September 2015 Sarah Masson Update
There was a horrible disaster in Malawi this year. A flood wiped out several villages, entire buildings, houses; metal bridges were literally washed away. Babies drowned on the backs of mother’s who were trying to save them. There was nothing left for thousands of people in Malawi. A desperate situation for many became a nightmare. Little children couldn’t find their parents. People were trapped on ant hills and grasping to tiny trees praying that they could hold on tight. Gardens all throughout the country were stripped of years of toiling the land. People lost all they had, and their way of earning a living in 2 days.
Malawians that were affected by these floods are rebuilding their lives from nothing. They are resilient and they believe in a God of hope. They have hope. They have literally nothing but they are relying on God to provide for them more than ever before. It could be said that some families survived the hunger season that they might have died in because they were getting food provided at the camps and although many were getting healthcare directly from flood related diseases, others were getting free healthcare that they may not ever have received otherwise.
At the base, we have hosted NGOs well into the new year as they kept the water safe in the biggest refugee camp in Malawi. They warded off a major cholera outbreak in this particular camp. If we had not provided housing for these fellow relief workers they might not have been able to stay as long as they did. In fact, we have had an increase in all different kinds of visitors. We have had a range of guests from Engineers, Environmental specialists, Russian Helicopter Pilots, Welders, Builders, Evangelists, Pastors, Doctors, Surgeons, Nurses and more! Bangula has likely never had so many international guests at one point in history.
During the flooding and after, the refugees have been living in donated tents in the camps. My youth group kids who live at Iris Ministries Malawi approached me asking if we could run kids programs in the camps for the kids who are so bored there. They were excited to share what they have learned at youth nights, so we engaged the kids of the camps by just showing up a couple of afternoons a week to introduce games afternoons. It became so popular that the women in the camps also wanted their own games day. This led to weekly netball and football games. It has been a great time of excitement teaching and bringing people together by the simplest of games. The house parents at Iris are incredible people as they instigated hosting these games and keeping them going after the floods.
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 a 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.