Azunga (Uh-zoon-guh) means white person and we hear it everywhere we go. We laugh when we go places and we hear it so often. The team is doing an amazing job working together and getting along. Teams spend hours together and have allot of time to find fault in each other however, Team Mangochi is getting along well. Their team work is commendable and even in their free time they find ways to help and support each other.
We have all learned new things this summer. Some have learned to work hard, some have learned how to do laundry and all have learned how to work together. We are grateful for our time in Malawi and how the Lord has grown each of us in different ways. He has opened our eyes to seeing others in need and how we, even in small ways, can affect the lives and well being of others. We still have two weeks together and look forward to seeing what else the Lord will do in each of us.
The work site is doing amazingly well. The lintels are up over the windows and doors of the second and third room and the team will be laying rebar in the third room and doing steel tying soon. Then they will pour the foundation over the rebar and have the third room ready for the wall to go up. The team has also started digging squaty potties for the upcoming boot camp. There are always many things to be done for boot camp prep so the team will help in any way we can. Ashton F. continues to prove his endurance by carrying heavy loads of sand for concrete. Katie M., Andrew L., Everett K., and Erin G., enjoy and do well at bricklaying. Anna E., Kyleigh P., Katie J., Kym R., and Tommy E. helped do a fantastic job leveling the floor. The staff here are amazed at what the team has accomplished on the work site.
Friday night we are having our national meal that will be cooked by the TMI staff here in Mangoch. It will include cooked goat, which they say is very yummy, greens, and Nsima (See-muh). Nsima is made with soft, fine corn flour and is similar in consistency to soft grits or cream of wheat. Nsima and greens, often called Relish, are the mains staples of most meals here in Malawi. In order to make their flour, they take their corn, husk it, grind it, and dry it in the sun. If they want a softer white flour, they soak the corn before husking and grinding it. They will often add fish or ground peanuts to their meals for protein. They save rice as a special treat for Christmas.
The children here continue to be the highlight of each day. They are always so eager to talk, ask our names and tell us theirs, to hold our hands and their absolute favorite is to get their picture taken and then to see it on the camera. I think we have as much fun as they do. No matter how many times we drive down the road or go through the village, the children never tire of waving and greeting us.
Each team member has had a turn leading evening devos (devotions) in the evening. The team member gets to pick the topic and shares a Scripture verse and their thoughts on the subject. Every devo has been insightful and encouraging. Thursday night the BMW students (Bible students) here at the Mangochi base joined us in our devoes time. It was an amazing time of music and worship and several of the students shared their personal testimonies of how they chose Jesus as their personal Savior and how they came to be here at the BMW school. In Malawi, the students have to pay a fee and often have to have a uniform to go to primary and middle school. For many that’s simply impossible because they come from such poor families or they might not even have parents. Many orphans live on their own but Teen Missions has 10 Aids Orphans Units and Matron Units that help with uniforms and school fees. So for the BMW Students to be able to work their way through school without fees is an incredible opportunity and then they in turn will share the love of Jesus with the heart of Malawi. The BMW Students and the Staff here at the Mangochi Base have been an inspiration and encouragement to each of us and we will forever remember their influence on our lives.
Team members also get to take a turn at KP in the kitchen with Ms. Raina and I (Beth). The team members have been a source of encouragement and joy in our days as we work to prepare meals that are tasty and filling. It’s amazing how much hungry team members can eat after working all day. Even our smallest girls eat big portions every meal.
The weather has been warmer these last few days. Previously there had been a lot of cloud cover and it kept the days cool and quite comfortable. Lately however the clouds have moved on and the sun is warm. The team is drinking lots of water and we serve water or Cool Aid with every meal. They are required to take one or the other. In the evening it is comfortably cool and using a sleeping bag is enough to keep us warm. Lake Malawi is a beautiful backdrop during the day and seeing the fishing boats out on the water at night is pretty as we have our mini-bon fire. It’s a time of relaxation and fun as we wind down the day.
Please continue to uphold us in prayer. Pray that we will run this “race” with endurance all the way through the end (Debrief). Continue to pray for safety, team work, and that the Lord would teach us the deep and awesome things in His Word, growing our spiritual roots deep. We are ever thankful for parents and family back home that pray for us. Knowing you are there to come home to is a great comfort. Please also pray for a smooth transition going home. Everybody is always eager to go home but it’s also a challenge because we have been together for so long. Thank you for your prayers… but then thank you just doesn’t sum up the appreciation we have for you at home, knowing you are praying for us. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts.
Katie M. – Over the last week and a half of being on the work site, I’ve learned many things. Most importantly, I learned that I’m not that strong. Many things we do for work are very physically straining. I find myself asking God constantly to give me the strength to get through work. I’m not trying to say that we’re over worked or anything like that. It’s just that we as humans are always going to fall short of God’s power and strength. We are weak without God. I’ve also been taught to find joy in the moment and to try new things everyday. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and can assuredly say that I’m coming back home a changed person in many ways.
Kyleigh P. – So far we have been such hard workers. When we aren’t working, we are eating or playing with the kids. We have all discovered the Malawian fruit is very bitter but sooo good. We eat it with the children and help them get it from the trees. I’m learning to say a lot of the body parts in Yao and most of us know the greetings in Yao and Chichewa. I myself am learning more about the little things and to just not need the electronics to be happy. God is showing me how to love life with what I have. I’m so upset that my time here is almost over but I am getting a little home sick.
Ashton F. – During our missions trip in Malawi, I have learned that God is faithful and with us all the time. Yesterday us guys had a chance to fish with the locals. All I have to say is that it was hard constantly pulling a rope for two and a half hours but it will be a moment in my life I will never forget.
Anna E. – I’m having a great second week here at the Mangochi TMI base. I have loved spending time with the people here. Last night we got to worship with and hear from some of the Bible students and it was a very beautiful experience. God is doing awesome things in Malawi.