Blantyre Christmas

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Ruth in her new ‘chitenje’

Thank you for so many messages via email, Facebook, WhatsApp and phone. It ensured we knew that, far away as we are, you were thinking of us on this special day. Rest assured that – while missing you all – we had a great time once we had positively embraced the fact that this was going to be a different Christmas without our family, and we should enjoy it for what it was!

We were up sharp for the earliest (08:30 start) and longest (3 hours duration with 1 hour sermon) Christmas Day service that we have ever been to. [Note Mark Howson: don’t get any ideas!] However it was also one of the most joyous of Christmas Day services as the people of Limbe ZEC welcomed us in, made us feel so welcome, and in scripture, music, song, drama and dance made their celebration of Christ’s birth a very African one.

Joseph learns of Mary's pregnancy

Joseph learns of Mary’s pregnancy

We were touched when Brother Victor Zuze changed plans and gave his lively and thought provoking sermon in English, with Pastor Anthony Masala doing a typically masterful interpretation into Chichewa that seemed to reflect every nuance of tone and gesture.

Victor is EBCoM trained and, given my academic interest in the homiletics of Malawi preachers, I was very impressed at the way Victor combined sound exegesis with the passionate, orally emphatic, preaching style that connects with the soul of so many Malawi listeners. Indeed his perspective on what we could learn from four groups in the Christmas story (Shepherds, priests/teachers, Wise Men, and Herod) concerning how to celebrate Christmas was challenging, thought provoking, and memorable.

Our Christmas decoration

Our Christmas decoration

When we eventually got back to the zm guest house we decided to invite the on-duty guard, Kondwani, to join us for Christmas dinner. We had great fun introducing this lively Christian brother to the new experience of roast potatoes, Christmas pudding and custard (not all on the same plate)! Of course it also gave us the opportunity of learning more about this articulate and energetic man’s story. We never fail to be humbled, amazed and encouraged by our Malawi brothers and sisters as they joyously walk with Christ through so much hardship and adversity.

2 thoughts on “Blantyre Christmas

  1. love the new style Ruth, looks cool!! Glad to hear Christmas went well and we are enjoying your updates as you send them… you are much thought of… Glad you are enjoying the different styles of worship and preaching and to celebrate the cultural differences and knowledge gained from enjoying others understanding… it’s great to hear the experiences through your news and we continue to hope that the on-going settling in period will be gentle and enjoyable in the weeks ahead…

  2. Hi Myles and Ruth, Just returned from the Meeting of volunteer Regional Reps, where I really enjoyed meeting “the team”, swopping our personal stories/testimonies, and looking briefly at plans for 2015.The journey to Mike Beresford’s house was straightforward, and took about 2 1/2 hours, so joining in on other occasions will be easier than I thought.I have begun to enjoy your blog and sympathise with the heat problem ; so glad the rains have broken properly now. Of course, you will realise it made me homesick for Malawi, especially Blantyre, as I recognised so many places on the photos.Just not sure I will make it back this year, but would love to do so.(I keep contact regularly with the COM and Chris and Kumbukani in Ndirande, as well as BCC. (You should drop in on Blantyre Community Church sometime – see Website – where you will find much to encourage you. Lee Furney (UK) is the Pastor. The Church has connections with EBCOM, and the McGrath family entertain many missionaries in their home. They live near you, just opposite the Sports Hall of COM, down a side road).
    Here the number of grandchildren have increased (2 boys) and we have assisted in an outreach event at St. Johns (Making a Meal of Christmas), and are involved with the children on Sunday and on the Mission Team.I should send you a copy of our Annual Letter so you can catch up. Nuff for now! Warmest greetings to both, Mike

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