One Saturday a month we take students from African Bible College out to Bright Vision. The short summary is that they have a kids program with singing and Bible-teaching, then split into smaller groups with the secondary school students, soccer team, and younger kids to talk about life and faith. A few months ago, we handed out 100 Bibles so these students could read God's Word. It is most likely the only book that they own. We can tell that they are reading them because some of the questions they ask in these group times are tough inquiries about what they have read!
So two weeks ago was our monthly Saturday time in Chamadenga. We first went out to visit our agriculture program. Walking through maize fields is slow but hopeful. Maize means food, which means life in rural Malawi. Row after row of maize slides by and we're grateful for the impending harvest. On the way to our irrigation farming, we see a man cruising the dam on his homemade boat. He's fishing and has brought in several small fish for dinner.
Our irrigation farming has been up and running the past few years thanks to the generosity of High Desert Church in CA. They bought us a simple gas-powered pump that gets dam water onto five acres of land above the dam. Maize, cassava, and sugar cane are already planted, with tomatoes and more maize coming in the next week. A new addition is the row of papaya trees that grow fast and produce vitamin rich (though not all that tasty) fruit. While we talk the ladies are collecting telele to cook later for lunch. It's a green vegetable that grows wild and is easily collected from the midst of cultivated crops.
When we get back to Bright Vision, the ABC students go to work. Gathering all of the children into the hall, they start singing and playing games. They break up into their groups with the kids and find some shade under a tree.
From there, Stanley and I jump on bikes to visit some families in our sponsorship program. We visit Mwaiwao and her grandmother to check in with how they are doing. They have run out of food, so we need to get them some maize. Thankfully just next to their house they have some tall maize growing that will be harvested soon. We also visit Naman, who works at Bright Vision. He was hit by a motorcycle a couple of weeks ago. After spending a week in the hospital he is back at home but with multiple fractures in his face (cheek and jaw). He's had his jaw wired shut and can only eat through a straw. In the village he's not getting smoothies so he's pretty limited. Praise God that Naman was spared (you can pray for him). When you spend time in the village you learn a lot. We met a boy who is a goat-herder who had made himself a hat from a large leaf. Nearby there was an older man weaving a mat. I watched him for a while and realized that this is an incredibly resourceful use of the things available in the village.
When Stanley and I get back to Bright Vision everyone is gearing up for the feeding program. There are a lot of kids coming to eat these days as food is very scarce. The ladies are preparing the telele to eat with the beans and nsima. The kids line up to have their hands washed before rushing into the hall to receive food. It's always chaotic, and that's okay. We give the kids a pretty healthy portion of food, and many of them save some to take home to share with people there. I admire this in the kids, because I know that they are hungry.
Becca and I continue to be blessed in many ways through Bright Vision: 1) We learn about Malawi and life in the village whenever we are there, 2) We get to see the students from ABC serve and minister in a way that we could never do ourselves, 3) Yami and Jaden see and experience a way of life and service that I hope produces in them gratitude, compassion, and a desire to serve God with their lives as well.
Kellen & Becca
We are missionaries serving at African Bible College in Malawi, Africa. Our sons, Yamikani, and Jaden, are both adopted from Malawi and bring much joy to our lives! We have an older blog that covers time up until December 2012 click here.