From Carol Nussbaumer in Estes –
Once again, Greetings to our Church family!
We are safely back in Estes – past the jet lag — Jim has suggested I write one last note to give you the final taste of “missionary life in Malawi”.
Life in Malawi is unpredictable, at best, and so was our final week there. After the weekend “out” at Mzuzu I returned to Embangweni and Jim went back to Mzuzu. Another group from the US was at the guest house, led by a long-time supporter of Embangweni area who was on his final visit. At 85 years and in failing health he probably should not have come but it was so important to him. Unfortunately he became very ill and was transported to Mzuzu and admitted to the hospital there. For those of us who know, that says volumes about how ill he was. Mzungu DO NOT go to Malawi hospitals except when they are literally at death’s door. Bob was able to return to Embangweni but we all worried about him a lot. There still was no running water and power was pretty spotty. By this time I had pretty much given up on guest house food and was managing with a supply of cheese-and-crackers or tuna, raisins and some hoarded M&Ms. But it was the last week and you can manage anything for a week.
School was going well and we were keeping the garden going despite the chickens. The American group came in on Monday from a visit to some outlying churches with 4 goats, which they took down to the school for deaf. Great rejoicing!! Mr. Mondwe almost in tears as he explained the menu says Friday dinner is rice and meat and he’d had no idea where he was going to find meat.
Tuesday morning I went down to school chapel accompanied by a couple from the USA group. We met outside as another group had rented our chapel for meetings for the week. I thought it a bit odd but nice when one of the teachers handed me a Bible; a couple of minutes later it dawned on me that Tuesday is my day to lead chapel and bring the message! Hoo, boy! I had about 5 minutes while the girls’ choir sang (signed) to run through good ol’ Psalm 23 and come up with something to talk about. It was fun to sit in on the visiting woman’s Bible story presentation, especially when she opened it for questions in Class 9 and got “Why do we give offerings? Where does it go?” Good question!
A taste of what my teaching is like: I was asked to be in Class 9 and do English parts of speech. Now that can be pretty dry, I think. So I grabbed a Kindle and on the board wrote the opening description of the old sailor in Treasure Island. It is crammed with all kinds of descriptive speech! So we found verbs, nouns, prepositions, conjunctions and the like, underlining them with different colored chalk. How the learners love catching a friend identifying something incorrectly! Toward the end they were just about climbing the walls to answer.
I had a chance to visit the new plot of land the school is clearing in order to plant maize. Several acres in area – covered with trees and brush – the big boys are down there after school with axes cutting, dragging wood to the storage pile so the ox-cart can carry it to the kitchen. This is one more step toward self-sufficiency!
The last day was a good-bye celebration. Again outside under the mango trees, we gathered and the learners provided entertainment: traditional dancing by boys and girls (Mr. Mondwe couldn’t stand it and had to join in); the handbells played; chancel drama (the Good Samaritan), speeches, a fashion show and a finger-spelling competition; giving of gifts and prayer. We adjourned to the staff room with teachers and support staff and had a final coke and chat. It is very, very special to be so completely accepted and loved.
Jim & I joined some friends for a week of R&R at South Luangwa National Park which is about 6 hours from Lilongwe in Zambia. It has wonderful game viewing, including elephant, lion, zebra, giraffe, leopard, hyena, hippo, crocodile, buffalo, to name a few. We will share pictures at some point.
The trip home was typical: long and with enough glitches to keep us amused. The first leg is a short flight from Lilongwe to Blantyre, Malawi, to pick up passengers and then on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bad weather at Blantyre meant we had to return to Lilongwe, re-fuel and try again. The window to transfer at Addis was closing rapidly! We got to Addis with just enough time to clear security and get in line as boarding had already begun. Landing in Washington our big concern was “did the luggage make it?” Yes, it did. Now we can relax and go on to Denver and home! Thank you for arranging the elk herd to greet us at Lake Estes!
And so it ended! Thanks everyone for your prayer support and for your interest in these rather rambling notes. You do not know how much comfort it brings to be able to communicate to those back home. Yes, Malawi is our second home. We have many friends there, many good times, have made many memories and feel so grateful to have been Called to this service. But it is still a foreign place and things can be difficult; knowing there are listening ears out there make it easier.
Tawonga chomeni! Ucindami kwa Chiuta!
Carol & Jim
Café Justo (Just Coffee), the organic shade-grown coffee we sell at PCCR, is grown in the state of Chiapas – the poorest and the southernmost of México’s 31 states – at the border with Guatemala and Belize. The coffee comes from an agricultural cooperative in a region of Chiapas called Salvador Urbina.
Near midnight on September 7 of this year, the strongest earthquake to hit México in more than a century struck in the Gulf of Tehuantepec in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Chiapas. This was NOT the earthquake that caused major damages to México City and to many cities and towns in the state of Morelos, located south of the Federal District. That one, on September 19, registered at 7.1 on the Richter scale and has received the most news coverage from U.S. media.
But this one was stronger, at a magnitude of 8.1, the most intense earthquake recorded anywhere in the world so far this year. This one did cause buildings in México City to tremble, although most major damages were in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. It also generated a tsunami and triggered tsunami warnings from northern México to the entire Pacific coast of Central America, extending south to Ecuador.
Within Chiapas, an estimated 1.5 million people were affected by this earthquake, with 41,000 homes damaged. The Mexican ministry of agriculture reported that at least 98 people died in this earthquake, including 78 in Oaxaca, 16 in Chiapas and 4 in the state of Tabasco. A state of emergency was declared for 122 municipalities in Chiapas, and the Mexican Army was deployed to aid in disaster relief. Schools were closed in eleven states for safety inspections.
How did the September 7 earthquake affect the coffee growers of Café Justo (Just Coffee) in Salvador Urbina? The following was posted on Sept. 8, the day after the earthquake struck, on Café Justo’s Facebook page: “As many of you know there was a major earthquake in México last night, and many of the most southern states (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco) are located next to the epicenter of it. But we are happy to inform that nobody is hurt, the families in the coffee communities are safe, and only very minor damages to the structure of some buildings is reported. We are grateful for all the expressions of concern and prayers for our sisters and brothers in México. We have been in close communication with Don Lupe Morales, the president of the coffee cooperative, and he reports that while they felt lots of movement, there has been no injury to persons or major damage to property in the coffee farming communities of Café Justo.”
Let us remain in prayer for all those impacted by disasters, whether natural or human-caused, and pray for wisdom and courage that we may respond in life-giving ways. And we encourage you to purchase Café Justo at PCCR on Sunday, November 19, before or after the 10:00 a.m. worship service.
Please contact the Sunshine Committee if you or someone you know is experiencing a few clouds in their life. They would be happy to supply meals, rides, or just company to our PCCR family. Call Catherine Moon at 281-309-8176 or Tami Scace at 860-912-5345.
The Journeys Class meets Sunday mornings in the church library. They gather at 8:15 AM and begin the class at 8:30. The class strives to create an environment where participants can interact with one another in exploring what’s next for Christianity. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Available to borrow or keep: CD recording and pictures of Larry Gillum’s Organ Demonstration and Recital on July 23, 2017. Stop by the church office if you are interested.