“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34 NKJV).

Rolling power outages impact businesses, which is part of the reason handouts are delayed. It is hard to make copies without power to run the copiers. In addition, Pastor Chilemba’s son, John, who supervises and directs the copying process has been drafted as a translator and he spends all day as a translator and must work with the copy center in the evening.

Beginning day three of Bible School. David suggested that we rearrange the schedule for today by combining three classes into two morning sessions. Then since both classes were already planned to be combined for the last main class session, the Returning Students will have had all their classes and can join the First Year class early and get an extra class session. This eliminated the need for one translator all afternoon and frees up John from translating to give him daytime hours to finish supervising the copying.

Changing the schedule didn’t affect us much. Ian did a great job teaching about Jacob. It’s a long and convoluted story and he only went ten minutes over time.

In the opening session I asked how many had cell phones. Half of the students raised their hands. I asked how many had computers and no one held up their hand. I asked how many had access to a computer and only one hand went up.

Later we had an issue with supplying the extra students with materials. We had sent some money personally to buy presents for the translators, but that plan fell through, so that money is now available to buy the extra school supplies for the increased number of students.

After lunch, we discussed this with Pastor Chilemba, and he agreed to use that money to by the extra pens and notebooks and other supplies needed for the extra students. God had this all worked out in advance, the money was here, we just had not understood what it was for. By the end of the day, all the students had their school supplies. That was a huge relief!

After lunch Ian taught the entire one hundred forty student body about Moses and the Exodus. In the meantime David was supposed to be with John at the copy shop sorting out the copies problem. Later I found out that they didn’t even go because just before they were leaving, the shop owner called John and said they had no power and could not do anything. So the joke is on David and his planning, but he does have a good talk with John and things are actually going well. The students are getting the handouts after the class, the students pay attention in class, but they have handouts to take home when they need to refer to them later. As with everything else – it really is no problem.

David teaching about Old Testament priests. John Chilemba is translating.

Later today Manual stepped up to translate. Abraham had to go to the hospital because his son came down with malaria. Please pray for them. Pastor Chilemba took Mama Chilemba to the hospital this morning to check the cast on her arm. All checked out OK, but please continue to pray for quick healing.

We registered our 141st student today. Please praise God for the people signing up. At he final session we used the inflated globes to show how far we had come to be here. Afterward, we bounced the balls through the 141 pastors for five minutes. They loved it! Ian and Joey bring much energy and excitement into play and the pastors are enjoying fun games and activities at the end of a hard day.

On the home front, we have more power outages than last year. We had asked for a refrigerator and got a freezer so I have been trying to regulate it by unplugging it from time to time. I left it plugged in because we haven’t had power and the power went on after we left yesterday. We got home and the power was off again, but all our drinks, snacks, cheese, and yogurt were frozen solid. And yet it was so hot that a cold shower was welcome!

Kids posing in front of the church, the one on the left is Phillip Chilemba’s Daughter. Phillip is Pastor Chilemba’s Son and one of the Pastors of the New Big Church.

Joey blowing up the globe.

Just another day in the 1st year classroom.

New students getting materials.

A quick update on Translator Abraham’s son, he is out of the hospital and doing fine. It seems he had an asthma attack. So many things get lost in translation! He really is fine now.

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Day Two of First Week in Nsanje

Joey teaching advanced class with Pastor Samuel translating.

Today we start having ten sessions of classes per day. The Returning Student class that meets in the small classroom is smaller than expected, which is fortunate because that room is hot and crowded with just 33 students. 40 would have fit, but the extra breathing room is nice, and the smaller class size allows more interaction. Joey and David are the main teachers for this small group. They are determined to find out more about the students and learn more about life for a village pastor in Malawi and not just teach. We have already visited two small rural churches, one in Blantyre and one in Nsanje. We viewed the inside of houses and walked through the villages.

On day two, David planned an easy class called “Who am I” and taught 30 powerful verses and how to use them to encourage themselves and others. Then he told them how he was saved and got 7 volunteers to tell how they were saved. More than half were saved by attending a crusade, which is also the method Pastor Chilemba uses. They are as effective in Africa today as they were during the great awakening in America 100 years ago when great American Evangelists like Billy Sunday and D. L. Moody had huge evangelistic crusades. Billy Graham followed in their footsteps and soon became a mighty force for God in the 1940’s and beyond. God is always at work and now He is working powerfully in Malawi and Mozambique. His name is indeed being exalted.

Many unexpected changes occurred, but both the teachers and the students adapted well to the surprises. For example, there were permanent markers mixed in with the dry erase markers, so we accidentally wrote on one whiteboard with a permanent marker and could not use it. However, since Nsanje has grown, over lunchtime someone went and found the local equivalent of Goof-off and removed the “permanent” while we were at lunch – no big deal.

In the small classroom, the stick up white board material we brought with us from America would not stick to one of the walls we wanted to put it on, so no big deal, suddenly everyone grabs there chairs and benches and the room is rearranged. No one in Malawi is stressed by changes, this is Africa and changes are expected and part of the fun. As a team we are learning this attitude too. Once we realize that we are not disappointing the students when things do not go as planned, we relax into the flow that is Africa, and the ride is actually fun.

Praise the Lord for this extraordinary life changing mission — life changing for both students and teachers. Pray for protection, wisdom, guidance for us. We thank God for all of you. The church here prays for all of you.

Cooking maize for student lunches.

Joey teaches how pastors can create a thunderstorm effect in the ‘new big church’ by clicking their fingers.

Ian teaches and John Chilemba translates for first year students.

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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests by made known to God ; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Joey stopped by this morning to tell me that he and Ian had met some people staying here from Resurrection Fellowship, Loveland, Colorado. They were here on a mission, but leaving this morning. It was great to have a brush with people from home working here to glorify the Lord. I didn’t get to talk with them, but Joey and Ian ate breakfast with them. Joey met the local pastor, Pastor Rogers, and he said he would see us at the World Bible Church annual conference. The missionaries had come from Uganda and I don’t know if they were on their way home or not, but they had a definite mission here in Nsanje.

Pastors line up to register.

After David and I had breakfast we anxiously awaited Pastor Chilemba’s arrival. Registration was to begin at eight o’clock and the van didn’t arrive until after nine. Pastor Chilemba had opted not to set up last night even though I did all I could to try to convince him that we needed to get ready. But pastors were arriving from Mozambique and Malawi and he was very distracted. So we had not set up, registration would begin over an hour late, and what else could go wrong? We expect at least double the students we taught last year. I tried not to stress out.

Then John said he needed to ‘have a word’ with me. Turns out the Bibles we thought were already here in Nsanje are still in Blantyre and Pastor Chilemba went to get them. That’s at least a six hour drive. In addition, the copies for our classes haven’t been completed and the books we so carefully designed a month ago are incomplete —ok — non-existent. (Sigh.)

Pastor Chilemba told us (through John) that they had hired a car to take us to Bible school, then to lunch, then to hotel, then back to Bible school. The car turned out to be the car belonging to the copy shop owner with Philip (Pastor Chilemba’s oldest son) driving. Philip is thinking about getting his driver’s license. Yikes! But then he did mention that he had permission from the local constabulary to drive us.

When we got to the church all the pastors were singing praises to the Lord and dancing. The music was very loud and celebratory! Once inside, we found that because of the loud music, the only way to hear for registration and hand out glasses would be to set up outside the church. There was some delay, but once we got started registration went very well. Abraham (translator) helped Ian and I fill out name tags and certificates while another translator helped David and Joey fit people with glasses. Many of the new pastors are from Mozambique.

Everyone was registered and we were to begin by 11:45. We registered 136 attendees. We began by reading the King of Glory books and got another curve ball! Now we had one translator for Chichewa, and one following in Portuguese!~ This first day would take twice as long because of the added language!! We have over 50 new students from Mozambique. People in Mozambique speak Portuguese!

Joey came up with a brilliant idea to separate and have the two languages taught simultaneously, thus bringing us back to our original schedule. John (Pastor Chilemba’s son) said the problem was… that it would seem to the people from Mozambique that they were being separated from the crowd. And so . . .we continued with our original schedule — first English, then Chichewa, then Portuguese! Our translators are amazing!

Mussa and a friend fill out name tags while we fill out their certificates. My attempt at efficiency.

L-R, Ian, Vicki, Abraham, at registration table.

Joey helps fit proper glasses.

Almost ready to start. Notice the dirt floor. We still have some work to do in order to finish the new big church.

Students registered and waiting for first class to begin. Notice white boards are not on the wall yet. Yes, still setting up. Class is about to begin, a little late, but all is well. It’s Africa!

“In that day you will say:‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted’ ” (Isaiah 12:4).

At the end of this first day of school we had a team wrap up session. We all agreed that the classes are really fun, the students are a joy to teach, they are all eager to learn and just plain delightful to be with. Everyone in Malawi is friendly. It is culture shock to see God glorified on every corner. Everywhere God’s name is being proclaimed. People in Malawi boldly love Jesus. All of us feel sad that America has changed.

There are sixteen more students than expected, so we ran out of supplies, but the students are sharing and we will work all that out tomnorrow. Everyone is so gracious. The King of Glory class went well. Everyone enjoyed it along with the daily raffle for small prizes that we have at the end of the day.

Ian and Joey bring a welcome energy and excitement for the pastors. They are doing a terrific job of teaching and interacting with students using powerful examples and tools. In addition, they come up with fun games and activities to share during joint sessions. We all look forward to classes we will be teaching tomorrow.

Nsanje is growing and the hotel is nicer that last year. There are more stores and markets. However, the electrical company has not been able to keep up with the growth, so there are rolling blackouts of 2, 4, 6, 8 or more hours at a time. You never know when they will happen or how long they last. I don’t have hot water or any water pressure from the shower. But it’s okay. This is Africa, so we just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Please thank God and pray for continued protection and blessings.

The King of Glory class went for three sessions. A powerful book!

Ian teaching children a different way to whistle.

Telling children good-bye. Time for class. The girl on the right is Philip’s daughter.

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It is our first Saturday in Nsanje, July 28, 2018. We arrived at the new big church in the morning after eating breakfast in our rooms. Workers are madly finishing the outside front porch. As soon as we drove up, Mama Chilemba welcomed us. She had a cast on her arm, so I think she broke it. John said no, it’s just a sprain, but I don’t think you put a cast on a sprain. Things often get lost in translation. She was very cheerful and looked good considering her accident. She fell at a friend’s house near the church three nights before.

Finishing touches on the front entrance.

Since it was so dark last night we got another tour of the ‘new big church’ which we found very interesting. When we first walked in I had glanced over at the concrete stage and cringed. I said to David, “I’ll never get up those stairs.” There were two steps from eight to ten inches tall, and I knew I couldn’t get up them. It was a concern, but I didn’t say anthing to the pastor. After we toured the church, all of us went out to a smaller building to inspect the room where David and Joey would be teaching the advanced students most of the time. Only a few minutes later we walked back into the ‘new big church’ (as they call it). To my amazement the two steps up to the stage were now four small doable steps! I mean, it could not have been more than fifteen minutes! Evidently someone noticed my concern and took care of it.

Outside the church Joey, Ian, David, and John (Pastor Chilemba’s son) showed the children how to play rock, paper, scissors. It was a blessing to watch them interface with these precious children. The game was also new to John, but he caught on quickly.

Rock, paper, scissors.

Next they play head and shoulders, knees and toes!

Ian, Joey, John and children playing Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes!

Later we visited Nyamithuthu, a small village outside Nsanje. Pastor Mthyola is the pastor. The congregation had their church service today instead of Sunday because we were here. First they sang praises to the Lord, then prayed. Pastor Chilemba invited each of us to speak for a couple of minutes. After that I got another surprise. Yes, Pastor Chilemba announced that I would now give them a message from the Word of God. Praise God, He is giving me experiences I did not expect! I didn’t have time to panic. God never fails and I did a short teaching on John, chapter one, where John talks about God giving us the right to become His children.

The children’s choir sings for their congregation in this tiny church. You can see Ian in the background.

After a beautiful church service we were invited to stay for lunch. I’ve never eaten rice with my fingers, but didn’t take long to master that talent! Lunch ended and the guys took a tour of a home in the small settlement. They met several people along the way. Pastor Mussa Sheha and John Chilemba led the tour ending up at the Shire River.

At the Shire River. L-R, Joey, John, Mussa, and Ian.

I visited with several pastors wives while the guys did the tour. Once we got back to Nsanje we spent time preparing for Sunday and getting used to our accomodations.

Joey plays catch with Elisha, our dear, sweet, hotel employee.

Joey and Ian teaching hotel employee to play catch.

I’m so pleased to see all the interaction with local people. God’s love is a beautiful thing to share! Blessings.

Our mission to Malawi

Our team! All packed and ready to leave Blantyre and meet the people in Nsanje.

For the next few weeks I will be posting the updates I sent to our Malawi Support Team consisting of around eighty people while we were in Malawi, Africa, so that you, too, can experience the blessings of answering the call to ‘go to all the nations.’ This mission is supported by friends, family, and acquaintances of David and Vicki Andree. The Holy Spirit has called us without the advantage or assistance of an experienced missions church. We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He teaches us how to minister to and love the people in Malawi. Our training manual is the Holy Bible and our leader is the Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the Glory!!

David and I spent a few days in Blantyre, Malawi, to recover from the long flight. Ian and Joey flew in two days after we arrived. We did all our necessary shopping and were ready to head to the village of Nsanje in the morning, where we would be teaching for the next two weeks plus a few days for a conference.

Another day in Africa! After our breakfast meeting at 9 o’clock, Pastor Chilemba would pick us up at ten o’clock. It was 10:30 and no one had arrived. Finally, around 11:30 John showed up at the Lobby of the Lotus Hotel on foot to tell us that his father was getting the brakes fixed on the car. Earlier the day before Pastor CHilemba had mentioned that he had heard a squeak on the brakes and wouldn’t drive down the mountain until they were checked.

About an hour later Pastor Chilemba drove up with the mechanic, who worked on the brakes in the parking lot while we packed the van and waited twenty minutes! Whew! It’s Africa!

Getting new brake pads.

Soon we were going up the mountain and as we drove down the steep grade, I was grateful for the delay at the Hotel and thanked God for Pastor Chilemba’s wisdom. All along the way we passed small villages along the road with people buying and selling various items such as firewood, coal, grain, and clothing.

Ian, with Pastor driving through a village.

Passing villages.

Sun setting behind a starkly beautiful Baobab tree, one of my favorites.

A welcoming committee greeted us as we arrived at the new big church.

Eclipse of the century.

Steve Lee had put us on notice before we left that we should not miss this spectacular eclipse. The eclipse of the century lasted over an hour and was only visible south of the equator. God is so good! What an amazing way to begin our time here in Nsanje. A dramatic ending of an unforgettable day!

Please pray for wisdom and understanding as we make contact with the people here. Let the Lord’s light shine brightly through us. Pray for the Lord to keep the evil one away so we can focus on the Lord’s will in all we do.

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A Reason to Celebrate!

“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel” (Ezra 6:22 NIV).

When Zerubbabel and the prophets of God attempted to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, the governor of the province questioned them. “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure? What are the names of the men working here?”

The Assyrian government was asking questions and taking names. The Israelites were tolerated, certainly not loved or respected. Those who had returned to their broken Jerusalem were considered suspect. And when officials saw the temple was being rebuilt, red flags went up. The officials sent a letter to King Darius trying to stop the rebuilding the temple, but when the king read that Cyrus, king of Babylon had issued a decree to rebuild the temple many years prior, he set about to find the aged decree.

King Darius discovered the decree and immediately exhibited an attitude of obedience ― probably because King Cyrus was very respected as a former leader. King Darius immediately took steps to make sure the temple was rebuilt. This action, caused by a change in his attitude toward the Israelites, called for a celebration praising the Lord.
You are only one person in your family, but your attitude can affect the entire family. In this case the King’s attitude affected the whole nation. Just the very idea that you can change a person or nation simply by your attitude is worth thinking about. As we talked about before, you can change your attitude in an instant.
Countries are like people. The attitude of the leader can revolutionize the attitude of a nation. When their attitude changes, it affects many people. In the case of King Darius, when God changed his attitude, the whole nation of Israel rejoiced!

You may never know when a simple act of kindness will change someone’s attitude and cause them to praise the Lord. I remember one Friday night we were coming home exhausted from a long trip. We stopped at a grocery store to pick up some bananas for breakfast because we knew there was nothing to eat at home. My husband, David, dragged himself into the store. I felt bad for him because he was so tired. He came out a few minutes later with a big smile.
It turned out that there was only one cashier and a woman with a big cart of groceries waiting in the line in front of him. The lady with the big cart said, “Is that all you have? Then why don’t you go ahead of me?”
That simple act of kindness changed his attitude from exhaustion to amazement and it showed all over his face. He talked about it and praised God all the way home.

When you get up in the morning your attitude can set the tone for the day. A positive attitude makes the day go smoother. If you have a family, your attitude can affect everyone in that family for the entire day. Let this be a reminder for you to purposefully decide to have a sunny disposition every morning. It will not only bless the people around you, but your day will go better. Attitude is powerful. Use it to bless people.

Father, God, Your joy is my strength. Make me aware that each time I exhibit a positive attitude, it spreads throughout the people around me. Thank You for giving me a free will and the ability to change my attitude from bad to good. Let me exude joy and compassion. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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Jacob’s Choice

“He said to them, ‘I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me’ ” (Genesis 31:5 NIV).

Speaking of attitudes that change. It took twenty years, but Uncle Laban’s attitude toward Jacob, his nephew, changed. It wasn’t for the better.

Here’s what happened. Jacob tricked his father and angered his brother, Esau, so that his life was in danger at home. He escaped to Padan Aram to get a wife acceptable to his parents. He arrived without money for the dowry, but somehow he was to marry one of Laban’s daughters. Jacob didn’t know which daughter he was going to marry. But when he first saw Rachel he fell madly in love with her. He fell so in love with her that he offered to work for Laban for seven years for the right to marry her.

Love is blind, so they say, and in Jacob’s case it was certainly true. On the night Jacob thought he married Rachel, his bride was wearing a veil. Laban had switched his daughters and Jacob actually married Leah. It wasn’t until the next morning that Jacob realized there had been a switch.

He confronted Laban and demanded to know why Leah was his bride instead of Rachel. It wasn’t until this moment that Jacob found out, as Laban quietly explained, that it was tradition for the oldest daughter to be married first. And now Laban generously offered his second daughter, Rachel, for another seven years of labor. Jacob agreed that he would work seven more for the right to marry Rachel.

The Bible tells us that the seven years went very quickly because Jacob was so in love. And all of that time Laban was reaping the benefit of Jacob’s overwhelming love for Rachel. In fact, he was happy to use his daughter as a bargaining tool. I’m guessing Jacob probably worked harder than any other of the Laban’s servants because he was Laban’s son-in-law. And I believe Laban’s attitude was one of power over Jacob. He could probably have asked Jacob to do anything for him and Jacob would have happily complied.

After Jacob worked and earned both of his wives, he was ready to go back home with his wives and children. Laban wanted him to stay and so Jacob made a request. He said he would continue taking care of Laban’s flocks if he could have every speckled and spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, and every spotted and speckled goat for wages. In the end this deal made Jacob quite wealthy. And now I believe this is where Laban’s attitude begins to change. He no longer had power over Jacob.

By now Jacob had become as rich as Laban and didn’t have to work for him for any other purpose than respect, because Laban was his father-in-law. This was hard for Laban to take since he was used to being in control. You can’t hide your attitude and in Jacob’s case it was obvious that Laban’s attitude had changed toward him. Jacob chose not to be distressed by Laban’s changing attitude, but to focus on God’s provision and blessing throughout those twenty years.

From this story we can learn that attitudes come from deep within. Circumstances change, and attitudes toward you will change, too. God wants us to always remember His attitude toward us. As the verse reminds us, God, our Father, is with us. Therefore, let’s chose the attitude of always trusting God in every situation. Since He will turn it to good, our attitude is one of joyful expectation ― like when you were a child anticipating Christmas and looking forward to days off school and presents under the tree.

God in Heaven, I thank You for all the beautiful things in life. You are the One who gives perfect gifts. Keeping a good attitude in the face of blessings and changes glorifies You. Show me how to constantly glorify You, even when someone’s attitude toward me changes. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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