March 2012 Sarah Masson Update

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I ended up at Majete Game Park for a stay over.  I did not think I would be back there anytime soon after the loss of a great friend Daryl Martin earlier in 2011.  Our God works in mysterious ways, as it was the only place for us to stay over the night after getting Caitlin’s passport stamped.

We checked in, had dinner and we were getting settled in our tent/cabin in the woods when something crawled over my foot.  I looked down to see a scorpion scurrying away.  This immediately gave me the heeebeeegeeebeees.  I ran into the room from the bathroom and Caitlin was asking what? What?  And I said, “I saw a scorpion”!!  It’s not every day that your friend says that, so Caitlin questioned me to make sure I was sure.  We crept back into the bathroom and sure enough there it was!  Unsure of what kind of danger we were in but knowing a scorpion isn’t the best thing to get bitten by we launched our flip flops from the bathroom door at the scorpion in hopes of killing it.

Our fear rose up and we tried to figure out how to kill it but we couldn’t without getting too close.  So we swallowed our pride and I changed out of my pajamas to go on a hunt for the night guard.  I went around yelling,  “Hello, hello”?  “Guard”? “We need help”...  From a distance, I saw a light coming out of the complete darkness towards me.  The only light, but it was so far away that I couldn’t tell if it was a vehicle or a person.  As the light got closer I realized it was in fact a man walking towards me.  At this point, I was really hoping this was the night guard!!  Hallelujah it was!  In my broken Chichewa and charades I explained “the manta”, “the fear” in our tent from the scorpion (insert charades here).  So I brought the guard back to our cabin, and he walked in and found the scorpion in the bathroom.  He just walked right up to it and stepped on it. It was over.  He just crushed it with his boot.  It seemed so simple that when it was all over Caitlin and I looked at each other and thought “oh we could have done that”.  The guard’s actions impacted me to think more about why I thought this was so easy to kill something so feared.  What came to mind was this; the guard crushed the scorpion just as God crushes our enemies.  It is easy for God.  We just need to ask Him, and He walks in and crushes them like little pesky bugs.

This is something that I had forgotten while being here.  Faith needs courage to step out and not fear being hurt, knowing that God has my back.  If I get ‘bitten’, God will handle it.  My life is in His hands.  My life is His, and there is no need to fear.  Worry is a waste of time, a distraction from what is happening now, in the present.

In the eyes of the world I have much to worry about.  But when leaning on my Father in Heaven, worry is small like that bug the guard crushed for us.  It’s not that there isn’t danger, because the scorpion is dangerous.  It’s that we have a Guard who will fight and do battle for us.  There’s nothing else that can calm the storms.  “Come to me, I’m all you need” – Jesus…

Living here in Malawi, people have said to me, “Wow, I didn’t think someone who grew up with affluence would be living where you are, doing what you do.”  I’m not sure what this comment means, but if I took a stab it I might translate it as, “Wow, I’m surprised that you had many opportunities but you decided to live in rural Africa for a few years.”  This person likely didn’t really know me, as he was just seeing the outside of where I have come from and not the heart of where I have come from.  My parents raised us (not meaning to but by being who they were) demonstrating how to give to people and how to help desperate people in need.  I marvel at how many people they have helped.  When my dad changed his life to follow Jesus, He forever changed the course of our family history.  My dad had the courage to break the chains from his past, to die to himself and rise each day with Christ leading his decision making.  The Lord blessed his business, as he was a faithful worker.  My dad has impacted families and communities around the world.  It goes without saying that my mother was part of many of these decisions.  She is the backbone of our family.  Somehow organizing us all and keeping track of every possible hiccup and working out solutions before things even happen!  There is much to a family unit and no matter what their worldly status, (though it may change the kinds of issues a family has) the essential things that hinder and/or encourage a family unit do not differ.  Love is essential.

To know that you are loved is so important.  I think it defines the success of an individual.  I have a heart like my dad; I love people and I hate seeing them suffer.

I know where I have come from after many years of denying my birth into an affluent family.  A wealth that was worked hard for, as my grandparents were all very poor.  I have come to an acceptance of loving where I have come from, just as much as I love the people that I work with.

To the world it doesn’t make sense.  I grew up in an affluent neighborhood and now I have chosen to live in a rural African neighborhood.  It doesn’t matter what the world thinks,  but that I live each day dying to myself and living for Christ.

There’s a battle from within... Is it really helping, me living here?
There’s confirmation from a God that brought up a little white girl from one of the wealthiest places in North America to live in a part of country that is forgotten even by those of this nationality.  It is knowing that none of these things matter at all; being rich or being poor, white or black.  What matters is being able to love.  Love transcends all things.  Love breaks stereotypes, classes, status clashes, racism.  All I’m called to do is to love people no matter where I am.

I don’t know if I still fit into Canadian culture.  And I’m not Malawian, thus I don’t fit into the culture here.  I am an outsider to both places in regards to culture.  I don’t think I will feel at home until I walk into the Gates at the end of my life.  Perhaps this is what is meant to be.  I feel at home when I’m with people that love me and I love them.

All I can figure is that I’m part of God’s kingdom and that’s the ‘culture’ that reigns over all.  It reigns over culture, time, place, status, race, and way of life.

There’s a cliché of moving to another country to ‘help’, but really what is it when we step back and learn from those who we are visiting.  Bringing God’s Kingdom way to people isn’t about bringing the North American way to people, but combining and living together not trying to change the other but to refine each other under God’s authority not under the authority of a culture.  What would happen if we accepted the cultural ways of each other equally both accepted under Christ?  It does happen.  It’s a beautiful tension that’s found when seek God’s Kingdom together.

As for the day to day:

Assistant of the director:  Producing reports for the ministry, administrative duties, website upkeep (  Producing reports requires my photography skills as well as my past marketing and word processing experience.

English Teacher and tutor:  Since October 2011 I have been teaching a beginner’s English class to the workers on base.  It is now gardening season and so we have taken a seasonal break from classes.  Since February 2011 I have been teaching an intermediate class to the Iris Bible School teachers. hen some students are on break from Secondary School they come and ask me for extra tutoring in English.

Friday Night Youth Group:  We invite all the kids on base 12-19 in age to the church building for a night of games, bible study, worship, dance competitions or a good old fashioned movie night.  We are always looking for new game ideas.

Language Lessons:  I’m finally taking Chichewa (the local language) lessons 3 times a week, so I’m hoping to speak it miraculously or by hard work.

Bed time and Homework chats:  I visit with our girls homes in the evening mostly to do just that - visit.  While there, I will help the girls with their homework or they help me with my Chichewa homework.
We have a great time chatting about life and all that entails.  We mostly laugh a lot.  I’ve been affectionately titled, ‘big sister’, a term that I hold dear to my heart.

Sleepovers sometimes:  I stay over at the girls houses or they come to stay with me in a tent or in my room.  We have great fun chatting, joking around, you know... girl stuff!

Painting for the Kingdom:  I do paint, although not recently as I have run low on painting supplies.  I have painted several ‘prophetic paintings’ for staff and parents around the base.  A few have been painted during the church services and they have been hung in the hall.  Once in a while I will spend time with some kids painting.

Spare minutes:  These extra minutes are spent with the Iris children and house parents.  Time is spent chatting or going on adventures together to places like the local market.