Update 5 - Understanding God's Missions 2018: EchoMission 3.0
We have been in Malawi for a week now. A good share of our time has been at the new mission house. Structurally, everything seems to be in order, however, there are many details that need to be addressed. The main house is set up nicely for pastors’ training. There also is a small servants’ quarters that we are fixing up for us to stay in when we return. When Tony is not available, the language barrier is sometimes difficult to overcome, especially when I want to discuss electrical, painting and plumbing issues. Being involved firsthand in many of these processes has made me understand how difficult most things are here. Except for the plumber having a motorcycle, everyone else has to rely on us to take them to pick up necessary materials. Several trips are made, as it seems that pre-planning is not a priority.
When job pricing is quoted, I am sure they do not consider the amount of time it will take to get everything needed. The interesting thing is that they do not seem to get riled up or upset by the additional time. They take everything in stride with a peaceful, happy attitude. We rarely encounter anyone who seems cold and distant, however there have been a few. We are continually seeing the joy that comes on people’s faces as we smile at them and wave. Yesterday, I was running errands back and forth from the new location. Heidi stayed there and was cleaning. When I returned, she was sitting in the yard under a tree with three men. She later told me that the Holy Spirit was prompting her to talk to them.
I have learned that when she is prompted, that my intervention is probably more of a hindrance than a help, so I continue to do the things that I need to do. A few hours later, she was still talking with the men. She ended up giving them some Bibles and praying with them. There seems to be an amazing hunger here to know Jesus. Sadly, many of them think they know God, but they have no understanding of being born again. They continue to live as the world does without the sanctification process of the Holy Spirit being underway. One of the men went to a small little church on Sunday. A rustic building served as their gathering place. The pastor has attended the Echo Africa training, and we were quite surprised at some of the things he said.
He definitely sided with the men in some of the comments he made. His comments regarding the women’s behavior was one-sided and unjust. After the service, we talked as a group and decided it would be good to call him, and then discuss matters. Our approach is very simple. We will convey God’s Word through our teaching session and take actions the best we can. Now that we have been operating for several months, we can do a more thorough evaluation of the teaching process.
The sad reality of the corruption that exists here in Malawi has become “up close and personal.” Tony, the beloved young man that runs the program here, is being falsely persecuted. We had purchased a used truck back in December, and we even went as far as taking it to the police station before we purchased it, to make sure it was not stolen or anything else. After their investigation of the vehicle, they concluded that it was okay to buy. Later on, we discovered through the Ford dealership that someone had replaced the VIN number with a number that did not match. We then proceeded to contact an attorney and diligently pursue truth in obedience to God’s Word. There was no way we could be running an organization teaching pastors and distributing Bibles yet be using a questionable vehicle. After a few months, the attorney working on the case gave us a letter approving of us keeping the truck, so we decided there was one more step necessary. Tony, Heidi, and myself all agreed to go to the Ford dealership. If this letter would be sufficient to allow them to work on the vehicle, then we would take the attorney’s advice and keep it. Little did we know this would set a chain reaction into play.
The service representative read the letter, and concluded there still may be an issue. There was a option offered to us, which would result in us getting the real VIN number. It would only take a few minutes for them to plug their computer in and read it off of the vehicle. Once we had that number, we could turn it into Interpol and see if it was legit. Within less than two hours, we were able to do more than the attorney did for us in the past couple of months. After a quick investigation, it was determined the vehicle was stolen from South Africa. The following day, Tony went to the police and he was given a summons. Even though we had done everything well beyond what people would normally do, Tony would have to to appear in court for receiving stolen property. This is totally unbelievable.
We went to the police before we even purchased it. They gave us the go-ahead and the blue book ( title ). Now we will get to see the mighty hand of God to work in this situation. Tony has been able to maintain a good attitude with that wonderful smile on his face through the whole thing. He is such an inspiring young man and such a joy to accompany. I marvel at the consistency of his character. I must admit, I feel a bit protective of him. Also, I view his innocence as a vulnerability for those who choose to do evil. We let the attorney know that we had successfully discovered the origin of the vehicle. He could have done the same thing in a couple of hours or less. Instead, he gave us a letter to perpetuate the corruption beast in Malawi. This led to some actions on my part that could have had severe consequences. All I can say at this point is, we were tracked down on the Fourth of July by the lawyer, and four thugs.