Archive for June, 2017

Business in Blantyre

Pastor Chilemba and his son, John, picked us up at the airport with a van and a driver. After we made introductions and loaded our luggage, we packed in and made our way through the city. Blantyre is the commercial center of the country. It is a busy city with many people doing business and traveling about. Cars and trucks fill the city streets (and they are all driving on the wrong side of the road – but as long as they are all doing it, it works). Mary Beth had made reservations for our first night in Blantyre because we planned to spend the entire next day shopping for supplies that we couldn’t bring. The ride from the airport was most interesting with sights of business and homes from very nice to shabby. We went from pavement to potholes and a very rough dirt road.

Since Mary Beth is a missionary kid, raised in South America, and has been on missions all over the world, she made our reservations. When we pulled into Game Haven Lodge, my heart skipped a beat. It appeared to be a resort!! Not only that, Mary Beth said that animals come to feed and drink from the nearby lake!

My first night in Africa

Then as we drove into the property, the Lord gave us His favor by treating us to a spectacular African sunset. It was the only sunset I saw in Africa.

African Sunset

Continued . . .

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The aircraft seating was three sets of three seats across in coach

Misgivings about flying Ethiopian Airlines vanished as the flight attendants served a delicious meal soon after we took off. I had already pleasantly experienced wider seats and more leg room than any domestic flight than I have flown in the last ten years! The flight attendants gave us so much attention that I felt absolutely spoiled. After flying to DC on United, then sleeping on the floor at Dulles, I was ready for some pampering and this was going to be a long flight.

The flight attendants spoiled us

Mary Beth ate the meal served, and then asked the flight attendants why first class got Ethiopian food instead of the chicken and beef meals served in coach. The flight attendant smiled and told her that she could have what first class got if she went to the galley – which she did! I joined her and we reveled in the most delicious Ethiopian fare!

Charleeda drew the middle seat and slept most of the flight. Because our seats were situated in the center of the aircraft, both Mary Beth and I had aisle seats. Mary Beth slept some, but I couldn’t. We landed in Lilongwe, Malawi and took off again for Blantyre and still no sleep for Vicki. It had to be the excitement of going to Africa as a missionary. Every time I closed my eyes I had visions of Paul and his missionary journeys into the unknown and unexpected. He was sometimes greeted, sometimes threatened, sometimes shipwrecked, sometimes stoned. So I was stepping out into unknown territory and had no idea what to expect. According to Charleeda and Mary Beth everything would go fine and I should relax. After all, they had been there the year before and they survived.

Continued . . .

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Women “Adorned By God”

Taking all the items we wanted to bless the people with, over and above our teaching materials, required precision packing. Each of us took two large bags with teaching items for classes, gifts for women and helpers, gifts for the women’s conference day, gifts for the children and wives of the sixty-five pastors attending Bible School, our food, clothes, lanterns, computer, and more. Every gift had been personally gift bagged and inspected for appropriateness. The people in Malawi treasure everything we leave with them. We made it our goal to make each gift meaningful and enjoyable.

The children’s bag consisted of punch balls, bracelets, whistles, stickers, jumping frogs, and balls. The bags for helpers (women who cooked and did laundry) included lotion, fragrance, and a piece of jewelry. Then we packed the items for the women at the conference. Pastor Chilemba told us we could teach the women on Saturday afternoon and we planned to teach them about being adorned by God. Burger King donated 150 crowns, we purchased 150 plastic gold necklaces, 150 adjustable rings, and 170 scarves were donated by our faithful donors and prayer partners. In addition, we purchased a beautiful cross for the church.

A weight limit of 50 pounds per bag and six bags gave us 300 pounds to work with. It took planning and an extra meeting – which was difficult because the three of us live at opposite ends of the Denver Metro area – to share and repack, but we successfully met all requirements. The bags weighed in at 49.5 to 50 pounds even and we were finally on our way!

To be continued . . .

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Called to Africa

The team L-R Charleeda Sprinkle, Vicki Andree, David Andree (US Anchor) and Mary Beth Wenger.

God is constantly at work all around us. When He called me to go to Africa last month I was humbled to the ground. In fact, I couldn’t talk for two days. The God of Heaven and Earth entrusted me to teach sixty-five pastors in Malawi for a two week Bible school. When I got over the shock and wonder of His plan, I got to work. It was February 22nd and I had nearly three months to prepare.

Here’s how it happened. My friend, Charleeda Sprinkle, had gone to Malawi with Mary Beth Wenger the previous year. Charleeda has been teaching throughout African for some time and she had built courses using pictures to tell Bible stories for these first year students in Malawi. She invited Mary Beth to help her when she discovered that she would have forty students. Their teaching bore much fruit and Pastor Chilemba invited them back, only this time there were forty returning pastors and twenty-five new pastors. That’s when they called me.

I would be teaching mostly second year students so we had new classes to write and get translated. I can tell you this, I had no idea how much preparation is involved in these teaching missions. Besides the language barrier, there is the availability of getting copies made for handouts and for getting teaching materials, along with praying for wisdom regarding what we should try to bring with us. Weight restrictions on luggage play a big part in those decisions. We had set a schedule of ten sessions a day, but everything would have to be approved by Pastor Chilemba in Africa. Between poor translation and faulty internet connections, communication from the remote village could not always be assured.

To be continued. .

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Pastor Webster (translator), the snake, and Vicki teaching about the fall of man.

In “God is at Work in Malawi,” I will describe my recent trip to Malawi, Africa, teaching pastors about the Bible. In fact, I returned last Sunday. The Holy Spirit in Africa left me in awe often, in shock sometimes, and speechless more than once. The presentation will be at Alma Temple at the evening service on June 11th. If you have supported this mission with prayers and donations, you won’t want to miss it. The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, half a block from the state capitol building, Denver, Colorado.

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“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 NIV).

Having the same mindset of Jesus may seem highly unlikely to you. After all, Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. Jesus led a perfect life and we must admit that we are lowly, fallible human beings. But did you know that God actually gave all of us the mind of Christ? “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Given that God has graciously blessed us with the mind of Christ and that He revealed it to us in His Word, should we not explore it for just a minute? What was Jesus’ attitude while He was here on earth? If we indeed possess the mind of Christ, then we also possess the attitude of Christ. Wow!

That seems a tall order, but believe this … we can willingly and instantly change our attitude at any time, under any circumstances. Let me give you an example. You are very angry at someone in your house. Let’s say someone broke a priceless vase. You have been emotionally strained because of lack of sleep the past week, worrying about how to pay off your credit card. The vase breaks and adrenalin shoots through your veins. You scream in rage at the offender. Suddenly the doorbell rings.

You swing the door open, ready to plow into some innocent vendor. There on your doorstep stands the President of the United States, complete with secret service and press spread over your front lawn. Your attitude changes instantly from aggression to humility. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the President of the United States. Maybe it was just your local pastor. However, I believe the instant attitude change would occur then as well.

What would the mind of Christ look like? Since we can’t look into His mind, we can look at how He lived to get an idea of how we can emulate the mind of Christ. He came to “save the world, not to judge it” (John 3:17). Aha! Judgments are out. Yes, I say it again, judgments are out. He made it His business to serve and heal the people around Him. Okay, we can do that. He put mere human beings above Himself, the King of the universe. Can you put others above yourself?

Can you think of someone who is truly servant-hearted? Someone who truly enjoys serving others? There are many people like that. Does it seem impossible? Why not trust God to empower you to do it for one person. Putting even one person’s needs above your own is a very good start. If you are married it might be your spouse. Or it may be someone you know who needs some help. There is certainly someone in this world you could humbly serve and love with an attitude of joy.

Philippians 2:5 reminds us that Jesus kept an attitude of humility and love toward the people around Him. He is God of the universe and His attitude was to serve His fellow man. Today your attitude can be the same.

Father, You have given me the mind of Christ. This is overwhelming when I consider how Jesus lived here on earth. Teach me how to live a life of humility and serve others to glorify You. Amen.

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

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