Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Large Container Has Arrived!

I received word yesterday that the day after our team left Malawi, the large container arrived at ABC. It's hard to know that it is there and we aren't, but it is also a huge relief to know that it did arrive safely so that work can continue on the clinic. As we have been constantly reminded over the past few weeks, God is in control, despite our efforts to plan everything out the way we want it to be. I was reminded of Isaiah 55:8 this morning, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."

Please pray for Joe, William, and all the Malawian workers this week as they unload the container and continue to work on the clinic.  

Friday, August 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Dear family and friends! I am happy to say that I am writing this from my home computer in La Mirada. The team and all the luggage made it back safely to LAX this afternoon. It is 5am in Lilongwe and the jet lag is setting in. I plan on posting some of our favorite pictures from the trip on here tomorrow. Fast internet is a luxury I haven't had in 3 weeks so it will be fun to finally show you some of the images that we got to see and be apart of while in Malawi.

Thank you again for your prayer support and encouragement. Please continue to pray for Joe Briones, who will be at ABC continuing work on the clinic until August 22. I have not heard any word on the conatiner, but will be sure to let you all know when I do.

I thank God tonight for getting us home safely, for wonderful family, friends and church to come home to, for our new friends and family in Malawi, and for all that God has taught our team over the past 17 days. We are forever changed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our trip to Nkhoma

Monday we took a bumpy trip to Nkhoma to visit some of the team's sponsored children. At one point the terrain was so rough that we broke the bumper off of our 20 passenger bus. Malawians know how to fix anything, and in just a few minutes the bumper was tied back in place with strips of old tire.

Every village we went to greeted us with a welcome song. The children would grab our hands and lead us down the road. The children loved their gifts and in return, gave us gifts. We received bags of peanuts, bananas, and ceramic pots. I took a polaroid camera and gave each family a picture of themselves with their sponsors. They loved seeing pictures of themselves. We visited a World Vision school and a pig and chicken farm that they are helping with. World Vision has truly done an amazing job with the Nkhoma region.

Half of the group continued working on the clinic yesterday morning, while the other half went to hold abandoned babies at a small mission near ABC called Ministry of Hope. We brought a few quilts that the ladies at WACC had made and they were so excited to receive them. There were 22 babies in the building. We held and played with as many of them as we could. We returned with throw up and drool on on our clothes, but huge smiles on our faces! The babies were so precious! We had dinner with the Chinchens. We met the new doctor and his wife and 4 children who just arrived from Alabama on Monday. He will be working at the Pediatric Clinic once it opens.

Today is our last full day here. There is a mixture of emotions about leaving. Some are ready to go, others could stay a lot longer. I think most are realizing that going home is going to be challenging after all that we have experienced. We are so thankful for your prayers. You all have no idea how encouraging you have been, even though you're thousands of miles away. We can't wait to share stories with our WACC family! See you soon.

Zikomo Quambili (Thanks very much),
for the team

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008


The team returned last night from our safari at Mvuu (Google this place for pictures, it's so beautiful!). We had an incredible time! After the frustration and disappointment with the container, we all needed to get away from ABC and experience Malawi a little. The trip to the camp was about 5 hours. There are no sidewalks in Malawi, by the way. People walk, bike, and sell things right on the road, so a huge bus like the one we were riding in does not fit very well. It was a crazy, bumpy drive with a couple very close calls, but we made it to the camp last Wednesday afternoon. We had to ride a boat across the lake to get to the camp and immediately were greeted by hippos! We had dinner at the lodge and a late afternoon safari where we saw impalas, warthogs, baboons, water buffalo and lots more. As it got dark the guides took off the top of our vehicle and we all looked up in wonder at the beautiful stars. I have never seen a sky with so many stars in my life! It was a huge blessing and reminder of how big our God is!

That night the team went to sleep in the pitch dark (the electricity goes out at night, but they provide each room with a single candle) listening to hippos grunt right outside our rooms. There's nothing quite like that feeling in the world! :)

The team got up at 5 the next morning to watch the sunrise and go on an early morning safari before breakfast. We all saw elephants (mother and baby) and hippos, and one car was lucky enough to see zebras! After breakfast we all got to go on one last safari, which was on a boat. This was the most amazing one! We saw more hippos and crocodiles than you could ever imagine. Then we pulled over to a shallow area where 6 or 7 elephants were bathing and eating. They were not threatened by us so our guide turned the boat off and we all sat there watching these great animals in their natural habitat. I wish the internet was fast enough that I could upload some pictures that we took of these guys, but I promise you that each person on the tour took atleast 50 pictures of the elephants, so i'm sure you will all see them when we get back!

We had a long trip back to ABC, but made a quick stopped at a market to get carrots for dinner before going back. While we were there, Shelley traded a young lady three pieces of bubble gum for a small bowl full of peanuts. We're all getting better at this bartering thing now! :)

Today we are back to work on the clinic. It is amazing how much work we are getting done, even though we don't have the large container. Many tools and items that we needed to do the prep work were in the smaller container that did arrive.

We are reminding ourselves that God is in control! I love what Sherry shared with the team the other day,"I have learned that there are only three things that I can control in life, what I say, what I think, and what I do". She has been a great encourager and leader for the team!

Everyday here has brought something new and exciting, something challenging and discouraging. Our eyes are being opened and our hearts are being changed! We are so thrilled to be here and experience God's plan, even if it's not exactly what we had in mind!

Thank you friends and family for your prayers and words of encouragement!

With love,
for the Team

ps- We are praying for the Mexico Day Trip team! Can't wait to hear all about it when we return!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Emotional Monday

I truly don't know where to begin... There were so many high points on Monday and one extremely low point.

In the morning the team got a tour of the existing clinic with Dr. Boersma. Then we took him to the pediatric clinic and showed him around. He was so thrilled to see all the items that we had for the clinic. He kept thanking us for giving our best! When we left we got back to work on the clinic. Since the large container is still not here, we have been focusing on prep work, doing lots of cleaning and taping and organizing.

At mid morning we had an unexpected guest arrive... Adida! Her "mother" at Children of the Nations just happened to be at the clinic for a check up and had brought Adida along. God's timing is amazing. We were all so thrilled to see her. She looked so healthy and happy. We had been told to not to do anything that would overwhelm her... afterall, we all know her, but she has no idea who we are. But after just a few minutes of introductions she spotted a soccer ball that Lamar had brought to the clinic and her eyes lit up! She grabbed that ball and started tossing it up in the air. Then some of the team joined in and started throwing it back and forth to her. She was giggling and throwing the ball... really hard! A few of the team members had some gifts to give her so i ran to the dorms to get them. When i returned she was sitting on Marie's lap with Shelley right beside them trying to show her how to use her camera. It was precious!

Our emotions were so high that we worked really well for the next few hours. At lunch we got the long awaited phone call that the container was at the Mozambique/Malawi border, which is an hour away. Kari and Felicia jumped in the car to meet it. Everyone else worked for a few more hours and then went to Children of the Nations to watch a program that the children (including Adida) were performing for us. On the way to COTN we passed a van that had just been to the airport. It had all the missing pieces of luggage in it! Another huge praise! Children of the Nations was an amazing experience. To hear 36 children sing in harmony about their God that saved them and gives them hope, brought tears to everyone's eyes. Adida was so much fun to watch. Since she only moved to COTN three weeks ago, she didn't know the songs or the movements, but tried her best to sing and dance along with the others. We were only there an hour because it was time for their dinner, but I can honeslty say that hour impacted me so much, I know I will never be the same.

So here's where the bad news comes in. We left COTN and immediatley got a phone call from the man who was with Kari and Felicia at the border. Our container was not there. A container had arrived at the border for ABC, but it was not ours. Our hearts sank, tears flowed, and Monday went from being a miraculous day to a huge slap in the face (at least that's what it felt like). We've been trying to encourage eachother and be hopeful and not doubt, but we are having a tough time. So please pray for the team. We know that we are here for a reason. We know that our hearts and lives will be changed forever because of this trip, but we had such high hopes of finishing the clinic and without this container, it's not possible. Please keep praying.

We leave for our Safari tomorrow. After a heartbreaking day yesterday and another hard days work today, a safari will be a fun break for us all.

Everyone here says hello. We miss you and think of our family and church family often. As Dr. Boersma said, thank you for giving your best. Everything that you all have done to get us here and get the clinic to the point it is at right now is amazing! Thank you to those who have commented on the blog. I am going to read all of your words of encouragement to the team today at lunch!

With love from Malawi
for the Malawi Team

ps... Happy 4 year anniversary Dusty! Wish you could be here! I love you! :)

Catching Up... Sunday

Internet is back on the ABC campus! There is so much that I want to tell you all. It's not all good either. We had a beautiful Sunday. We went to church at a Baptist International church, and had a great time of worship and communion. In the pastor's message he mentioned something that I've probably heard a million times, but it really made sense being here, "We are one because of the cross". We were all excited to be with our brothers and sisters all the way on the other side of the world in Malawi, Africa. After the service, we all fell in love with Tanashee. An beautiful orphaned baby girl whose mother had died in childbirth. She had many health problems so a young American couple was taking care of her until she was healthy. She was 8 months old but looked like a newborn. Kari got a chance to hold her and talk with the couple. Before we left, the group prayed over Tanashee.

After church we went to a village that had been built by the church to house the poorest of the poor and orphans. We were greeted by atleast 20 children of all ages. When they saw Felicia's camera they swarmed around her, and when kari started giving out candy, they swarmed around here. We walked around and played with the children. They were beautiful and friendly, but so incredibly poverty stricken. As we were leaving, we saw a man on the side of a dirt path making lanterns out of lightbulbs and coke cans. We were all so amazed by the creativity! Malawians use whatever they have to create beautiful things... with the large container still not here, that is a huge lesson the team is learning right now!

We ended our Sunday outting with lunch and a trip to the corner market where souvenirs are sold... bartered. Sherry had warned us about the bartering, but I don't think we had any idea how crazy it would really be. These men knew how to get your attention, earn your trust, and then totally overcharge you for everything! It's a brilliant scam! Some of us fell for it, but Lamar Kramer did not! He was an amazing barterer! He got 5 large items for the same price I got two bracelets! We are all hiring him to go back and shop for us on Saturday. We had a wonderul day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

TIA... This Is Africa!

That is what Michelle, our wonderful coordinator, keeps reminding us. Like when Jan, Char, and Shelley's lost luggage still did not arrive... TIA. When our electricity kept going off all evening... TIA. When the main internet provider for this area completely went out... TIA. We are beginning to get used to it. Things don't happen here like they do in America. But I think it is making us stronger, wiser, and more resourceful people. We have only been here at the clinic for a day, but our team is growing so close and we are already hard at work on the clinic. After we arrived yesterday we got a great tour of the clinic and I could see everyone already thinking about what to get started on first and how we were going to make do with what we had. It's fascinating to watch all these creative, hard working people do what they came here to do.

We had a beautiful sunset last night. We all slept well, although sleeping under a net is a new experience for most of us. It was nice listening to the sounds outside. It's still a little surreal to think that we are here.

Today is a work day. The small container was completely unloaded by 11am and everything was brought inside the clinic. Inside the clinic, everyone is unpacking and priming. I think the team is a little stressed, so pray that we are able to be calm, even though there is so much to do.

Please continue praying for the larger container to arrive. It was supposed to have left yesterday (i'm not sure where it was leaving from) and should arrive by next week.

I am not sure when I will have internet next. They had to bring me to the 'Children of the Nations" office, which is a few miles from ABC, just to get this slow connection that I have right now. Oh well... TIA.

We are all doing well. Everyone is healthy and working hard. Thank you all for your continual prayers. We feel them constantly.

(Thank you)

for the Malawi Team