June 2016 Sarah Masson Update
I arrived home to Malawi from a longer rest in Canada and hit the ground running. It feels like it’s been non-stop. I slept one day this week from 9am until 2pm. Please continue to pray for rest and time to re-charge amongst the demands of each day.
In January 2015 there was a horrific flood that killed many people, displaced thousands for 5 months and left several more homeless with nothing. Thousands of kilometers of land were stripped bare, making it impossible to reap any harvest in the last 18 months since the disaster. This year there has been a horrible drought. No joke - flood to drought means that the people in this southern district of Malawi will not be planting (therefore not eating) for another year or more depending on this coming January and rainy season. Many have not been able to repair the damage of their fields as of ye,t and those small few that have are now dealing with LOCUSTS! What? Yes, you heard me, now locusts are eating all the few crops that were able to grow this year. What is going on? Haven’t these people suffered enough? They truly are suffering and not many are able to help or see what’s happening here. We are yet another minor headline in the world news and people are assisting so many places around the world with terror threats and all else that’s been happening in the world. It makes one wonder how is someone like a sweet gardener (famer) on the base going to make it? He recently took two weeks of holiday to prepare his land for planting since the flood last year, he has had no harvest. He went to plant and he got chicken pox and malaria at the same time! What? Yes, so he was unable again to plant his field! It really begs the question, how are people surviving? He believes wholeheartedly in our God and he believes that God will provide for him and his sweet chickenpox family. Please keep him in your prayers as he is one who stands out among the crowd as trying to make things better for his children’s future. The next generation will rise in Malawi as their parents have toiled and worked so desperately hard for their futures. Incredible people are these parents, they got hit and knocked down constantly back to nothing with no financial backing and then they rise continuously with hard work and all the time with a smile on their face.
When I arrived home in March after an extended furlough, there was a sweet reunion with the children and youth at Iris Malawi. It was good to have time away and then come back with a renewed focus and passion for my purpose here on the base. The youth have always been my primary calling here.
These have been a few of the highlights since March 2016 when I landed this year:
March - There was a women’s pastors group on the base. One of the house moms felt it would nice if we served them by washing their feet and then painting their nails. It seemed like many had never been served like that before, as they do much of the serving.
I also arrived back to the news that this sweet baby with Cerebral Palsy had died out in the village. Her family got sent out of their home and had to build a small little mud house to have shelter.
Easter Weekend - There’s always a special service off base at Commissioner’s Ali’s conference grounds.
April - I assisted the gogo (grandmother) of two of our iris children to the hospital. We have been visiting her for about 4 years on their holidays so they can know their extended family members. We would love on her and take her out for some chips (fries). A woman who supported her other family until the end. She worked hard selling items in the market and had a great community of friends there. Sadly, we found her last august with a mass on her neck and this past April, she passed away from cancer and complications. There were no pain meds available in the public hospital, extraordinary costs for the regular joe and impossible for the most vulnerable to be able to pay the fees especially when Doctors aren’t getting paid and ask patients to pay for their services. A frustrating experience as the hospital delayed and delayed operating until it was too dangerous to operate. She told us she had been so blessed by my kindness and that she now believes in Heaven and Jesus. The day she passed away she told her family in the village that she was going to have a shower then go see Jesus. They laughed at first because they thought she was joking but she knew she was about to die and see her sweet Jesus, she went to sleep that day in a small dusty mud hut and went to see her new friend Jesus. She is one that I’ll never forget and I know that if I hadn’t been here she would never have made it to the hospital for any relief or assistance.
May - Youth Bible studies on Identity - I’ve been guiding the youth through knowing their identity as Romans 12 says we are all adopted sons and daughters of God and once you know your identity as a son or daughter of the greatest Kingdom then you can have immeasurable faith. June - I preached on “God made the details”.
I continue to spend time with the youth to build solid relationships. Every Friday night we play indoor and outdoor games together, listen to worship music and pray, dance to their favourite songs or watch an educational or inspirational movie. During the week, I spend quality time with a few of the kids. I also make an effort to visit the girl’s homes in the evenings to relieve the house mothers but more so to connect with the girls by doing homework or answering their questions about life and God. They usually ask me to read them a book, sing them to sleep and pray for them. These are the most special times for me. I often say that I do a job on the base just so I can be where God has asked me to be and that’s with the youth and children at Iris Malawi.