As the light from the sun shines through our window, Bethany and I know the alarm will soon be going off. Then out of nowhere we hear a thud! Is this the roof coming down or maybe a tree falling? No, it is the sound of the monkeys letting us know they are awake and ready for their day. Wow, the joys of waking up in a third-world country! How much different it can be than waking up in the comfortable settings of North America! At times there isn’t much of a difference. Bethany and I get up, make the bed, and start getting ready for our day. However, within the first five minutes of our day, we do something that North Americans would hardly ever do, and that is tie up our mosquito net! Our bed is surrounded by a white net that protects us from malaria-carrying mosquitos. At times it can look very cool to have your bed wrapped in a net, but in the middle of the night, when the power is out and you trip over it trying to get to the bathroom, it loses the exotic feeling! We then open our windows to let the cool morning breeze blow through the house and continue on with our morning. Staff meeting starts at 7:00 AM and is followed by chapel.
So what does our day-to-day life look like? Our day-to-day lives at times can seem just like a regular job. After chapel Bethany sits down to work on finances, which in and of itself is like a full-time accounting job, and I normally sit down and work on reports to the head office in Florida as well as work on getting supplies and keeping the different projects we have going. Teen Missions is sending a well-drilling unit that will be able to drill wells of fresh water in remote villages. I have been working many hours on preparing for its arrival.
So our lives don’t seem as adventurous as one would think, right? Well, that’s not always true either; just because some days seem very normal, other mornings we wake up and remember we live in a remote village in Africa! Last week, while we were eating our lunch, some students knocked on our door, and what were they holding? A six-foot python on a pole! It was caught right in our backyard. The other day Bethany got to see two crocodiles by the river that runs just by our house. Doesn’t that just make you feel warm inside?
So what is our ministry here in Malawi? Since Bethany and I are the country coordinators of Malawi, our ministry is to the staff and students. We disciple, teach and equip them with the tools they need to bring the Gospel to Malawi. We have a special relationship with the staff that I can’t really put into words. Even though we are overseeing them, we are also ministering alongside them. We show them how to have a stronger walk with the Lord, teach them to have a deeper understanding of what it means to serve the Lord, and encourage them when they are tired and overwhelmed. The students, on the other hand, have a very different relationship with us. Our school is meant to bring them closer to God and bring them to a point where their lives are being poured out. As they go through the refining fire like all of us, they tend to bring a lot of baggage that needs counseling and, of course, some behavior that needs a little correction. We have a total of four schools here in Malawi, two of them are away from where we stay, so the staff at those schools coordinate the work there for us. We do try to visit them at least every couple of months.
This past month Bethany and I had a first for both of us as a couple and as individuals. We experienced our first African funeral, and our first funeral together as a couple. Most of you might be saying: “Why am I about to talk about a funeral?” Well, it is to paint a picture on how things are so much different here. We have a former staff man who has become a friend of ours. He is an excellent carpenter and has even done some work for us. I met him in 2012 when I first came to Malawi. His name is Meshach and he is one of the friendliest people in the world. He and his wife have been trying to have a baby for three years and she finally was able to conceive. They were due to have the baby at the end of April. However, last week Bethany and I were woken up in the middle of the night to hear the news that his wife and baby had passed away in childbirth. There is not a lot of transport after dark in this part of Malawi, so I drove about 30 minutes away to pick him up from the clinic. As I drove down the dark roads of Malawi, I started to tear up thinking about how just a couple weeks earlier, Meshach was telling me how excited he was to finally be a father. I arrived at the clinic and picked up a very heartbroken man. I then drove him back to his village and said I would help him prepare for the funeral. Now, because of an operation his wife had had to try and save the baby, her body was not in good condition. It sounds horrible, but we had to have everything ready to bury her the next day because of the condition she was in. I got up the next day and drove all around our small town with Meshech, trying to find a coffin. After we purchased one, we went to the clinic to get her body. In the USA, during our time of grief, the funeral homes help with the preparations of everything; however, that is not the case here. I pulled the truck up to the clinic and they got her body from a small brick building that looked like it was falling apart. They brought the coffin from the clinic and I drove it, and some of the family, to the village for the service. I can’t really put into words the scene in which we drove in to—hundreds of people throughout the village wailing and surrounding the truck. When it came time for the viewing, Bethany and I entered a small brick hut. The floor was made of dirt and in a small room sat the coffin surrounded by six ladies crying and screaming. The sight, smell and noise were overwhelming for both of us as we left the hut. The funeral then began and lasted for three hours.
Each day in Malawi brings new challenges, frustrations, blessings, and foremost, God’s perfect plan for our lives. We live in a country where each day 90% of the country is wondering where their next meal will come from. We are in a country that has hundreds of churches that don’t even know the true heart and Word of God; a country that will swing to whatever religion will feed and clothe their children. Islam is taking strong roots throughout Malawi and more and more people are looking to the Muslims. Bethany and I, along with ALL OF YOU, have an important task. It is to bring the message of repentance! Malawi, like many nations including our own, needs her people to repent and seek the Lord. Even after this takes place, they need people to teach them the true Word of God. Together we can change this nation one person at a time! We can do this through the Bible Schools, Sunday Schools and Rescue Units.
Thank you for all your encouraging lettings that have been sent! Thank you for being at our side in support. We know many of you are sacrificing each month and we could not be here without your support. And finally, thank you to each of you that daily lift us up in prayer! Bethany and I are so grateful for all of you and we miss you all very much.
Serving Christ Together,
Josiah and Bethany Frey
For our safety and good health
For all our supporters and prayer partners
For the chance to serve the Lord
To work in unity and have a strong marriage built on Christ
For the drill as it comes to Malawi. Pray for a quick crossing of the border. Pray for us to find all the supplies needed to drill.
Pray for the three teams we have coming from the USA and for safety as we will be on the road a lot this summer.
For the upcoming elections in Malawi on May 20th. Pray they will be peaceful.
Finally please pray there will not be another fuel shortage in Malawi.