I have been so blessed this week to have our dear friends Althea and Carl from South Africa here this week! Althea is a missionary to Malawi, and was basically a lifeline for us while we were there. When we were dropped in the middle of Africa with no team on the ground, few earthly possessions, and no clue about life there, she was the person that took charge. After about 5 weeks on the ground and feeling like we were banging our heads against the wall with work permits, building permits, and orphanage legalities (not to mention just adjusting to life unlike anything we had experienced before) Shawn finally said to one of our pastors, "Take me to a mzungnu!" (White person!) They went to the place where Althea was, and our life started to fall into place a little bit from that point on! With no vehicle, she took us to the stores. With no idea of what good prices were, she helped us bargain. She helped in choosing trustworthy people to work in our house and on our property. And when Andrew needed surgery, she let us stay with her, drove us to and from the hospital, filled out paperwork, stood in all the appropriate queues, and just plain loved on us. To have her and Carl here and praying with us and meeting the people in our life here was wonderful. Not to mention that the timing of hearing from World Harvest was great, and she excitedly prayed with us about being back in Africa - the place we all love!
I loved our time in Malawi, and do not consider any of it a waste of time or mistake. It was exactly where we were supposed to be at that time, and we would not change it. And it opened up our hearts even more for this amazing continent that so needs to understand the depth of God's love and mercy.
As much as I loved our time there, and as thankful as I am that God provided Althea (and many other wonderful ex-pats) to help us navigate and love on us, I am sooooooo excited that this time we are going to a place where there is a wonderful team in place! Michael and Karen Masso are team leaders, and they have three children that happen to be our oldest three kids ages! There is also Bethany, Larissa, Christine, Caleb, and Scott on the ground already. Then there is Heidi, Jennifer, Melissa, John and our family to come! A team of 20!
Check out our new teammates' blogs on the side of this blog! It will give you a good overview of where we are going! :)