia to spend some time with Filius Jere and the congregation there, we had to head to the local INTERPOL (International Police) office
There are surprises around every corner as we venture through our life and work in this beautiful African country. Sometimes people show up at services or meet us on the street and want to come pray with us even though they know nothing about us or what we teach or believe. Recently, one of our members received a call from a man from Nkhotakota, a small area north of Salima along the lake shore
The four of us planned a last minute trip to Nkhotakota with Haiton to meet them where they are and hopefully answer any questions that they might have. The trip was delightful for the most part. We left early in the morning, picked Haiton up along the road to Salima, and enjoyed the beauty of rice and cassava fields, views of the lake and a rather large lagoon, and all the greenery that covers Malawi when the rains are plentiful. We stopped for lunch in Nkhotakota proper at the home of one of Haiton's sons. Lucky and his family fed us well on rice, nsima, and fish. Again, we were not disappointed at all with the food we were fed.
Our visit with Alex Banda and his friend Jeremiah Phiri went well overall
The drive to Nkhotakota took around four hours to complete. On the drive home, we decided that it might be fun and entertaining to head through the local nature reserve, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. This particular forest, filled with rolling hills of trees and shrubs, supposedly has a lot of elephants. We did see some evidence of elephants along the unpaved road that runs through the lower half of the forest, but not a single elephant. Guinea fowl, doves, and a single lizard (which perched for a half hour on our windshield) were the only wildlife we saw as the sun set behind the surrounding hills. We passed through the forest, headed to Kasungu to fill the van up, and then drove Haiton home to Dowa. Once again, it was a long day of driving that ended well after sunset.