Joyce Heath, 2002 Volunteer

Joyce Heath, 2002 Volunteer

Just an update on my recent trip to Malawi, Africa as part of Marion Medical Mission Team 1. Each of my three trips to Malawi have been very different, filled with many blessings. This trip began differently in that my decision to go was very late, mid-July. I had no idea why I was going or what I would be doing. Similarly, I am having a more difficult time finding a way to describe my mission trip 2002. I spent very little time in Embangweni this year and only visited the hospital as a tour guide for new comers and to greet old friends. I spent the first week in Mzuzu with the family of Jim and Jodi McGill, fraternal workers for my church. I was working on a project for Jodi who serves as health coordinator for the Synod of Livingstonia. I did research, organization and word processing of an educational packet to be distributed to all 750 congregations in the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian in preparation for World AIDS Day 2002. The purpose of the packet was to encourage the CCAP to become a more loving and compassionate body of Christ and introduce a new Home Based Care Program, similar to hospice care here, to be established in some presbyteries in Malawi.

My second week was spent working in and out of Embangweni. We worked with Embangweni Full Primary School to help put finishing touches on the new library/administration building in preparation for its dedication celebration which was a great event held on October 11. I also did teacher workshops for Embangweni and Chizimya Full Primary Schools, teaching about First-Aid and preparing first-aid kits for each classroom. We also discussed fire and electrical safety and HIV/AIDS prevention. During the week I finished sorting and distributing the medical, school and other supplies in the sixteen footlockers I had prepared and taken with me. I also played hostess to many friends who came to the guesthouse for a visit and reversed that role as we attended dinner and tea in the homes of missionaries, teachers, pastors and shallow-well field officers.

During my final week in Malawi, I went north to Kapora, Karonga and on up near the Tanzania border in the Misuku Hills. I spent two days visiting with Rev. Alan Mwale and his family in a small village in the mountains. The mission committee from our church has encouraged Rev. Mwale and his congregations for the past four years. What a wonderful blessing – such a beautiful, peaceful place to visit! I was treated like a queen being fed 5 times and had three baths in 20 hours; there were visits by congregational representatives and the village chief, a tour of the area and the projects that the Ighughu CCAP has underway. The two congregations which Rev. Mwale serves covers a large geographic area and consists of sixteen prayer houses. The Ighughu CCAP began just seven years ago. During the past two years, they have built the new manse where I stayed, a new Women’s Guild House, have under construction a new Men’s Guild House and Youth House. In addition, they have helped build a school block and have a second under construction. They have been digging for several months, trying to clear a spot for the foundation of a new church building. They have also planted 500 small trees, and are digging a channel from the village up into the mountains in hopes of getting help to create a safe water source for their village. Keep in mind that the only way to get anywhere in those mountains is primarily on foot. They had to hire a driver to pick me up, about an hour away, and return me there the following day.

Other highlights of my trip included two days out installing shallow-well; we had 130 of the planned 400+ new well installed before we left. When Team 2 arrived home November 13, 429 wells had been installed, providing an additional 100, 000 people with safe water. Shallow well installations will continue until the rainy season arrives. I helped with a worship service at Viyele CCAP, the church which Rev. Kingsly Nyirenda pastors, attended a revival with the Mziza CCAP congregation, and worshiped at the Capital City Baptist Church in Lilongwe. We visited the Embangweni School for Hearing Impaired Children, Kamsolo Construction Project (refurbishing teachers houses), another primary school in the mountains of Msembe, Robert Laws Secondary School and a visit to a new Community Based Orphan Care Project on its first day of operation. As you can probably guess, we were very busy, worked hard and had a great time. Our lives were touched with so many blessings, it is hard to recount them all; but as always, we were truly blessed by the warm and generous hospitality shown to us by the wonderful people of Malawi.