Rich Keller, 2001 Volunteer

Rich Keller, 2001 Volunteer

We have returned safely from our mission trip to Malawi, Africa. In a word, I can tell you our trip was truly “Blessed”. Tamra and I traveled with the Marion Medical Mission Shallow Wells team to install well pumps for remote villages in Malawi.

The Malawi people are truly the “warm heart of Africa”. Everywhere we went we were greeted with warm smiles, friendly greetings, and thankful hearts. In the six weeks that the two MMM teams worked in Malawi this year, through the Grace of God, we completed almost 400 shallow well installations. The net affect of this work is that almost 100,000 more people now have safe, clean drinking water in their villages and thousands of their children will now be spared from cholera, typhoid or other water borne diseases.

The work was much more intense than I expected. Our typical workday consisted of 10-12 hours of 4-wheel, off-road driving to get pumps, pipe, cement and other materials to participating remote villages. Our team members worked independently with local shallow wells maintenance crews installing wells in almost 20 regional areas of northern Malawi. The ruts, potholes, and washboard roads (if you can call them that, usually foot paths at best) were brutal on the body from all the bouncing and shaking in the vehicles. We typically started each day around 5:00 AM and fell into bed exhausted around 8:00PM each night.

As we completed each well installation, we dedicated the well in prayer to the glory of God. The villagers were taught the proper care and operation of the simple, bicycle-pump style pump. We also explained the local maintenance crew infrastructure and the villagers’ responsibilities in maintaining the well and the program. Since each village had prepared all the local construction materials, hand-dug their wells up to 20 feet deep and provided all the unskilled labor, it was gratifying to see their total buy-in to the program.

The weather was very hot and dry, reaching almost 100 degrees daily. With no electricity for miles, the thing I missed most was ICE, — a cool drink to quench the thirst. The Lord provided safety, reassurance, and grace wherever we went. No one on our teams had any serious accidents or illnesses. From the simplest things, like a bit of cloud cover on an especially hot day, to divine intervention when we locked our keys in the truck one day and were miraculously rescued, we continually felt His presence with us. Truly, through your prayers and intercession, we and His people in the villages we visited were bountifully blessed, as He always promises to do.

Tamra and I are grateful for the opportunity to have gone on this mission and we pray that through this experience, we will come to discern how the Lord will have us serve Him next.