Monday, November 30, 2009

Hello from No Gas Land....

As time continues so does the days of our little lives. We have had no diesel in this country for about 3 weeks. Once in a while we get 2 or 3 gas stations that get it. Now there is no regular gas now. The above picture was 5 days ago - before the crisis was bad Today I saw about 200 hundred cars lining up to get gas with hundreds of people waiting at a couple of gas stations... It is mostly due to corruption here. Oh joy! We would really appreciate as we continue to serve here that God would teach us patience, be slow to speak and quick to listen, and love on people even without gas!

My parents came here the last 2 weeks and it was wonderful as you can see from the previous posts. They told me as they were here - that when they went home it would feel like a dream. I appreciated all your prayers! They are home now and closing their eyes and dreaming about it now.

Thank you again for loving, praying and being apart of our lives! Love all of us! The Stauffy family

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our trip to monkey bay...

Well now we have seen the elephant in Africa. We took a boat trip on the Shire (shy-re) river that runs out of Lake Malawi and saw some elephants, many hippos, an allegator, many birds, wild boars and more. Now a trip is complete...not quite...

This is our tour guide and the boat we had to ourselves. He was very helpful in showing us the many animals along the river. It was windy and rough waves at times but fun.
We arrived at a lovely lake home that we rented from someone Amy knew. These trees called sausage trees due to the long pods on them were amazing. I am sure they have a more proper name but they are a wonder.
This is the view looking out of the front of the home across Monkey Bay. We arrived right at dark the night before in a driving rain storm almost not finding our way. The next morning we were greeted by this great rainbow and no more rain. Just lovely.

This the front of the house that we stayed at. It was soooo peaceful and sooothing to the soul.
We had several families of monkeys that were interested in some bread we had to share. Notice the great tree in the back ground that decided to hug this huge rock.
They had a small pool by the house that was a great place for Nya and Analise to play.
This is one of the stunning Baboa trees that grow all over the landscape. This is especially big one and so amazing. That is Gary and I and the grand girls at the base of it.
We got home on fumes of petro because none is to be found in all of the least in any of the stations we stopped at. So the adventure to find enough gas to get us to the airport tomorrow will be interesting. This lack of petro seems to be an ongoing problem and makes life that much more challenging some days. Long lines are at all the gas stations. They have been out of disel since we have been here. Bob's truck runs on petro. Politics and poor money management by the govt seems to be the problem.
We are leaving warm balmy weather to return to early winter in Spokane, WA. Yikes...I guess we are ready now that we have seen the elephants. Barb

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our visit to Dowa

We are traveling to Dowa which a town and a region. We were going to a village in the Dowa district. Bob was going to preach at a church that was established in 1894 and the building built in 1951. It is apart of a Presbyterian group. They were happy to have a professor from African Bible College come and talk to them.
Here is the beginning of the dirt roads that we traveled for about an hour each way. This was the good part of it.
It turned into an amazing amusement park ride with all the thrills and chills...actually we were really sweating it. Bob did a great job driving and the angels did a great job keeping us on the road and upright.
Some of the fellow road travelers along the way, they were slow to move over.

This lady is like so many Malawian women that carry great loads on their heads. No wonder they have such great posture!!!
This the church where Bob preached and the pastor interpreted. It was a long service of 2 1/2 hours on wooden benches. The church had many choirs and the hall echoed amazingly. It sounded like the battle of the bands in heaven. It was very unique.

Gary got to greet the congregation and then pray. The pastor adopted Gary as his "gogo" grand parent. Very cute. Gray hair has some rewards in that people want you to be their "gogos"

Here is the group that traveled to Dowa with the pastor and his wife.

Here we are dancing at the village where Mwyli and his family live and that we ate our second lunch after the pastor fed us also. Bob is kicking it up and Mwyli is flying through the air.

This is our audience and the families in this small village. Many of the young men were off playing soccer.

If you think your kitchen needs a redo look at this one where our food came out of. We are praying that we will not have a Malawi stomach tomorrow.

Think a new counter top could be needed here?

It was an amazing day and the best ever for me... We are off to Lake Malawi for a few days, so no more up dates for a little while. Barb

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our Monthly Update

Another holiday season here in Malawi. The humidity and warm weather has increased along with the frogs with their mating calls ( I love that noise). The rains have begun and we are all getting excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

What a treat we have had over this last week to have my parents here at ABC with us. We have loved seeing life in Malawi through their eyes. We love sharing our friends with them and they have been really loved by them. They have been able teach classes and bible studies here at the campus and in the village. We have been able to keep them really busy here just on the campus. They are about 600 people in and around the campus and we have connected with more than half of them. We have really appreciated them sacrificing their time and money to come and love on us and many many more people here. They are so refreshing to have here.

We have only 4 more weeks of classes until Christmas. Amazing how time flies. Our ability to give and serve has been above and beyond what we had expected this year. Bob said to my dad just the other day that it is amazing here "every single day we have an opportunity to give out and change someones circumstances" That is why we are here to help, give, serve and love on people! Teaching has been our ability to get involved with people's lives.

Praises & Prayer Requests -
• We are so thankful for the amazing financial support of our supporters- even going through this "global financial crisis" we have see God provide through our churches, friends and family. Thank you for allowing us to be used here in Malawi!

• Please be praying for us as this country is in a fuel crisis. The lines around town are horrendous becauser there is no diesel. Soon there will be no petrol (regular gas) this next week. That means no gas - no car- no food.... It has big problems attached to that.... Please be praying...

• Please continue to pray for our time with our family. They have not only blessed us but they have blessed many other here in Malawi. Please pray that they would remain healthy and when they come back to the states that they would not have too much jet lag and they would be refreshed.

• Please continue to pray as we love people here in Malawi that they would grow deeper in their walks with Christ as we are daily challenged to.
Thank you for loving us, praying for us, providing for us as we serve here in Malawi. We would not be able to do what we do without you being behind us! Thank you so very much. Love- all of the Stauffacher family (Bob, Amy, Nya and Analise)

Outreach on Friday

This is the village we went to on Friday with four ABC students, one staff, and Bob and Amy and girls. There were approximately 100 to 125 homes in this village. It was off a very bumpy dirt (red in color) road that we had to dodge donkeys and goats. It is always a "thankyou Jesus" when we get some where in one piece and the truck is still intact.

The homes are all in various states of desrepair with pigs and goats wandering into the open doors.
This is one of a few old grandmas we saw. They would come and shake our hands and smile. We saw lots of children, some young girls (early teens with babies) and a few women in their twenties with children. I asked where the men were in the village and one of the students (Lewis) said they were probably in the fields planting or in town drinking. We saw very few middle ages men or women.

Analise gathered a group around her as she drew pictures in the dirt. Some times it was a little intimidating as the children wanted to touch her and if the group grew too large.

Nya was more comfortable with the children and their interest. These children loved having their pictures taken.
Here we are handing out some gum to the children (only 1/2 a piece) and we quickly ran out.
Amy and girls taught a bible song to the children using Dalitso as a translator. Then she told the story of creation letting the girls illustrate the different animals and then the children would imitate them. Amy and girls did sooo good and they had a good response from the children.

This is Annie, a junior at ABC, teaching a bible study on I Corinthians 13 to a group of women. She asked Amy and Barb to share a little also and then she translated for us. She said 4 women responded to the bible study to wanting to invite Christ into their lives. The women listened intently and would ocassionally ask a question. While we were with the women and children, Gary, Bob and Lewis went house to house and shared the gospel. Gary said they met the chief and his wife and they were very warm to them and told them they could use a certain building in the village next time they came. This was only the second time the students had come to this village. Four people invited Christ into their lives with Gary and his group. The students thought there was a good turn out due to white people coming into the village.
Gary dancing with some of the children.
We stayed about 1 1/2 hours at the village. It was a real eye opener to us to come into the sphere of these Malawians. What a challenge every day living is for them.

Here are some more pictures of sharing life here with my parents

Here is some pictures from the village outreach that we went out on. Weekly ABC students are doing dicipleship training with this village about 30 minutes from our house... We were able to go along. About 20 people commited their lives to God that day. We were able to share with them and really felt priviledged.

Here is my mom sharing with some of the ladies of the village. More came and about 12 women commited to following Jesus! They will be followed up with dicipleship with the college student Annie who is on the ground.
Nya is playing with the kids and an ABC student named Dalitso.

Analise had a regular following of kids as she drew pictures in the dirt...

This is my favorite picture of analise....

While we at dinner and talking about bugs al of sudden a big - we call them chop chop came under our table. All the women were on the chairs and the table was put upside down. It was killed and now here is a picture of it next to the malawian money and my finger... Enjoy that you don't have those there...

My mom wants to share her experince in the village so that will be the next post...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

going to market

This is one of thousands of small plots along the side of the road that are being worked by hand to be ready to plant with maize. They work so hard. It is beginning to rain more often now and it will be time to get the seed in the ground. They have to time it just right. we are at the fruit and vegetable market. Amy is bargaining for a better price for tomatoes. She prefers for Bob to do the bargaining because it is very exhausting to go back and forth about every item you purchase. The sellers are very pushy. When they would get to pushy or suggest a price that was way too high...Amy would just laugh. She handled it so well...I was a proud Mama. Don't these tomatoes look wonderful!!!

Rows and rows of fruits and vegetables all stacked and made beautiful so that some will buy. Lots of competition and pushy sellers.

We kept a tight hand on Nya and Analise due to the crowds and unfamiliar people. They seemed to be quite comfortable with the whole scene. Not like Gary and I who were nervous, because we are "Mzungus" (white people) and don't speak the language. Amy has many words in the language plus some speak a smattering of English. Most the time Gary and I have no idea what is being said. We would be lost without Bob and Amy.

This at a "suburban" home of a Malawian that is where a "tailor" lives. The white stuff on the mat is the end product of the corn they grow and it has been milled to flour but is wet so it needs to be dried. Lots of flies were helping it dry. Notice the little charcoal cooker on the cement that is used to cook the family's food.

This is the "tailor" that will make some clothes for Amy. Amy brought three ladies from the college to help explain to the tailor what it is that she wanted. Notice all the pictures on the walls of the possible styles of dress. He made them all without patterns. He took a few measurements and smiled alot. Amy felt satisfied with the end results.

Here we are all in the small space where the tailor works. He was in his mid to late 20's and earned a good wage for his family.

This is the market where we bought the cloth for Amy's projects. It was very dark in the area and the women were very pushy about their goods. Most of the sellers had the same patterns of fabric and it changes every day. All the fabric there was of the same quality.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Visitor's journey

Bob and Amy's lovely front patio where we have spent many hours. I am playing "Old Maid" with the girls and Bob and Gary are chatting.
Dennis the grounds worker made the beautiful floral garland around the door as a welcome to us. Analise and Nya have the cowgirl outfits Grandma made for them on. They have been wearing them for days now.

On the way to town. Many walking (always) and carry things on their heads. I took this from the car

Men selling plastic bags, belts and colorful striped socks, with a market area behind them.

Gary and Barb sharing to Bob's class on the commitment of marriage.

Gary enjoying the many students on the way to "Tea Time" at 10 in the morning. Nice little break time. We have been swamped with the many impressions and sensory overload of this new land. We have adjusted fairly well the the time change and the long trip. Yesterday there was several thunderstorms and heavy rains and today it is cooler, thank the Lord. It has been very warm and humid. We had a chance to share with a couple on staff concerning their marriage which was very rewarding. We are grateful for the warm welcome we have received and all the wonderful people we have met. Here on campus it is easy to forget all the challenges that are right outside the campus gates and just enjoy the peace and grace that is all around us on this oasis. Amy and Bob have created a lovely home and provided a gracious place for students and fellow staff to be encouraged and refreshed on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Almost here...

My Parents are coming in 3 days. It will be amazing to share life them here. I can't wait to pick them from the airport. I can't wait to see them soak it all in. The smells, the tastes, the people. It will so much fun. They are coming to see what we are doing here. What a treat to share it all with them. They gave up alot to come here and I appreciate it all so very much. We will sharing more as they come.
By the way can you believe it is already mid-November! I can't! I will update again sooner than later! Amy Louise