Maher PL Fall 2016
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”(ESV) 1 Peter 4: 9, 10.
We have returned to America after 102 days in Africa. We praise the Lord for health, safety, protection, strength and daily joy! It is a privilege to serve the Lord and we are grateful for each opportunity that comes our way. I found this quote by Elisabeth Elliot that has encouraged me these past few months, ” The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” Circumstances are temporary and change daily. We were involved in some difficult circumstances on this trip and at times it was a temptation to complain or worry. I am grateful that we realized the important thing was to focus on the things that really mattered and have a heart of thankfulness in each situation.
Our journey began with taking a team of 15 teens and two assistant leaders to Malawi to drill a well in order to provide clean drinking water for the village of Katema. We were blessed with an incredible group of teens who worked hard, laughed much and grew in their relationship with Jesus. We were able to complete the well project in 10 days and we are so excited that it was a clean water source. My kitchen was a 9 by 12 tent and our living conditions were tents and outhouses. The other wells in this area are all at mosques and if the people won’t attend faithfully they are denied access to the water. Our well has no restrictions placed upon it and that was such a surprise for the people. After we completed the well we joined the Motorcycle Sunday School Missions (MSSM) Circuit Riders for a week. The teens really enjoyed teaching lessons, phonics and playing games with the children. The team then relocated to Mangochi for our last week. They laid 20 rows of brick on a new dorm building and taught phonics, puppets, drama and music at the national Boot Camp. We had the opportunity to go on a safari before the team travelled home—it was amazing. I was thrilled to see elephants (my favorite animal) along with many other animals and birds. This team really had an opportunity to experience a diversity of activity that I am sure they will remember for a long time. We really enjoyed our time with the team and were sad when we parted ways.
After the team left to go back to the States we remained in Malawi for two more weeks. We visited some Rescue Units, Matron Units, ran a refresher with the staff and spent time encouraging our workers. We would have afternoon tea on the back veranda and giggle as we watched the antics of the local monkeys in the trees. We have some great people on staff serving as MSSM Circuit Riders, AOSC Facilitators, and helping at each of the three bases. They love the Lord and have a burden to see their people come to Christ. We enjoyed the country and will never forget the stunning sunsets.
The second stop on the journey was Zimbabwe. It was good to return and see the progress this base had made since last year. We have 17 students all who love this ministry and are eager and diligent in their studies. We also have a vibrant and active MSSM ministry that is reaching 6,000 people each week. Our Circuit Riders are now teaching phonics to the public school teachers and hold seminars with them each month. Tom and I are nature lovers, and this base has some of the prettiest landscape you will see anywhere. We also enjoyed the magnificent display of stars in the evenings. I enjoy the staff children who called us Gogo Tom and Linda. Gogo is the African term for Grandfather and Grandmother. Our staff are facing difficulties and need our prayers. It was a joy to encourage them along the way.
The third stop was also the greenest of the bases we visited as the rest of the countries were in dry season. This was the first time for both us to visit Uganda and it is a pretty country. We were able to visit all three of our ministry locations, one is 10 hours away, and were impressed with the work going on. On the trip we saw elephant, giraffe and baboons. At our location in Bugoi, we are the only ones working in the area. There were at least 120 orphans there to greet us when we arrived. We saw some children in desperate situations and it was a blessing to know the Unit is making a difference in their lives. We spent the majority of our time at the main base encouraging our staff and assisting with various projects and helping to resolve some issues. Tom made friends with the base dog, Sniper, and daily he would find Tom at his afternoon coffee break and sit and look at him until he shared a cookie. It was too funny. We enjoyed the fellowship with our staff and the opportunity to get to know them better.
The fourth and final stop was Tanzania, and again this was our first visit to this country. We have property that overlooks Mt. Kilimanjaro and it is very beautiful. I trained our staff and students on how to run the MSSM program. The week-long program was fun for us all. Tom assisted our staff with solar lighting, plumbing, computer issues and various other projects. We spent time finalizing our NGO status with our lawyer. This base has rabbits and it was fun to watch them fight over the banana peels. I never knew rabbits liked those until this trip. This base grows sunflowers and then takes them to a mill and press in town where they are turned into oil. They grow enough to supply the base for the entire year. We went and saw the process and it was quite interesting. The leftover shell stuff is fed to the cows and chickens, two for the price of one, who knew? Tom rode a donkey here—a first for him. Our national staff family have a two-year old daughter who became our little buddy. Again it was a privilege to encourage our staff and students while we were there.
We are getting back into American culture, and believe it or not it is more of an adjustment for us coming from Africa to the USA than the other way around. Some of the differences such as hot showers verses bucket baths is an easy adjustment for sure! I think the thing that is the most difficult is the fact that Africans are very social. You would never pass someone without stopping to greet them and talk. Here if you greet someone in public they grab their purse and run. It takes awhile for us to adjust to the sarcasm and directness that Americans have as well. Tom as always is involved in working with the computers. I am working in the office and trying to catch up as well as do some writing. It was a blessing to see those we missed most–our children. Kalah and I have already had a girls day out and I am sure there will be more down the road. Link and Kelsey came over for a visit and also brought the news that Link will be a big brother in May. We are excited and praying for a healthy pregnancy and baby! All of the children and grandchildren are doing well and continue to be such a blessing in our lives.
Thank you for your prayers during the hurricane. We were in Tanzania when it hit. We lost the roof of our screened-in porch which houses our washer and dryer, and also one large tree came down in the yard. The only thing it damaged was the clothesline. Daniel lost one section of his backyard fence. Kalah and a group of teens cleaned up the roof mess and she said it was a miracle it did not smash out any kitchen windows. We have a tarp over our washer and dryer until we get it repaired. We are so grateful for the Lord’s watchcare over us.
We can not thank our support team enough! Your faithful prayers and support are such an encouragement to us. Thank you so much!!! Together we are making a difference!
- Good health, safety and protection while in Africa.
- That the Lord kept our children safe during the hurricane, and also the TMI property.
- The blessing of leaving behind a clean well for the village of Katema, Malawi.
- The opportunity to encourage our national staff.
- For our faithful supporters!
- Continued health and strength.
- Kelsey will have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy child in May.
- That God will bless Tom and Deena in their jobs, ministry, marriage and in raising Elsie and Jude.
- That God will bless Zach as he attends seminary, give him wisdom at his job and help him keep his diabetes under control.
- That God will bless Kalah in her teaching.
- That God will bless Daniel at his job, in his marriage and in raising Link.
- For wisdom in our job responsibilities.