I’ll try to get you up to speed. On Monday we started ministry in the Ntchisi district of Malawi. This has been the location of the Berean partnership over the past 5 years. Part of our team has been working with HIV/AIDS patients on “Memory Books” which allow those living with the illness to document their lives. It’s probably closest to what we might a last will and testament. It gives people a chance to say things to those they leave behind when AIDS eventually takes their lives. It’s also a way to document their lives. Many of them are the last ones in their families and this is a way to mark their lives and their stories.
Scott and I have been working with a group of about 40 lay leaders from four different parishes here in the Ntchisi district. We have met with them for the past two days working through a 10-session curriculum on Christian Leadership. It has been both exhilarating and exhausting teaching and speaking for 4-5 hours a day through a translator. I think the highlight for me was the first day. We handed out bibles in Chichewa to everyone that didn’t have one at the beginning of the day so they could follow along. I’m pretty sure that these folks thought they had to give them back at the end of the day because when Scott told them these were a gift from us the place when absolutely bananas! Spontaneously they erupted into singing and dancing. You would have thought these people had just won the lottery! They were so overjoyed to have their own copy of the bible in their own language that they couldn’t contain themselves. They mobbed us at the front, every single one of them, shaking our hands and giving us hugs and saying “Zikomo” over and over again (which means thank you.)
When the crowd parted, I saw one woman on her knees praying prayers of thanksgiving to God for this gift she just received. I have never seen anything like it in all of my years as a pastor. What a hunger and what gratitude they had for this story of God. Needless to say, I was humbled and filled with joy to have experienced this moment. I will never forget it.