Monday, August 31, 2009

Our first "Regular" Week, Our New Neighbor

  Good morning!   Well I am writing this to you having gotten up at 5:30am on a Sunday morning.  The reason is that the nearby Mosque upgraded their sound system so that the call to prayer is a bit louder now at 5am.  Also we......rather I Derek, purchased a goat at the market yesterday which has turned out to be an investment gone bad.  This goat will not stop making noise....(and it happens to be right outside of our window which did not make Jeannette very happy this morning as she stormed out of the room with a "not so happy" look on her face. )
 This week we finished our first week of school at the Academy (K-12th grade).  Jeannette's classroom has been transformed into an amazing place of art and learning and fun and is one of the best classrooms on campus.  I included two pictures one of Jeannette in the classroom taken from the front and one from Jeannette's desk towards the front of the class.
(Here is Jeannette at the desk working hard.)
I have been teaching 2 PE classes at the Academy Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They have been going well and the weather has been cooler, around the 60's in the morning and as hot as about 85F  during the hottest part of the day.  I have

It's Jeannette writing now. Yes, I did wake up with a not so happy look on my face this morning, but you would too if the mosque first woke you up at 5 and then the cute, but annoying little goat, would not stop bleating! Well, I guess it turned out to an okay thing, because Derek and I have been hanging out this morning. It's probably the longest we've hung out in a while now. :o) School started on Monday and it was a very long but great week! I have a wonderful class!! The kids are really cute and it's neat to listen to each one of them share about themselves. I love learning about the kids! I jumped right into my curriculum this week and have been trying to make learning fun! I've still been trying to make the classroom look inviting, and I have been hanging up the kids work. We are singing a song in chapel in two weeks, and the kids sound so wonderful! I have a little boy from Malawi, who doesn't do the hand motions but just claps and gives a little head shake! It is so cute! I'll see if someone can record it, and then we'll try to post it! Life has been as regular as it can be. I haven't had the chance to go out to villages, or volunteer at the orphanage. The classroom has taken up all my time. I spend two weeks decorating, attending orientation, and lesson planning, that I am still trying to get organized in class, but I know it will come along. There's another teacher who takes kids to a village for ministry on Friday's so I will try to go with her several times. I'm still not sure what our routine life will look like, or if it will ever be "routine" but I am excited to see what comes our way. We have been blessed with some terrific friends already, and they have made our transition to Malawi much easier!
Derek:  So I want to give you a brief run down of a few stories about things that have happened here in Malawi.  A few days ago I was using the morning to go and try to meet some of the other Athletic Directors of some of the nearby colleges and technical schools. I also needed to run by some stores to check on the prices of a few things that we will be selling at the Gym snack bar to raise money for the sports program here (it is called a Tuck Shop here).  I am almost adapted driving on the left side of the road here so I have been able to enjoy the times when I drive out in the city.  I fit in as a driver thanks to driving in Mexico and Southern you can use your horn a lot here and people don't get much.

Anyways, I was driving and met quite a few people who own shops, sell wholesale, even a guy who was selling cars. As I was in the parking lot of an equivalent store like Costco (minus the free samples and a lot of cool product) I noticed a man on crutches who asked for money. I ignored him and went in to shop.  I came out and he was still there by the car I was using and so I gave him some chips that I got from a chip wholesaler I had met with earlier.  He scarfed them down. I grabbed someone walking by to help me translate who turned out to be a car salesman.  I had him ask the man on crutches why he did not get his leg looked at by a doctor as it looked like it was an old open infected wound. I gave him the name of the Medical Clinic we have on campus and told him to go by as it was affordable.
      After that I walked with the man I had used to translate for me who had some cars for sale. I had a good talk with him and as I was leaving I saw the man on crutches again waiting to talk with me.  Well at that point, I remembered a chapel from the day before where the pastor was talking about the good Samaritan who helped the beat up and left for dead Jew, paying for all of his expenses even though culturally they were supposed to be bitter enemies.  The pastor who led the talk ended it with something like "Do not ask 'who is my neighbor', but look at the people around you, they are your neighbors". Well I was using one of the African Bible Colleges cars and was on my way back to the campus anyways so I motioned for the man on crutches (it was actually a wooden stick) to get in the car.  We drove to the campus, about a 10-15 minute drive and during the drive I found out that his name was Mustafa. His English was not great and my Chichewa was not there but we managed to communicate a little bit.   I checked him into the clinic waiting "room" and told everyone that this was my friend Mustafa and that I would be taking care of any and all expenses.
     Well the Doctor or Physician's assistant came out and told me that his leg wound was from an old burn and would take multiple antibiotics and some time to heal.  The dressing on the wound also needed to be changed everyday.  I thanked him and we went up to the pharmacy window, got his medicines, then went to the cashiers window to pay.  During this time I was thinking and looking at Mustafa. He had a big smile mixed with a painful face from his injury but his smile would always come through.  Here is a guy who had no hope in his eyes of getting better but was just begging and God had me come to him,  take him to get his damaged leg fixed up and take care of it.  After the clinic I was going to give him some minibus/taxi money (about 2$ US) but then I decided to drive him back.  That was a lot of fun because we used the point method or where he would point and I would go.  As it turned out we drove to his family who was on the side of the road downtown.  He had a wife and two kids, one of which was a baby.  I did not understand what was being said between his wife and him when we pulled up, but they were all smiles.  She thanked me and just from her eyes you could see how happy she was.
   During this time Mustafa was in the clinic I made a PB & J Sandwhich, some other food and some water and also grabbed a shirt and a little Jacket as it gets cooler in the evening and Mustafa's shirt was literally in tatters, tied together so it would stay on.  Since then, Mustafa has come a few times and is now walking without any cane or crutch.  We have it worked out where a young man who works at the clinic named Krispen, calls me when Mustafa comes and when I have a break from classess, I run down to the clinic and meet with them there, Krispen translating for us.

   Originally I was not going to share this story. But more than anything it has kept coming into my mind and heart...almost like a throbbing.  In total I probably spent no more than $25.00 for medical, transportation, and a few dollars for food, which in the long run is not much.  Here a life that was/is being changed....a small leg infection that prevented someone from almost walking, he could not work and provide for his family.  A little Neosporin in the states and bandages you could buy at any grocery store would have prevented the infection.  What really got me about this was God's love.  I felt so removed from this, like I was witnessing everything from the third person as God provided for this man and his family and I got to see it up close.   As I saw this I thought about God's love for me, God's love for the hurting, the poor, the rich, the well, the sick.   As we were driving back this last time I smiled at Mustafa and said "Hey, you know you are my neighbor." He looked at me and laughed and said "Neighbor".
Thanks so much for your prayers and support.....
                          Derek and Jeannette

The First Chapel at ABC Bible College
(above) Freshmen Registration in the Gym


  1. WOW, you guys are doing great!! We think of (& pray for) you often. Sounds like you took all of the good weather with you. It's been in the 100's & 110's for a week with high humidity! (Something about a hurricane...) Yesterday, we were able to get an ultrasound and it's a boy! Little Micah B. Think of us when your goat wakes you up. :)

  2. Oh, man, that is really neat Derek!

    Dan Trumble

  3. We really liked hearing the story! It was really awesome and really well written! We love that you are just living life in Malawi!

    Jeannette's classroom looks absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing pictures!

    Maybe you could trade in the goat for a llama. ;) We love you and look forward to your updates!

    Bro & Sis

  4. $800 dollar stepper, thanks for sharing this story. Veronica told me about it a few days ago and I just got a chance to read it. I bookmarked your blog so I can keep up with what you're doing. We love you both and are proud of you guys.