Welcome from the main TMI base in Chipoka. We moved here as a team yesterday and are trying to get set up again. If you have ever moved to a new house with all of your belongings and trying to arrange the kitchen and sleeping arrangements, that is how we are feeling. Here we have running water and toilets, which we have not had now for almost 3 weeks. As the head leader, I have finally been able to slow down a bit to be able to write a report. I had planned to send the report anyways, but it fell on me due to the fact that our two assistant leaders are sick-one on the recovery side and one on the downhill side.
Let me begin by saying that it has been an honor to lead this team along with the other leaders. Parents, I can say with honesty that you have done a great job in the rearing of your children for life and their Christian walk. Because of you and your efforts you have made my job easy, thank you!
We have had a great summer experience and have enjoyed our time here in Malawi. What an awesome chance to learn how to have a greater faith in the things that our Lord has led us in. What are the chances that a team of teenagers that are led by a person whom has zero experience in well drilling would be able to complete a well drilling project half way around the world, in a third world country? On top of that, we only had 2 days of training before coming. Only because of the power of prayer and the Lord’s divine hand upon us were we able to leave with a completed project. It did not happen without a few kinks along the way, but we were able to continue on. Some expressed some disappointment that we were not able to get the Afridev pump installed and experience the “flow” of water, but I gently reminded them that our job was to drill a well and not to install a pump. The staff at the Rumphi base will be able to get the pump installed and we are trusting that there will be good water. Our drilling time took much longer than expected, but then again we were told that it is the hardest place to drill in Malawi. Our team has been spectacular in how we functioned and operated, by carrying water to our drill site, and switching out drill teams 3 times a day. Most days we started drilling as early as possible and worked all day, we did this 6 days a week and were able to get it finished on our last day. We had to carry about 300-400 gallons of water about ½ mile every day, all done with 5 gallon buckets. Not once did I hear one of our members complain or falter, although they were able to get out of it when they were on KP and there was much rejoicing for these 2 individuals daily. The night before we left, we finished drilling at 7:00 and I told the team to get all available flashlights because it was going to be a long night. I told them to bring their good attitudes as well as we had to put down the casing before going to bed. This was very interesting to work under the stars with flashlights with many Africans gathered around as we worked into the night. We ran into a bit of a problem at 10:00, and so we went to bed and worked on it again the next day, which was also pack up day. We then had to leave at 6:00 the next morning to go to Chipoka, so we were a bit weary on the day we left.
All has gone well as far as health, until 2 days before we left Rumphi. We had one team member sick and was kept isolated for 24 hours, and then the night before we were to leave another member and Abby(asst. leader) got sick. We could not wait and made them as comfortable as possible as we all crammed into the back of a transport truck and rode it for 11 hours to the south to Chipoka. It was a long day for all, but attitudes were good. We got to the base right at dark and set up tents and today was a day of recovery, but as of now we have had 5 more start the 24 hour “process”. Our first 3 have recovered and we understand it is a process; even now all of the attitudes are great.
We had to come back early, as they only have one vehicle to transport this many people for the entire TMI bases in the country, because they are having the first ever staff conference/retreat for all of the Malawi staff (nationals). In total there are 45 staff members here for a special day and a half of training by the TMI founder and International director, Robert M. Bland. We had the honor of participating and singing for the chapel service this morning in conjunction with the national staff. Mr. Bland gave a very strong and motivating charge to the staff that it is their job to carry the mission work forward here as well as to other countries. He encouraged them that it is not always the job of U.S. missionaries to spread the gospel and bring it to other countries. I have been very impressed with how the TMI mission functions here the same as in Florida. There are 3 bases here that have BMW programs (TMI 3 year bible school) that functions the exact same as the U.S. program. Also, they all 3 have boot camps that will be starting in 10 days and they function the same as our Florida boot camp, all done with nationals. This has been exciting to me to see the Lord’s work spreading throughout the world.
Josiah and Bethany Frey are a young married couple from the U.S. and are our missionaries here. They are the country coordinators for Malawi and do a wonderful job. We have gotten to know them while here and want to keep them uplifted in prayer as we leave; will you also pray for them as well? They have shared that strong Christian fellowship is what they miss the most being here in Malawi. It must be strange to know that you are the only Azzungas (white people) within 45 miles of here. Thanks again for all of your prayers and allowing me to lead your teenagers this summer. We plan to be back to the U.S. on next Wed.
Steve “Beaver” Yoder
Rebekah Powers – I have had a very fun and interesting time in Malawi. I have learned a lot. It is sad to think that my time in Malawi is almost over, but I am excited to be able to see my family again soon. God has been teaching me a lot this trip and has been using me in ways that I never would have expected. The Devil has been trying to make us fail in our project by having the well drill break multiple times and by getting everyone sick but we were fortunately able to fix the well drill, and we have been able to help the sick.
Tilly Bergeron #21
After our three weeks of drilling in Rumphi, yesterday we drove eleven hours to the base here in Chipoka to spend a few days before we leave Malawi. I’m going to miss drilling and water runs (as crazy as it sounds). I’ll also miss talking to the Rumphi BMW students. We’ve had quite the adventure, as we were drilling in one of the hardest spots you could drill in the whole country, and the drilling rig had several complications, but in the end we successfully completed our project! My whole team is amazing, and I’ve had the best time here. I love Africa and I’ll be so sad to leave.
May Wadman #20
I am having so much fun in Malawi. We got back to Chipoka at 5:30 last night. We had about an 11 hour bus drive. It was fun. In Rumphi we almost got the well done. I believe that God will help the staff and BMWs to get it done all the way. Most of our team is sick but they are getting better. Please pray for the well, our team, and the staff in Chipoka and Rumphi. Thank you.
Emily White #17
I can’t believe that our trip to Africa is coming to a close. We packed up and left Rumphi after three wonderful weeks there. I’m not going to lie, I will actually miss the water runs everyday. We finished drilling the well and I’m excited to hear how it turns out over the next couple of weeks! I’ve loved getting to be a part of this team and thankful for the opportunity. And Mom, I’m learning how to cook-in AFRICA. It looks like I didn’t get out of it after all! Be expecting new recipes when I get home. I’m enjoying these last few days in Africa and sad to be leaving such a beautiful place. I’ve made so many memories…like wrangling a crocodile. Just kidding, but that’d be really cool. God has been working in me and has shown himself so mighty this summer. I can’t wait to tell you guys everything soon!
Lydia Borko #18
Yesterday we left Rumphi, and it was sad saying goodbye to the people and place that we’ve called home for the past nineteen days. The truck ride back to Chipoka was very long, but it’s impossible to complain when you get to watch the Malawian countryside go by all day. Africa has been one of the best experiences of my life, I can’t believe it’s ending already. It doesn’t feel like its been that long. It’s been a terrible struggle, a great adventure, and an amazing testimony to God’s work, both in and through us.
Mady Gabriel #15
We just wrapped up our time with the drill in Rumphi. I already miss the awesome BMW students and sweet kids there, but I know I’ll make some more great memories as we finish up our Malawian experience. God has taught me so many things this summer and has given me a whole new perspective on missions work. I praise Him for the work we successfully completed and am praying that our well enables the staff and students in Rumphi to be able to focus more on their ministry and less on the basic water needs of the base. I would stay here in Malawi for so much longer if only my family were here with me!
MacKenzie Todd #19
Hey y’all! I’m doing great! But I’m a little sad because while I’m typing this… it’s my last night with my first Malawi team. Lemme explain… When my team leaves, I’m staying in Malawi. I’m going to be staying with the Mangochi Malawi team. I’m gonna miss them soooooooo much! I miss the people in Rumphi so much already. And I’ve only been gone from them for a day… I can’t imagine how it’s gonna be with my team, as well as the people from other teams that I made friends with. I’ve grown so much here in my spiritual walk with God and can’t wait for it to get better! God’s been changing me in the most amazing ways. I enjoy reading the bible every morning and I could sit and pray to God for HOURS!!! And I feel much more happy here even though I’m very limited. I miss my family but all the mail I’ve gotten makes up for some of the homesickness. But with God, All things are possible so I know I’ll make it a few more weeks Love you all!! <3<3<3