We are about ten weeks into our time here in Malawi and there is still no sign of our TEP (Temporary Employment Permit) being granted. Please pray that this comes through soon as it gives us the official confirmation of our long-term stay here. We are confident God has called us to be here for the long-term, and are increasingly clear about how he specifically wants us to serve, and are beginning to ‘motor’. So we have decided to go ahead with a couple of long-term decisions regardless of the TEP.
First, we will be finally shipping the small amount of goods that we decided to send from the UK to Malawi to help us with our ministry here. The risk is that without a TEP and, despite zm charitable status, we will still be charged the high import duties that Malawi chooses to apply on goods value and shipping costs! Ruth is getting significant withdrawal symptoms after 10 weeks without a keyboard, and I need my books, so we will move ahead. So please pray for this situation.
Second, we have decided to go ahead and buy our own small 4×4. High import duties mean that most small/medium 4x4s get traded within Malawi and hold their value well. But they can be difficult to get hold of. Thankfully we have a new friend who is an experienced resident of Malawi and will help us check any vehicle over. We are very thankful for the access we have to one of the mission’s two 4×4 pickups but Ruth is reluctant to drive this ‘tank’. So our own car will allow us to be a little more independent. And unlike Chelsea residents in London a 4×4 is essential, even in the Blantyre suburbs where tarred roads fast disappear. So please pray that the right vehicle comes up at the right time.
However, I am sure that our new 4×4 will not look like the chunky safari style Land Rover that we recently saw a Blantyre boy playing with in the dust. Sorry Pastor Mark, Land Rovers are a common sight but are very expensive to buy and very very expensive to maintain 🙂