Sorry it’s been a while! We’ve been back from Chitedse for a week now, where we house sat for some friends. It was fun being out of town again, and they had a lovely house with great big dogs and some lovely night guards that we got on really well with. We are now less than a week away from returning to the UK to have our baby, and it’s really exciting we will be entering this new phase of our lives.
Firstly I have some really sad news. A great friend called Felix died on Wednesday morning. He was 50 years old, and leaves behind his widow and 4 children, 2 of which are still at school. It’s been a hard one for me and the church community to swallow. About a year ago I met Felix at CHE training. We got on really well, and watched football together. He told me he would come to a Flood church meeting. When we returned from the UK in November there he was playing bass at the front of the meeting! Since then we have been great friends. He even left 50 years of Catholicism behind him and became a member of Flood, bringing his family with him. He invested his life in young people. When his daughter text me early Wednesday morning to say he had died suddenly it came as such a blow. The funeral was very sad, and as is Malawi culture none of the men cried. All I can say is I’m so glad for his final few months, and he has had a massive impact on Jo and I.
Apart from the sadness of Felix’s death things have gone incredibly well over the past few weeks. Firstly Kudoko. The team I take there consists of Lusekero: a professional footballer who teaches an academy there, Humphreys: a wonderful young man who helps with teaching the leaders and translating the material, and George: Who has a bible studies degree, helps with the teaching and follows up during the week with one to one sessions. (He also drives, which gives me a break when needed!) Oh, I must mention Jo who makes lunch for us all to take! This time has been so good. Firstly the team has been coming on so well, in our relationships with each other and with Jesus and also with how we are relating in Kudoko. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a weight has been lifted there. People are happy, and even the Chief is expressing such a desire to get over things like his alcoholism.
In terms of mentorship, I’ve been spending time with Humphreys, Lusekero, and Guise (Floods worship leader). Jo and I have added a couple called Oscar and Chisomo to our list as well! They are both studying at the African Bible College and show so much potential, especially in the area of kids work. When we come back Guise and Humphreys are moving in with us, and it’s a time that we feel will be very challenging for us, but is also very exciting. It’s the hardest thing to do, for us to leave when we are so fresh in our relationships with these people, but it is also a great opportunity for them to take on the responsibility and do things on their own for a while. Please pray for them.
Flood Church is going well. It’s been a challenge since we changed the service time. It had the desired effect in terms of helping the core of young people make a decision, but a side effect was an abundance of white families coming along too! So it makes for a different feel to the morning meeting. I think the fact that Jo has been running a kid’s programme also adds to this phenomenon. Flood kids are going great from what I can see, and she’s developed a team to run it in our absence.
I just wanted to also mention my “growth group”. It’s a small group for young men who are all single, except me! Lusekero runs the group, and it has been absolutely fantastic. People have been sharing at such a deep level, and it’s been great to observe and help Lusekero. It’s also been really helpful that I have been to college and had a girlfriend and can offer advice from my experience.
For Dalitso I have been running CHE (Community Health Evangelism). A guy called Chippo has been employed since February to actually head up CHE, so I have been more working with him since then. He is a top guy, and it’s timely that he is here and already working efficiently while we are back in the UK. I also just finished a 2-month look at the fellowship of the believers with the Dalitso team, so again I feel very comfortable leaving.
I don’t want to make this too long or too boring so I’m going to rap up here. We are sad to be leaving as things have really got going. My week is so packed full that I often need to create time to stop and think, but I love it like that. We have been working at full pace for the last 3 months, so I am excited about sitting on a plane for 24 hours, but then I’m already thinking about what we are going to be leaving behind! Wow this work is emotional sometimes. It’s a real rollercoaster. All 3 of us of us are in good health and good spirits and really can’t wait to see our friends and family.
Loads of love x