Bekah Ochs - July 2018
Hello friends and family! Wow what an adventure filled past two weeks it has been. In Rwanda we partnered with an amazing family who are helping give back dignity to farmers by teaching them the importance of what they do. Many think that because they do not have the education to become pastors that they have nothing to contribute to their community. But what an important part they play! Matthew & Karli don't teach them ways to farm or tell them what will grow best. They train the farmers to experiment with their own land and see what produces the best. They equip them with biblical knowledge of how God views them as farmers and the amazing ways they are able to benefit their community.
In Malawi we spent the week with a sweet Malawian family. They introduced us to beautiful Malawi on the first day by pulling off the side of the road and offering to buy us roasted field mice on a stick...we politely declined! It was a running joke for the rest of the week, and I will admit I had come to terms with the fact that we would probably eat them before we left. Unfortunately, we did not get those bragging rights before leaving Malawi. We did, however, get to view three of the amazing ministries God has called the Banda family to, which included church planting, a feeding program, and the Elizabeth Hope Center. The Hope center was very impactful, as they provide a safe place for girls to board while attending a nearby school. In addition to offering safety, the center offers a structured schedule that encourages the girls in their studies and their devotions.
One thing that really impacted me during our week in Malawi was visiting a church in the remote village of Mangochi. The bumpy dirt road seemed to stretch on for miles and miles. Villages came and went. Houses grew more and more scarce as we traveled farther out into the bush. We crossed dry creek beds, the car dipping down low into places where the road seemed to have forgotten the feel of a car. Finally we turned off the dirt road and stopped next to a small dirt hut. I’m ashamed to admit the church in its entirety would fit in my garage. Yet the size did not stop the believers who called that church home. They greeted us with big smiles and soaring voices, welcoming us in for a Thursday afternoon service they had called specifically that we might experience worship with them. The small church filled quickly as people gathered inside and took their seat. My humility increased even more as we sat on small wooden chairs, then realizing we were some of the few who had the blessing of sitting on a chair. The rest of the congregation sat on tarps or on the dirt floor.
I couldn't help but think of the uproar that surely would happen if people in Western countries had to sit on the floor every Sunday to hear the word of God preached. Yet as that thought crossed my head, I must admit I was thanking the Lord that I was blessed with a chair. How sinful my own thoughts and desires are.
As the service stretched on, choir after choir stood to raise their voices in worship to our Creator. I couldn’t understand one word of what they were saying, but their joy did not need a translation. Worshipping in Africa is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I don’t always know the words or the songs, but those few moments of unhindered praising gives me a glimpse of what Heaven looks like. I have full confidence that when that day comes I’ll be able to understand what is being said when in Heaven. But the mixture of voices, languages, nations, and people represented will be the same. Oh how I look forward to that day when I am able to be reunited with our brothers and sisters from Malawi and sing alongside of them to worship our Creator and Savior.
My team and I made it safely back to Florida Sunday evening after a long two days of traveling. Now that the jet lag has finally started to wear off, we've begun the process of putting together all the material we collected while traveling.
Thank you for all your prayers!