The MMM team trip to Malawi was a dream of several years. I didn’t know what to expect, but found it meaningful, contributing, and rewarding. Many experiences stand out in my mind: the filth of the old holes upon which the people had been dependent for their lifetime; the utter joy of the people with women and men dancing as the clean water came spouting from the new well; the kneeling in prayer to give thanks to the Lord in the dedication of the new well; how hard the people work, especially the women; the joy of the people; the wonderful singing of praise to the Lord, including at time of death when the deceased is being carried from the church to the cemetery; the visible centrality of the Church in the lives of many people; and the wonderful hospitality in the people sharing what they had; and working with two Malawi men.
There are two pictures that are exceptionally vivid in my reflections: the first was near Lake Malawi of a 8-11 year old boy with a club foot. He literally walked on his ankle. As I looked into his eyes I sensed a deep sadness. We installed about four pumps in walking distance. He was at two or three of those well sites. Oh, how I wanted to reach out and help him. How I wish there was a way to surgically correct his foot so he could run, jump, and look forward to a more “normal” life.
The second picture was the beauty of forgiveness which I had never seen so graphically in a church before. A CCAP pastor had committed adultery some time past (I presume some years ago). He had repented of his deed. His wife had stayed with him. On a particular Sunday afternoon, there was a special worship service to re-instate him as a pastor. I sat on the platform with probably 8-10 pastors. The pastor to be re-instated was seated with his wife on chairs at the front of the center aisle. I watched their faces. Both were like stone, without evident emotion. As the service progressed, life seemed to gradually flow into their faces. There came the moment when the pastors in front went to the couple and greeted them as a repentant restored brother pastor in Christ and a faithful patient and enduring wife. The wife then went to sit with the other women in a special section and the restored pastor came and sat in the front with the other pastors. I thought this is the grace of Christ lived out. From my reflections in the U.S., when a pastor falls into such a transgression the person is defrocked without opportunity of repentance and restoration. We can learn grace anew through the Malawi Church.
I observed the integrity, diligence, and honesty of the MMM in ministering to the people in partnership with the church and village. I am thankful to be able to serve in this way with MMM. As I reflect on the whole experience, I believe I received much more than I gave.
-Rev. Paul Beran, MMM Volunteer