This was my first trip with Marion Medical Mission. I will tell you about the good, bad, and ugly of this trip.
In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says: “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”
First – the bad: travel. It took 22 hours from Washington DC., until I arrived in Malawi. The return trip was worse at 28 hours to get back to Washington DC.
What about the ugly? – Driving and awful appearing open water sources. Driving on the back roads was like being bounced about as if you were on Disney’s space mountain, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. Most of the roads are dirt, with a washboard effect and lots of potholes. Then we drove on small paths, with washed out areas, through fields, and even nonexistent roads. After driving, we would walk to the well, often passing open water pits. These sources of water were dirty and covered with a scum. The animals also used that water. One of the water holes had a dead frog in it. Did that frog die because of the polluted water? We also walked by open deeper wells, where the water didn’t look a lot better. Unfortunately, the villagers had no choice.
And the good – clean water!
We would reach a well ready for pump instillation. The top of the well had “Ucindami Kwa Chiuta – Glory to God” inscribed on it. As the pump was being installed, adults & children gathered about. Women would occasionally sing in beautiful harmony & dance about. After a few pulls of the finished pump, clean water pours out. Words cannot describe the feeling you get each & every time you see this! There would then be a ceremony, in which the villagers were told that a Christian in the United States donated money to provide clean water for them. They cheered and clapped when told that they now own the well. The villagers were very grateful, and would tell us that they no longer have to share the water with the animals, walk as far to get water, and even have clean water that won’t cause illnesses. We were blessed with gifts of live chickens, peanuts, freshly cut bananas, etc.
The villagers were universally thankful for what Marion Mission accomplished at each well. In addition, it was wonderful to make the children (& adults) laugh and giggle. All I had to do was to take their picture and show it to them.
We attended church on two Sundays. The first one was a combined four church outdoor service, which lasted over two hours. Choirs sang beautiful harmonic music. The message was briefly translated for us, and focused on praying for our needs (and not our wants). The next Sunday service was in English. Visitors were asked to come to the front of the church and introduce themselves. We were welcomed as Marion Medical Mission workers. The message that day focused on Jesus being the light of the world, and whoever follows Him will not be in darkness!
My partner and I were assigned to Zambia, where we worked in Lundazi and Chipata. We completed over 100 wells. This work alone will supply clean and safe water for thousands of people!
I was awed by how well Marion Medical Mission was organized. Workers who accompanied us worked tirelessly. Trucks had to be loaded in the morning, and emptied in the evening. They efficiently installed the pumps, and interpreted for us.
Jesus has commanded us to: “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” If we give people clean & safe water, we are also showing our love for them, & giving them God’s living water.