News from Africa Europe Area Director Bryce Whiting
A short-term team went to Africa in July to take teaching and medical care and to film the respective human-interest stories there.
When we arrived in Malawi, one of our first functions was to seek out and mourn with the family of deceased Conference President Samuel Sosono. He died just weeks earlier, as his vital organs reportedly shut down from the effects of sugar diabetes and high blood pressure. We found the village and the AC family of pastors still very much in pain. Tears were shed around his freshly dug grave as though they were falling for the first time. A conference president is more than an administrator to them. He is their bishop who cares for the churches.In essence, he is their father. “We feel like orphans” was a comment which brought nods from the rest of the pastors gathered there.
Since they needed a new reason to smile, our visit was heavenly timed. We had to try to put some smiles back on their faces. This family of God needed to see that they are part of a very large, caring family. It seemed significant that my topic for the week was the Father – Heart of God. Hopefully they would see the perfect love of God who loved us while we were still sinners. Pastor Ken Perkins (from Bear River, NS, Canada) was teaching on the book of Romans in hopes that they would gain a better understanding of his grace when we could not meet the demands of the law.
Dr. Cynthia Lee (from Dunn, N.C.) held a clinic wherein she treated more than 150 people. She took blood pressure readings, gave blood tests, asked and listened as patient after patient explained the various maladies they were suffering. She actually saved a few lives and treated many conditions. Her keen eye observed the overuse of the salt shaker at the dinner table and she followed with a lecture on more moderate use of salt. She produced a reading chart and brought smiles to the faces of dozens, as with the assistance of the reading glasses the bottom line became clear. New Bibles in the Chichewa language were handed out to glad pastors, some of whom were finally able to discern the print for the first time in years.
The ever-present crowd of children were attracted to these entertaining white faces. Rising to the occasion, John and Hannah Perkins (children of Ken and Darlene Perkins) taught and played with them. ACGC Director of Communication Justin Nash brought them running to him with smiles and excited expressions of laughter when he lifted his camera-equipped drone into the air and flew it from remote control.
We were well received. We started our visit with by crying together, but soon we were singing, dancing, laughing and playing together. We are family.