Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Crazy Week

Muli Bwangi!

So many things have been going on and I wanted to share all of the details. I can honestly say that I had my busiest week of my entire life last week. The first couple days were stressful and I felt like tears could pour down my cheeks at any moment. But, as the week went on and I finished more projects, it got better and I got to see some cool things happen.

First of all, the Christmas show is coming. This means we need ballet costumes! It also means, that since we can't easily get pre-made costumes here, we have to get them made by a tailor. So last week the tailor and I measured 90 girls, collected the money, and went shopping for fabric. The fabric stores are in down town Lilongwe which is CRAZY driving for me. Too many people surrounding my car for my own comfort. They tailor and I worked out an agreement that whatever we don't spend on material is her income. That wasn't a smart move on my part because now she wants to make very small costumes with no sleeves and cheap material. Darn. But we purchased the fabric and we have worked out the designs. Most are angels with lace wings and satin dresses. I really hope they turn out ok. I will have to be calling her every couple of days to make sure she is getting the work done since it is only 3 weeks from the show.

Next, I threw a surprise party for my roommate. She turned 22! WOOHOO! I do love parties, even in Africa;-)

On Friday after school, Khuzwayo and I ventured out to begin the process of building the village church. I'm so proud of them! If you don't know, Khuzwayo, Katie, and I have lead a village ministry with the kids almost every Saturday. Last year they asked for a church building and I told them I just was concerned with the hearts of the children. Then, they built a temporary small grass church.

After coming back after Summer break I felt like God would want me to help them get the church they dream of having. It is something they have never had and with their new faith, I feel like they should have one. They know I come to bring the gospel, so now I feel like it would be ok to help them out with this. I told them that if they put up the bricks, then i will put on the roof. The roof is the part that they cannot afford on their own. They made all of the bricks themselves and called as soon as they put them all up. I'm not gonna lie, it sorta reminds me of the gingerbread houses I used to build when I was little. A little crooked, a little funny looking, but they are proud!

So My Friday was filled with shopping for the materials. We got 36 large iron sheets, LOTS of LONG wooden beams, nails, wire, termite paint stuff, and the top roof ridge. I've also hired some carpenters to do the job. They are great because they are staying in the village until they are finished because I don't have time to give them transportation everyday.

The REAL story is actually quite interesting.
We were pretty excited to start

After school on Friday, Khuzwayo and I met up with Pastor Noah Banda and the truck driver. The truck driver was an answer to my prayers because we had no way of getting the huge materials to the village without him. He offered to take the day off from his job to help and only required gas money. We took my car as well so that we could all fit. Our first trip all the way out of town was unsuccessful because they didn't have the right iron sheets. Our second attempt was a success and they loaded what we needed onto the truck.

Still in a good mood, thinking we were almost finished.....

Then, it was time to get the wooden beams. Oh those wooden beams. This is when I miss Home Depot. We had to go across town again and into a village where we could get them for cheap. The men loaded the wood onto the truck but couldn't seem to get them on right. They worked and worked. Took some down, and worked again. After over an hour and some lifesaving cokes I happened to have in my car, we seemed ready to go.
All loaded up

We drove about 5 minutes down the road at about 10MPH. The truck driver pulled onto the side of the road and told us he couldn't balance his truck because of the weight. It was also making one of his tires flat. Some truck huh;-) So thankfully, here in Malawi they have pick up trucks for "hire" on the sides of the roads for people who need to transport things but don't have a car. I drove back and hired someone to drive the pick up truck to our flatbed and load half of the wood onto it.

It was dark and the men needed light. I decided to turn off my car but shine my lights on them. Well, after about 15 minutes of this, I suddenly had a smartness attack (they don't come often obviously), and went to check the car. The battery was dead. Meanwhile, the truck drivers, pastor, Khuzwayo, and a few passerbyers were finishing reloading all of the wood. It had taken so much longer already that the first truck driver had to get headache medicine. He only has one eye due to cancer (eye cancer?) and needed something for the pain. He went to go get medicine while the other guys did everything in their power to get my car working again. Then, the new pick up truck driver needed petrol so I gave him money to pick some up around the corner. And THANKFULLY they had some around the corner because nobody has had it lately.
You tired yet?

So, Once all of these issues got settled, a couple hours later, we were on our way at a fast pace of about 15MPH. We made it to the village road (a couple miles long) when I started driving over wood. We stopped and had to reload. It happened again. We reloaded. And again. and Again. So, the men decided we needed a new plan and took all of them off the trucks and started again in a way that made a lot more sense. They wouldn't let me help because I'm a girl so I sat in a dark car at 10PM in the middle of villages not knowing what would happen next.

After about an hour of reloading, we started again and only had to stop 2 more times. We finally got there about 11PM.

But wait, its not over.

I had promised the men dinner earlier because I thought we would get back around 5... Riiiight.

So they still needed dinner and I took them to the only place open. We went in, got food to go, went out to the cars to go our separate ways, and my car wouldn't start again...

Once again, the men did everything in their power to start it againa nd I had to rev the engine for about 10 minutes. I wish I knew something about cars.

Saturday, I went to drop off some more small materials at the village. I couldn't stay because I called extra ballet rehearsals to finish our dances. I felt so relieved once they were finished!

Then, my small group had an outreach at my house. We hosted Malawian girls for a game/movie/chitchat/eat lots of food time. I had fun and I hope they did too!

Monday, I went to the village after school thinking I was going to help build! They're not too keen on girls doing that sort of thing, even though I wore my tennis shoes and long skirt!
The church with the beams up on Monday

I ended up starting a game of duck duck goose with the kids, fell on my knees, and scraped them like a kid. Haha how old am I?

Please Pray for:

  • The church building. I feel a little helpless because I don't have time until Saturday to visit them again and see how they're doing with it.

  • The Christmas show to come together quickly.

  • All of my sweet students: First grade and ballet.

I thank God that he has blessed me with such opportunities here.

I am also thankful that he has given me a wonderful church family that gives me so much prayer support. I am continually blessed by your comments reminding me you're praying. I was reminded this week of why I am here. I began the week relying on my own strength and not seeing how I would get anything finished. God gave me this verse from 1 Corinthians 13:3:

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but
don't have love, I gain nothing.

It is not worth it to do anything we consider "good" if the condition of our heart is not right.
I pray daily for the condition of my heart to be right. Give FIRST to the Lord.