I wish I were a good writer because that is what it would take for me to explain last Saturday to you. My words are simply not enough to explain what I have seen in the villages here. A car full of academy teachers and 2 Malawian ABC college students have started a little ministry in a local village only 30 minutes away from our campus. Even though they are just outside of the city of Lilongwe, my roommate and I were the first azungu (white people) many of the children have ever seen. Just recently the chief became a Christian and kicked out the gule wamkulu's from the village. A gule wamkulu is a designated man from the village to practice the Chewa religion. They dress in animals skins, paint, and wear masks. Everyone who I have asked has given me a confused and different answer, but I believe their job is to practice the demonic religion and scare the villagers into giving them food, money, clothes...etc. So after the cheif built the church at the place where the gule wamkulu danced and practiced his religion. This church is only 6 months old.
When we stepped out of the car on Saturday, we were met by about 50 children who were awaiting our arrival. This was only our second time there but we were welcomed with an excitement instead of fear this time. I taught about creation and sin the first week, and Noah and the flood this past week. After, we sang many songs in Chichewa led by our Malawian friends and then played a form of duck duck goose. By this time, I counted about 85-100 kids, women, and teens. After, they made an open circle and taught us how to do their tribal dances. I was shocked by their movements because they weren't far from what you'd see in an American club.
These people are hungry for the gospel. The first week I was very frustrated after I taught the lesson because it seemed boring and choppy with the translator. I thought that surely the kids would not want to come back. What I learned is that these kids are not like American kids. They don't have TV's or video games and don't hear Bible stories everyday at home or even at church. They are facinated by the name of Jesus and someone who came to save THEM! Them? Them in this small little village with no power or plumbing of any kind. Them with lice in their hair and a cloth wrapped around their waiste for clothing? It is a reminder to me what we look like in the sight of God. We are dirty, unhealthy, and poor. God picked us up, cleaned us up, and gave us a new heart. How amazing He is! The hope this village has to become new creations is refreshing reminder to me how amazing it is that we can have the hope of a savior.
The village has much to learn now about the way of Christ but our little team is planning some ways to help them learn. Most do not know how to read so my friend Cooswayo (SP?) will be biking there once or twice a week to give reading lessons in Chichewa. We are also looking into getting them Chichewa Bibles because they only have 4 that rotate throughout the church. Once that is established, we will try to build a church building for them that will be suitable for rainy season which is starting this month. Right now they meet in a straw wall box with now roof. Please pray for our new brothers and sisters in Christ.
Even though we don't speak the same language, there is a lot to say for being related in Christ. I feel like we have connected at a different level with no words being spoken directly.
Again, my words don't do this experience justice, I guess you'll just have to come see it for yourself!