Tapita Malawi

Jacara Malawi

What images will persist, I wonder, for Ruth and I as we leave Malawi and Africa? For sure there will be images of rolling seas of tea bushes, of bright lilac colored jacaranda trees, of vast planes of dusty bush, of proud exotic animals, of litter strewn slums, of mud floors and tin roofs.

However I am convinced that the truly persistent images of Malawi and of Africa will be of the faithful brothers and sisters we leave behind. Compared to our homeland we found friends materially poor, struggling with a lack of education, and adrift for the want of more of Christ’s shepherds. But we also found friends with faces shining with the love of Jesus, humble homes thrown open in wonderful hospitality, and lives where the little they did have was completely dedicated to the growth of God’s kingdom.
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Zambezi Evangelical Church

3rd September 2013

Our escorts here in Malawi, David and Janet Brown, attend the same church as Ruth and I. We consulted them early on when considering a move into mission and they lovingly offered to escort us on this trip to a country that had been on my heart since my Scottish upbringing. David and Janet work for Zambezi Mission (ZM). ZM (originally Zambezi Industrial Mission) has served God since 1892 along the Zambezi river in Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) and more recently in northern Mozambique. It founded the Zambesi Evangelical Church (ZEC) in 1894. Simon Chikwana, the Director of ZM in Malawi, is hosting us at the ZM guest house and has helped develop a great itinerary that will give us insight into ZM, ZEC, and their various ministries.
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Equatorial Kenya

26th August 2013

Monday was an early start as Ruth, Silas, Rahab and I drove “up country” to visit the ministry of Simon Mwaura in northern Kenya from his base in Nyahururu.

Downtown Nairobi was quickly left behind as we climbed north past the grim slums that ring Nairobi and on into surprisingly misty rolling green pine forests very reminiscent of a cool Scottish hillside. Imperceptibly we had climbed up to 8,000 feet as we turned a steep corner to be faced with the famous Rift Valley.

Unfortunately Kenya wanted to continue masquerading as the highlands of Scotland and the “Internationally Recommended View Point” looked more like a view of the Cuillins of Skye on a bad day!
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A sweet Nairobi Sunday

25th August 2013

Our first Sunday in Kenya started much as our Sundays in England, with church. We had the privilege of attending Kilelesha Covenant Community Church (K3C) which is the suburban home church of our hosts Silas and Rahab. Both the well designed building, the smartly dressed, multi-generation congregation, and the well designed multi-media presentations, would not have been out of place in any major city in the UK and the US.

It was a special youth service and the excellent multi-lingual music ministry of the young praise band, the energy of the guest rap artist, and the culture of clapping God in praise, might have raised a few eyebrows in quiet rural Suffolk. However the clear bible teaching, the obvious love of the church for it’s youth and children, and the church’s dynamic focus on reaching out to make disciples, all made Ruth and I feel very at home. Even the report back from the teenagers about their summer camp showed the same breathless enthusiasm and energy of our own young people.
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Dancing with the Maasai

23rd August 2013

I can’t be the only one who grew up with those amazing BBC documentaries about the African savannah and their stories of the nomadic cattle warriors of Africa that means the name “Masai” is so very special.

So I must admit to some disappointment as we drove far into the savannah south of Nairobi to Kisaju to participate in a praise service at the Glad Tiding Evangelical Church.
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New Life in the slums

22nd August 2013

Today we learned that Nairobi has the dubious distinction of having the second largest slum in Africa after Soweto. We learned this as we drove the relatively short distance from the government district, with all its well dressed business folk, to the shanty town of Kawangware.

We were faced with the usual vision of dirt roads, rotting refuse in the streets being picked over by goats, and groups of youths standing aimlessly at corners. But what we were not prepared for was how much we were going to learn about church planting in a little concrete shack sandwiched between two dingy shops, and the joy we were going to have hearing the wonderful stories of young (and not so young) men and women born-again to a new life with Jesus Christ.
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Training trainers in Muthure

21st August 2013

The first full day in Kenya for Ruth and I involved an exciting drive up into the rural hills north of Nairobi to help at a Pastor’s seminar being run by our hosts, Silas and Rahab Waweru, at Cornerstone Mission Church in Muthure.

As we drove through the posher suburbs of Nairobi, those that had formerly been the residence of the colonial British, it was quite a shock to see how quickly they transitioned to the shanty towns that encircle the city just outside the official town limits. It is clear that living in our guest house in the centre of the government district we were getting a rather rarefied vision of Kenya.
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Kenya at last

20th August 2013

We arrived! Ruth and I arrived early this morning in Nairobi without too much hassle – except I dropped and cracked the screen of my iPhone. Nor did we get much sleep on the plane.

But it is amazing how quickly the Kenyans have set up temporary workarounds at the airport, using big tents to get things moving despite the huge fire they had. It was still faster through immigration than Heathrow on a good day – but that is not saying much!
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Stepping out with God

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Saturday 6th July

It is 2pm Sat 6th July. Ruth and I are sitting in the sun on the ferry in Fishguard harbour after a drive from the east to the west of mainland Britain on our way to Youghal, County Cork in Ireland.

This is the second part of our great adventure this summer as over the next few months we visit and share with Christian missionaries in Romania, Ireland, Kenya and Malawi. (Our second visit to Belgium has been postponed to October). It’s all part of our quest to understand God’s call for this next phase in our lives.

The first part of our summer adventure was a return visit last week to Daniel and Danny Ispas in Carand, western Transylvania, Romania. Over the coming weeks we will post more about that physical and spiritual journey as time (and internet connection) permits.

Please support and encourage us by following our posts on Facebook and on our new WordPress blog. At both places you can leave your own contributions and comments to help us on our way.

The idea of the blog is to allow our friends to share in our thoughts and experiences as we spend time in so many different places. However, perhaps more importantly, it will give Ruth and I a mechanism with which to reflect on the experience and the lessons learned.

We hope you enjoy sharing in our great adventure this summer as we step out with God.