Tuesday, June 24, 2008 (our first morning in Chiwaya, Malawi, Africa)
I believe the only way I'll truly know what day it is is to write daily in this journal. It will be easy to lose track of the days here - that much is very clear!
I slept great last night! What a relief! I was concerned that noises would make it difficult to sleep, but the earplugs worked great! You might wonder what noises I was concerned about. Well, I knew I'd be sharing a room with seven other girls and Kathryn (the only woman on the trip who is older than me) had already warned me she was a snorer.
Last night during worship, John pointed out the fact that in just the past few days we had seen a dramatic picture of how diverse worship venues can be. On Friday night we were in Visalia, California worshiping in a large, modern American church - very typical of the churches we're used to seeing...and God was there. On Sunday we stood at the back of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Everything was grand and glorious - high sculptured ceiling covered with Biblical paintings, stained glass, marble and brass, pipe organ, and so much more...and God was there too.
Here we are now...in buildings made of mud bricks and cement floors, no electricity, the thinnest of glass windows, no running water, no toilets or showers, no "modern" conveniences of any kind. In the sky we see the brightest stars and the blackest sky anyone has ever seen...and God is here too. A building does not the worship center make.
It’s great to see all these kids laughing together and having such a good time. They are comfortable around one another and they seem to genuinely like one another. It's fun to listen to them laugh with each other - and at themselves.
We are in the village of Chiwaya. Our hosts are Mike, Rafael and his wife Esther, and Yohanni (our cook). All these people work with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and they are incredibly kind.
Last night for dinner we had rice and cabbage. It was SO good! This morning we had sticky rice with cinnamon and sugar...mmmmm :)
Yesterday we were taken to meet the chief of the village. She's a woman who looks much older than she almost certainly is. Rafael thinks she may only be in her mid-40's. She has a glow about her, but rarely smiles with her mouth open as she is missing most of her teeth. It is her job to settle the conflicts and squabbles among the villagers. She also serves as the midwife to all the women in the village. She was kind and welcoming. Later today we will paint her clinic for her.