In Malawi the average annual income for a household is just $730. That's less than $2 a day. Think about it! You can't buy a kid's meal at McDonalds for under $2. Your morning coffee probably costs more than this.
As we have been preparing to make our journey, there have been a few times when good, loving folks have said, "We have starving people in the United States to feed. Why would you go around the world to another country when there is work to be done here?" It's a valid question to be sure, however, as the Church of Christ we are called to go to the ends of the earth to serve God's people. We DO feed the hungry in our neighborhoods and cities. We DO help the homeless and downtrodden right at home. But that's not to say that our mission in Christ is to stay right where we are. The Great Commission calls us to make disciples of ALL nations. So we go and make relationships so that we can gain the trust necessary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. One mission does not preclude another.
One thing that I will most likely be called to do as we set foot in Malawi is to preach in worship. I've asked myself, "What in the world could I possibly have to say to these people who live such joyful lives?" My first thoughts have been that I have no right to speak about faith in Christ as my life is incredibly blessed with enough food, a home, beautiful healthy children, and more. But then it hit me. There is something that I preach about quite often in the parish where I serve as pastor. It has to do with the barrier of faith called affluence. We, in this country, are in desperate need of a relationship with our God. We put way too much emphasis on all the stuff we can and do acquire. It's sad really. In this way, the people of Malawi have something precious that we don't have-- true faith in the midst of hardship. We rely on the consistency of our paychecks, the dependability of our government to care for us when we are in need, and the goodwill of our neighbors who are also affluent and can come to our aid if necessary. The people of Malawi have none of that. They are totally dependent upon the goodness of God. Therein lies an incredible spiritual gift. I am in no way saying that there circumstances are ideal! Simply that we lack the joy that comes from total dependence on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because we have so much "stuff" to occupy our minds, bodies, and hearts.
So, then, something to think about. How do you rely on Christ and give God the glory even in times when you are struggling?
Tidzaonana. (See you again!)
Abusa Amy (Pastor Amy)