Thursday, January 27, 2011

Letter from Fr. Sumani in Malawi - The Beginning Not the End

Counting down days- but we were so jealous because we wanted the mission crew to remain with us for many more days. Their stay with us has been so beneficial. The teaching from Friday to Wednesday morning was amazing. The crew mixed so well with everyone- it was like they had been here before- we loved it. Praise God for who He is.

I thank God for the fulfillment of this trip. When we first begun to talk about it, it was like building a castle in the air- but look at what the Lord has done. I am convinced that God wanted them here. My prayer is that this will be the beginning and not the end. The presence of youngsters like Shane, Mark was a testimony that God is indeed at work even in the lives of young people.

My gratitude goes to all the spouses and family members who allowed their husbands to come to Malawi. I believe the decision to come here was heavily based on trust in God. May the good Lord continue to bless you.

In Christ-service,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phone Call from Malawi - Journey Home Begins Tomorrow

Hello friends,
I am still fighting my cold.  Hopefully the antibiotics and extra vitamins the doctor is making me take will get me up and running by the time Roy gets home.  I was overwhelmed to hear his voice today.  He is ready to come home almost as much as I am ready to have him home. He gave a report that today they met with the SAGHAM group and families and children affected by HIV/AIDS for a final ceremony. They presented them with the dresses that the women from Zion made and they were enthusiastically received by the kids. He also said that the team was able to go on a 2 hour jungle safari and was excited to get pictures of elephants, gazelle, monkey's and other wild life. Patrick's nose is almost healed (suffered a little wind burn last week we were told).

He asks that we start praying early in the morning 4-5am cst tomorrow (because they are 8 hours ahead of us) and they begin their long drive (about 4 or 5 hours) back to Lilongwe to the airport. He said he is teaching NT 2 in the morning then they get in the mini-van to head back around noon their time (4am CST). He is asking for specific prayers for travel in the road conditions, health during transit, and of course flight schedules. We know we are expecting snow on Thur and Fri and pray that they make it home without delay.
When I asked him about his sermon this past Sunday at St. Bartholomew in Zomba, he said it was led by the Holy Spirit.  He said it was amazing how many people packed in to that church and were standing outside looking in the windows when he began to talk.  He could only tell me that the Lord led his words in the path that was needed.  God has done amazing work with this team during this trip and I can't wait to hear more about it. 
Thank you all for your continued prayers all over the country!  We love you very much. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday morning blues

Somehow, my silly upper respiratory illness that I had at Christmas time, seems to be back.  My nose is stuffy and my chest is heavy.  I must take care of this once and for all.  Tea.  Tea is the ticket.  My ingenius oldest daughter made me some wonderful teas, so I am sipping that while I relax with you.  Yesterday, just as I was "geting the blues" missing Roy - an email popped into my phone.  It is so wonderful how God has kept me strong through this.  A message just when I needed it!  He said that they had spent the day teaching at the seminary in Zomba and had just finished dinner with Fr. Sumani.  He also said that things were much better now that the team was all together and in Southern Malawi.  Things are ALWAYS better in the south.  :)  Is a quote from a friend on campus.  He also said that he will be preaching tomorrow at St. Bartholomew in Zomba, so it is my intention to wake up at around 2am so that I am on the same time as he and pray pray pray. 

Today we awoke with fresh snow on the ground.  A couple of inches to put a fresh coat of white on the drifts of dirty piles from the previous weeks plows.  It is refreshing.  I have no icon class today.  Sad, but Judy is out of town with her husband whom is an interim priest.  They are going to a church north and decided to make a weekend out of it.  Blessings for them.  I am almost done with Archangel Michael.  I am excited to be finally putting the finishing touches on him soon.  My next icon, we have been discussing already is going to be the Guardian Angel.  It is beautiful.  Icon writing has really given me a new spiritual outlet.  I am hooked, and I look forward to sharing this with others upon my return to Florida.

Gotta run now, I must sweep off the car and run pick up a friend.  Community living is amazing here, one thing that I will surely miss.  We stick by each other and help out whenever there is a need.  Today, I have agreed to loan my car to a seminarian that is here without wheels.  He ususally has a roommate that they share a car with, but his roommate isn't back from break.  Gary is from central Fl and he and his wife Christina have become fast friends.  He is only here for one year, so his family did not move with him.  It must be so hard.  I have met her when she has come for a visit and she is so sweet.  I pray for them now. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  Ps. 19:14

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Mission Team has met up with Fr. Andrew and now at the seminary in Zomba

Last night Roy called around dinner time.  It was a thrill to hear his voice, of course.  I was surprised though when I started counting the time difference realizing that it was close to 1am on his time zone.  He didn't want to talk about the Spiritual Warfare that Jonathan sent us notice about yesterday.  However, he did reassure me that it had nothing to do with physical or imminent danger or harm.  Everyone was doing well, with the exception that he was struggling with missing us and being so far away and out of contact.  He only wanted to talk about us and nothing negative.  He talked to Heather for a bit too.  Thank you Charleston for access to an international phone!!!!  <3 

So when I got the forwarded email from Fr. Andrew Sumani (former son of the house) via Susan, I understood why he was calling so late.  They had been traveling all day.  Read on...

The team finally made it to Zomba. I say finally because the trip from Mzuzu to Zomba took them 14 hours- tiresome indeed. The journey normally takes 6-8 hours. But they had to use a longest distance because there is maintainance work on the shorter distance. When they arrived almost everyone was ready to go to bed. Thankfully, they did.

We think today, thursday morning, they should rest. Lunch will be provided by St. George Anglican Church- the Church where Lecturers from the College assist. Pray that they will have successful ministry in Malawi.



Well most of them were ready for bed.  :)  Keep in mind that the travel conditions are not via limo, taxi or commercial bus.  But in a cramped vehicle that Jonathan earlier described as many of them unable to stretch their legs or see out.  Today they have teaching in the seminary there on the agenda and tomorrow's agenda is visit Permaculture Sites and Evensong after classes.
Still praying everyday for you my wonderful husband.  Blessed that you are obedient to God's call and trust in him through all odds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mission News from Jonathan

More updates received from Malawi.  Your prayers are felt!!  Read on:

Hello All,

Quick update:
1) Spiritual warfare. If y'all were praying hard last night about 10-12pm Malawi time (seven hours later than Eastern Standard), there was some serious spiritual warfare going on... and the Holy Spirit moved in amazing ways in our team. God is awesome. And wins His battles.

2) Pilgrimage. Today we went to Likoma island, where the cathedral was built a century ago as the center of missionary work in what is now the Province of Central Africa. It was a wonderful experience -- especially considering a whole group of people pulled together a wonderful greeting for us (including tea, etc) with only a few hours' notice! Our boat had a few difficulties coming back, but all were weathered smoothly, and the lake was unusually smooth as well.  Again, your prayers were felt. (It really was a moving experience -- the hospital and school, but especially the cathedral. We are sunburned, but happy.)

3) Tomorrow we take the long drive south to Zomba and the seminary.

Travel prayers appreciated!
Faithfully in Christ,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

YouthQuake article by Heather

I have been going to youth quake for four years, but this year was different.  I open up my heart to Jesus every year and get that “Jesus high” but it starts to die down and I slip back into my old routine. But this year when I got prayed over they told me to close my eyes and go to the cross, when I did God was standing there with open arms.  I started to cry, I told him about all the mistakes I’ve made and how sorry I was. He wiped my tears away and he whispered to me “shh my child, no more tears I forgive you.”   As he was speaking to me dirt started to pour into my hands and he took it from me and it disappeared and at that moment I realized that the pile of dirt was all of my sins, all my mistakes and everything I have ever done wrong.   He touched the dirt and as he did it turned into a white dove and flew away.   All of my wrong doings are gone and can’t come back again this time.   Jesus saved me this weekend.

Malawi Love Notes

Got an email from Roy today.  He said he loves us and misses us - and wishes he had time to email more details, but he has to share one computer with 11 people in the little bit of time that the power is on.  I was hoping on more details of his preaching, church visits, Nkhata Bay and a description of the demonstration garden.  I guess we'll have to await his return to the states for that.  He did say that tomorrow they will be traveling to southern Malawi to work with other priests teaching classes and with Fr. Sumani (previous Nashotah grad) pastoral care and healing ministry for families and individuals affected by HIV.  It is 11pm on his time zone, and I pray for peace and comfort for him as he lays his head down to sleep.  I love you too, Roy and anticipatingly await your return.  Praise God for the wonderous things you and the team are doing to expand God's kingdom, with God's help.  I am proud of you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

News from Africa!!!

At 7:30am cst, I got a short phone call from Roy.  It was a blessing to hear his voice.  He sounded tired and alittle homesick, but well none worse for ware.  He wanted to make sure to at least tell me hello in case he didn't get a turn on the computer (very limited access time) and I guess the line was long.  Many of the wives got emails, I have one that was forwarded from a friend of a friend.  Jonathan is one of the seminarians traveling with the group: 

Dearly Beloved,

Greetings from Malawi. :-) We have just had dinner at the home of the Bishop of Northern Malawi (where we've eaten several meals and four members of our team are staying -- the Happening was in the same compound, just around the corner), and I'm using his computer for few minutes.  Travel went well once we finally got off; although the drive here to Mzuzu from Lilongwe was fairly grueling (five or so hours in a packed van -- more difficult because most passengers couldn't really see out).

Ah! I just heard there's cake. :-) Briefly....

The other seven of us are staying at the convent's guest house.  Yesterday morning we attended a service inducting a woman as a "junior sister," at the parish just up the road. The service was between three and four hours long (and I confess they lost me during the nine speeches near the end!)... but it was also AMAZING. When the Mothers' Union women started singing outside, and the young in the transept began singing in response -- a kind of antiphony-through-the-walls --I thought maybe I was in heaven rather than Malawi. (Well, maybe I was.) The singing style is quite different than ours, but it's simply beautiful. And the harmonies, and... yeah. In spite of not understanding most of what was said -- the sermon was given in English with a translation, for our benefit, but the liturgy was all in Chichewa -- I loved the service, and I think everyone else on our team did too. (Although Patrick was immensely sleep-deprived and may not have been fully alert through all of it....)

The Happening seemed to go well. It started crazily, since we had to hit the ground running. But we assigned talks in DC the morning before we left, so there was actually some time to prepare, or at least think about what to say. We had... perhaps forty or fifty young people (14-24 or thereabouts), and pretty nearly all nine of us gave short talks. Mine was the last, on the "Apostolate" (bringing Christ to the world). The final two talks were this morning, so the two of us giving them stayed here at St. Mark's for the service. In Chichewa, of course; the English service was happening while we were next door at the Happening. But it was another beautiful service --and since it included our introduction, and giving all the "Happenists" (their word; I'm not making this up) wooden crosses -- we got them too -- that was also about three hours long. Fr. Culpepper,
our leader, celebrated the first English-language service and preached at both. Six members of the team went out to... I guess four other parishes, so our team gave five sermons this morning total, plus the two of us who gave talks at Happening. (I'll probably be preaching down south next week; we'll see.)

I said, and I saw in one of Natalie's updates -- which are splendid, by the way -- that Malawians are quiet and reserved. I'm not sure that's quite right. They're mostly very humble people. But they're also very generous, and loving. We've all felt wholly welcomed, and the young folks (the Happenists) seemed sorry to say goodbye, and flocked around for contact info. (I don't know how we're going to answer all those letters and e-mails.)

Tomorrow's schedule is getting fuller -- we're going to try to do the Nkhata bay trip, AND see the gardens, AND attend vespers at the convent (where we also had lunch yesterday). This is so -- top secret, don't tell -- we MIGHT be able to squeeze in a trip to the island on Tuesday, to see, inter alia, one of the largest cathedrals in the Anglican Communion.... I'll let you know if that happens. :-)

Thank you for your prayers. A skeeter got me pretty good on the elbow this morning -- at least I think that's what it was, I didn't see it-- so we'll pray I don't come down with Malaria when I get back. But so far, other than a few minor digestive bumps and some temporary sleep deprivation (getting better), we're doing pretty well. Answered prayer. And others are after the computer. Gotta go. :-)



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday with Archangel Michael

Today was a good day working on my icon Archangel Michael.  I am just a little disappointed that the last float dried too dark, hiding much of the 2nd highlights.  They were so detailed.  All is well though, the highlights done today will freshen it up a bit.  The wings look beautiful as if the sun is beating down on them.
After spending the morning, a nice lunch and a bit of chat time with Judy (my icon instructor) I stopped at the grocery store.  Picked up some snacks for Heather's return and dinner supplies for the Malawi Widow prayer dinner tomorrow.  It is a loving nick name by Deborah that has caught on.

Did I forget to mention, that the snow accumulated about 4 inches last night and I had to shovel my way out the door and driveway?  Boy, I sure do miss my hubbie.  He does such a good job shoveling.  Oh well, I am sure snow is the furthest thing from his mind right now in Africa.  I imagine it is hot and humid where he is.  They should be in the middle of the Happening weekend right now.  Prayers for the Holy Spirit to fill them with the words that are needed at the moment.

Yesterday was very productive for me.  Worked a 9 hour day, 2 loads of laundry completed, baked a dozen cookies to take to Judy's, mopped the floor, had a glass of wine with a friend, and turned on the self cleaning oven.  Nothing like the feeling of accomplishment!  No time for loneliness here!  ha ha  I heard from Heather and the groups traveling to NC for YouthQuake, they have arrived and having fun.  All I have left on my agenda for this Saturday afternoon (creeping into evening now) is to run up to CVS and get more ink for our printer.  We go through that stuff like crazy.

Prayers up to God for my loved ones today and a reminder from 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Year

WOW, time is flying by and I am still not doing a good job keeping things posted on this blog.  Luckily for the handiness of my phone and facebook I can keep up with most of you there.  So, our Christmas visit in Florida was pleasant, aside from getting sick and down for 2 days.  Unfortunately we didn't get to see everyone on our list, but we tried.  Mostly, I didn't want to spread my germs.  It was good to see Stephanie, I am so proud of her.  She has grown in to a fine respectible responsible adult and is doing great at UCF.  Missed you Cristina! 

The house is eerily quiet.  Roy left on Tuesday with 11 others on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa.  At first I must admit, I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I wasn't able to go this time.  Reality set in, and my responsibility as a mother and wife to "hold down the fort".  Now I am in full gear to support him in daily prayer and looking forward to some "me time".  Speaking of me time, it starts today.  Heather left today for the YouthQuake conference in Asheville, NC.  What an awesome spiritual program for teens!  So I am catching up on emails, coorespondence, paperwork (nice word for bills) and other stuff to do on the computer when it is usually occupied by a teen.  ha ha  Thinking I may go for a haircut after then relax with a nice salad while reading The Elements of the Spiritual Life by F.P. Harton.  This book is required reading for AT1, which resumes in 3 weeks, and I am enjoying this one thoroughly.  AT1 has been a class that Roy and I are taking together on campus.  It has lead us deeper into our spiritual journey with focus on our Rule of Life, prayer, devotions, and different aspects of our spiritual gifts. 

So as for Roy's journey to Africa.  They left on Tuesday morning and had all intentions of flying out of Milwaukee to first stop Chicago.  Well, as the weather conditions would have it, the flight was cancelled.  So they opted to rent 2 vans to drive them to Chicago to meet their connecting flight that afternoon to Dulles.  Of course, the snow followed them to Chicago and there was a 2 hour delay.  This of course, led to them missing the connecting flight in Dulles to Johannesburg.  Their first night was spent in Washington, DC instead of Dulles.  Not to worry, as their intention was to have a free first day in Mzuzu (their first mission stop in Africa) to plan the Happening curriculum; so they used the time in DC for the curriculum planning.  At least they are now prepared.  Much of the trip and work they are doing will be lead by the Holy Spirit.  The only planning of participants for the Happening event given to them was there could be 2 or 400 people in attendence.  This event is different from the US Happening in such that the age group encompasses the age group of 15 - 30 rather than just teens. I plan to update frequently with some daily mission plans for specific prayer needs.  For now, travel is the first one.  They have finally arrived in Johannesburg and will spend the night.  Tomorrow they board yet another plan to take them to Lilongwe and from their it is an 8 hour drive to Mzuzu. 

Here is a link to share on Heather's journey to YouthQuake.  Enjoy! 

That is all for now my friends.  Just wanted to give you a quick update on our life!  Blessings be to God and Glory is His name!