Saturday, November 29, 2008

thanksgiving festivities

On Thursday Annie and I made a non-traditional (but delicious) meal to enjoy together. That's homemade pizza, in case you couldn't tell. We also lit pumpkin and apple scented candles to make us feel like it's actually Thanksgiving.

On Friday we opted out of the Thanksgiving dinner with all the other American's on campus to go to "Carols by Candlelight" with a family that we have grown very close to in the past year. This event is put on by a local church. The kids make lanterns and the band plays Christmas carols. Everyone bring blankets and picnics and we enjoy the music. It is such a special time to enjoy living in a truly international community. I spend the evening with a South African family, an American family, and Zimbabwean family.

This is Nya and Kiara. Aren't they beautiful?This is Annie (my roomate) and Kiara.

This is Hannah and I. Hannah was in my class this year. Her family is leaving Malawi in a few weeks. I'm going to miss them so much! They have really taken me under their wing since I got here last year.

Lisa even made a pumpkin pie (from a real pumpkin!) and brought it with her for us to enjoy. From left to right: Lisa (6th grade teacher), Annie, Me, Andy (english teacher).

So, even though I didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving, it was definitely a time to be thankful. I am so blessed by the people here in Malawi.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Rainy Season!

I'm sitting here listening to rain pounding on my tin roof and huge claps of thunder. The rainy season is officially here! Nikita made me this card to celebrate the beginning of a new season. The bugs she is talking about are ngumbi (flying termites). They "attack" after the first rain. Malawians fry ngumbi and eat them. I hear they taste like bacon bits. The bottom picture is from the window in my living room.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I love myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese. You can get bagels here in Malawi. You can get cream cheese here in Malawi. I've been buying bagels almost every week since I got here in August, but have not been able to find any normal cream cheese. Smoked salmon just doesn't do it for me. So, I stopped buying bagels. Today at the grocery store they finally had cream cheese. I get all excited and go to get bagels. Guess what? No bagels. Neat.

In other news, it is HOT here. The response I normally get to that is, "How hot is it?" The answer to that question is somewhat misleading. I don't think it gets too much above 93-95 degrees which doesn't seem too horrible. The thing about heat here is that it is everywhere. If it is 95 outside, it's 95+ inside the house and probably about 100 in my classroom. It's like the heat gets inside of you and won't get out. Today we rode in the air conditioned car and my skin was freezing cold by the time we got there but it felt like my insides were still sweating. I don't think your insides can actually sweat, but they sure can feel like it.

Enjoy your nice cool fall days and the drizzly Oregon rain. Think of me roasting here in Africa when you get annoyed because it is raining- again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mercy in Malawi

We are commanded to be merciful, as our Father is merciful. Everywhere that I go there are people asking me for money. The little boy leading the blind man standing at the window of your car. The little girl with no legs in the wheelchair. The mentally handicapped woman. The vendor who just wants me to buy his strawberries. The list goes on and on. What does it mean to show mercy?

Mr. Dehnert talked to our women's Bible study about this. All the good ideas are his, all the questions and confusions are mine.

How is our Father merciful? In his mercy, God came to earth for us. He shed his blood that we could be forgiven and spend eternity with him. That is the way that God had mercy on us- mercy that leads to salvation. That is not the only way that God has shown mercy to us. He extends mercy to all mankind daily. Every breath and every step are God's mercy toward us, in a way that is separate from our salvation. God extendes this mercy to all mankind so that they may come to a saving knowledge of Him. (It is not his will that any should perish).

Now, we are obviously not called be merciful in a saving sense. Only God can do that. So we are called to be merciful to everyone in a way that will lead them closer to a saving knowledge of him. Or, in other words, in a way that draws them into community. Leviticus 25:35-36 speaks of supporting people so that they may continue to live among you. As you show mercy it should be in a way that allows them to be part of a community.

Giving to a beggar does not really draw them into the community. I have decided that my mercy needs to be extended to those who are in my sphere of influence- the woman who cleans my classroom, the woman who cleans my house, those whom I have a relationship with. But, doesn't that sound like I am casting judgement about who is "deserving" of my mercy? Doesn't that show that I don't fully understand the mercy that has been extended to me?

This whole issue is spinning around in my mind. There are so many questions. I think it's good though. I think that God is pleased when we wrestle with the hard issues.

Let me know your thoughts.