11 Pipes Down:
On Sunday we attended the local church that is about a 10 minute walk away. Most of the congregation was not present that day as they were attending a funeral, but the men, women and children that were there welcomed us very warmly. The church is a simple brick building with concrete pews. The men were leading the singing of formal hymns, while the women were doing more of the free form singing and dancing. Our team performed one song, “There is no one like Jesus”, which is in both English and Chichewa (the local language), and the congregation loved it! We also did the “Colors” drama, which the pastor then explained as part of his sermon. After the service the congregation lined up outside the church to shake our hands. They were so excited and happy to meet us! They even gifted us with a bucket full of peanuts, which had been part of the offering!
On Monday we started drilling the well and working with the children of the village where the well site is. The first day we got 7 pipes down, so that was really great progress! We take turns on the different jobs at the drill rig: One of the team operates the controls that move the drill up and down and rotate it – this is a very mentally challenging job, as you have to be constantly paying attention and watching the chain to see how fast the drill is moving. Two people stir the pits where water is mixed with “EZ-Mud”, which gets pumped through the the drill and makes the drill run smoothly and builds up a lining on the walls of the borehole. Others are busy keeping the trenches and pits clear of the sand that the drill brings up. The rest makes sure that all water buckets are constantly filled from the big water storage containers (that the villagers fill up for us every day, which we are really grateful for, as the walk to the river is quite steep) to keep the pits full and enough water running through the drill.
Whenever we go down one whole length of a pipe (7 feet) there is a flurry of activity to add a new pipe.
Bohdan is showing great skill and understanding at the drill rig, and Jack and Gregory are indispensable for their strength.
While one group is working on the drill rig another group does evangelism with the large group of kids and women that gather wherever we go. We sing songs, usually with hand motion or dancing, do a little puppet show, teach them simple words to write (just writing in the dirt as we don’t have paper and pencils for all these children), perform a drama, and play games. The kids love all of it, but their favorites are the drama, puppets and story time. For story time we have a flip chart with pictures and the “Saber”, which is operated with a hand crank and plays a recording of the Bible story that goes with the pictures in the local language.
Caleb is really great at operating the Saber, which is a tricky and exhausting job (as you have to keep turning that crank without stopping, while pushing obscure buttons).
Destiny is definitely the children’s favorite, they flock to her wherever she goes. She has such a passion and talent for understanding the little ones. They even brought her a heaping plate of peanuts as a gift! Garrison is also much loved, he received the gift of a potato!
On Tuesday we started another work project: Building a bathroom (outhouse) for the TMI staff that lives in the house where our base camp is (Anthony, Maggie and their kids), and for the Sunday school to use. So the team is learning bricklaying and mixing mortar under Mr. Eugene’s guidance. Levi and Caleb are rock stars on that project, laying 5 courses of bricks in one day.
On the well project things went slower on Tuesday, as we hit sandstone. On Wednesday we hit the end of what the drill can handle. We are now 11 pipes deep and our local expert, Austin, is certain that there is enough water in the last sand layer we went through to make it a viable well.
This first hole we drilled is 4” in diameter. Tomorrow we start widening it to 6”.
Our 3 groups that rotate each day through the 3 main tasks – drilling, bricklaying and evangelism – are:
Group A: Olivia, Riley, Marissa, Gregory, Daniel, Garrison, Joshua, Sam
Group B: Destiny, Gabby, Mary, Levi, Isaac, Jedikiah, Caleb
Group C: Zoe, Jessica, Kaylee, Jacob, Bohdan, Josiah, Jack
Please continue praying for our team. Please also pray for healing for little Davidson (see Riley’s story), and that the well will provide enough water for the four surrounding villages!
“Since I have arrived here in Malawi, God has shown me a lot of great things. During this past year, God has brought me to the ultimate realization that life without Him is meaningless. Without God we live, we die, and it all means nothing. Earthly possessions, money, and power cannot be taken with us after death. While not all of these things are bad, they can easily become idols. Instead God has shown me that my joy should be rooted in Him, not in the things of the world. The people of Malawi have such an overwhelming amount of joy, despite having next to nothing. During my time here I have met a little boy, about 2 years old, named Davidson. Davidson was abandoned by his mother and now lives in a small hut near our campsite with his grandmother. Early in the morning, about a week before our team arrived, he stumbled into the fire outside his home and badly burned his elbow. Because his family did not have the funds to bring him to a real doctor, they resorted to bringing him to see a tribal doctor nearby. This doctor smeared charcoal all over the burn, only making it worse. It is so bad that even today the burn is still raw, black and infected. Nonetheless every evening I sit with Davidson and we watch the other kids and team members sing, dance, and play games. And every night without fail he has a smile from ear to ear. If a little boy who lives in a small hut in the middle of Malawi, has been abandoned and badly burned, can find happiness in some kids playing “Duck, Duck, Goose”, then I can find my joy in things other than my earthly possessions. I can find joy in God’s creation, His love for me, and the hope of one day joining Him in Heaven. The source of my joy is not found in the things of this world, but in Jesus Christ.” – Riley O.
“I love this trip, because when I see the smiles on the little kids’ faces it brings me joy. I also love working with this team and getting to know them better!” – Joshua L.
“Africa has shown me great faith. The people here have very little, yet give so much. They are not thinking about tomorrow’s events. They only worry about the people around them today.” – Levi M.
“Africa has shown me how blessed we are, we truly have so much. They have so little, yet so much.” – Garrison T.