Final Salutations Family and Friends!
I can’t believe this is the last report that we will be writing you before we head back to the states! Though we are sad to leave Africa, our many friends that we have made here, and our dear new missionary leaders, Mr. and Mrs. Frey, we are excited to head back to the US and be one step closer to home. We have done many exciting things in the last few days. After our 12 ½ hour truck ride back down to Chipoka from Rumphi, we were able to relax a little and get some much needed laundry done here in Chipoka, (some more than others. Parents-you know your children 🙂 We were then treated to a day at the market, where we tried not to go hog-wild on souvenirs. It was amazing! Wooden carvings of elephants and hippos, African masks, animal skin drums, hand carved goblets, ornamental weapons and woven hats were just some of the items you could find displayed in the 30 little grass huts packed full of trinkets. We cut ourselves off at 3 hours or we would have bought the whole place out. The following day however was the real treat!
We were blessed to be able to go on a real, authentic AFRICAN SAFARI at Liwonde National Park, a quick 2 hour jaunt from our base in Chipoka. The dorm rooms that the ladies stayed in were spacious, had lovely windows by each bed so you could feel the breeze on your face as you slept on your comfy MATTRESSED bed, while the men were stoked to sleep in real safari tents, complete with a grass teepee style covering and beds as well. We all felt like we were in a five star hotel. Some may have even teared up, and I will admit that I was part of that group. While at the park for the evening, we purchased sodas, ate an English style breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and potatoes and enjoyed our morning devotions on an observation deck that looked out over the whole park. Sound good? Just wait.
During our Safari, we saw a series of birds, many herds of impala, water buck, some baboons, and 5 elephants, but the elephants were at a distance and playing coy with us. I believe many were praying to see some elephants up close- I know I was. Just when we returned back to our site, the owner Darren came up to us and said “Alright all, if you remain quiet and move slowly toward the observation deck, I think you’ll be able to see some elephants.” I lead the group over and stopped short when I saw an elephant standing 10 feet away from us. As we headed up the deck and looked around, to our surprise we saw a herd of 10 elephants grassing just a few feet below us. They entertained us for a good 20 minutes before the sun went down and it became too dark to see them. We did, however, have a warning that they were walking through our camp ground as we ate our very delicious candle lit dinner than we enjoyed under a giant grass hut.
All in all, this trip has been life changing for everyone. The children are all feeling bitter-sweet about leaving, but I think we are ready to take back to the US and take back what we have learned here. Abby Monroe, my co-assistant leader and new sister who helped me write this, wishes love and a million hellos to all friends and family reading this. I wish the same to mine. Your children love you and speak of you all so often that I feel like I know you. Those that I don’t, I love you already. Thank you all so much for trusting the Yoders, Abby and myself with your treasures this summer. We loved having them on this journey and feel very blessed to have know them through this experience. As always, I encourage you to pray for us as we travel and as we are at debrief. Also, please pray for the country of Malawi. The people have been beautiful, welcoming and more of a delight then I can express in this short letter and they need your prayers. For the last time in Africa, audios dear friends and family!