October 2015

15 (Thu) Mother's Day!
15 (Thu) Youth Bible Study - Helen
19 (Mon) - 23 (Fri) ACTEA 'Visitation" (Inspection?) Team at EBCoM
21 (Wed) International Ladies Bible Study - Helen
22 (Thu) SIM Prayer Meeting - Megumi & Helen
22 (Thu) Youth Bible Study - Helen
28 (Wed) International Ladies Bible Study - Helen
29 (Thu) SIM Ladies Meeting - Helen


4 (Wed) International Ladies Bible Study - Helen; EBCoM Staff Meeting - Megumi
5 (Thu) SIM Prayer Meeting - Megumi & Helen
5 (Thu) Youth Bible Study - Helen
9 (Mon) Speaking at EBCoM Chapel Service - Megumi
11 (Wed) International Ladies Bible Study - Helen
12 (Thu) SIM Ladies Meeting - Helen
12 (Thu) Youth Bible Study - Helen
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Today is Mother's Day here in Malawi. A national holiday so that mothers can rest! It feels different with no children around, very restful. Part of the adjustment that I, Helen, am going through is the impact of having no children in the home anymore. There is less grocery shopping to do, cooking, dishes, and the small heap of laundry after a week, looks so feeble! Peace abounds in every room of the house, and conversation at the table is quite limited, because at least one of us is eating whilst the other is talking!
We are also getting back into the groove of Malawi. I, Helen, on arrival, stepping off the plane, instantly defrosted in the lovely sunshine, and now the temperatures are in the high 30's. This has also helped me to sleep like a baby, the protection of the mosquito net around the bed, the familiar sounds of the African night insects and whirring of the fan. Power cuts are a regular daily feature, with some spontaneity as to whether it's morning, afternoon or evening. Water-off's have not been such a struggle, as the house we are temporary staying in, has a large water storage tank, and the supply just gets switched from city pipe to tank, until the city provides again. It has been good to meet again friends and colleagues, and to say hello to new faces on our mission team.

Our Diary for October and November

We felt encouraged when a couple of fellow SIMers commented how glad they were to have Helen back for her member care work and a couple of EBCoM teachers commented how they remembered what they heard from Megumi when they were students and how they were teaching the same now as teachers. When serving God, often it's difficult to measure 'achievements' and 'success', which the modern world seems to demand us to do. We do not like to go along with that kind of measuring, but we do celebrate these small glimpses of how God might be using us for His purposes with thanksgiving.

After meeting with the country director of SIM Malawi, Helen was asked to serve in the combined role of the member care and health coordinator. As he is still new in his role as the country director and as the personnel director is currently away on home assignment, it seems that many things still have to wait until they are discussed between them, but Helen was asked to do several things, and of course she has already started with the more 'informal' (and in some sense more 'real') side of the member care work. 

Megumi started teaching OT Survey (6 hours a week) to the 1st year Chichewa class (9 students, 2 of whom from Mozambique). Thankfully, an SIM colleague who normally teaches this course left a set of very well-prepared workbooks for the students, as well as a well-thought-out teaching plan, which made it possible for Megumi to teach this very important course. As he works through the student workbooks in preparation, he feels he is learning much. In addition to teaching, he also attends the staff meetings (not always very exciting) and serves as a counselling group tutor for a group of 10 students. 

Megumi was also invited to attend a couple of evaluation meetings of the lay-leadership training work. The work started some years ago in response to the request from Africa Evangelical Church. Just before we left Malawi for our last home assignment in 2013, a joint task-force managed to produce a set of 12 booklets to help pastors to train the lay-leaders in their churches. During our home assignment, our colleagues led regional workshops to provide the pastors with both the booklets and the training for how to use them. Now, the work of the task-force is coming to its completion with evaluation as feedback is gathered from pastors and lay-leaders in various regions of Malawi. As with everything, there are variations among churches and individuals, but it was encouraging to hear in the 2 meetings that those who used the booklets found them very helpful. Apparently, one or two lay-leaders in some churches were mistaken for a pastor because the quality of their ministry has improved so much! We are thankful that God seems to have turned our effort into a fruitful work for some of His people in MalawiType your paragraph here.