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Malawi
The Merry Family

Merry Mission Journal

August 1, 2004

Departure

Well, today is the day we have been waiting for, preparing for and praying for. Today we leave for Africa. It’s 5 a.m. and I find that I can’t sleep anymore. (however, no one else in the family seems to be having that problem!)

Our bags are all packed. Numerous people have asked me, “What are you taking with you?” Well, we are taking 700 lbs. of stuff which we have deemed essential for the year. We are taking clothes for both summer and winter. It is cold (40 degrees) in Malawi right now, but I am told that by Christmas time it will be in the 90’s every day. We are also taking household supplies such as sheets, pillows, pots, pans, kitchen utensils and a few spices (such as taco seasoning) which are unavailable there.

The girls have gathered school supplies – paper, notebooks, pens and pencils, calculators and textbooks. Although they will be getting an excellent education at St. Andrew’s, their teachers have recommended that they read some American Literature while they are gone, so we have copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby, etc. with us.

We have also put a year’s supply of vitamins, shampoo and dental floss in our boxes and bags. We have candles, flashlights, a really good first aid kit and rechargeable batteries. Brooke even packed her telescope, which she plans to donate to a CCAP school when we leave. Most of what we are taking will be left in Malawi.
Oh yes, I have four cameras packed. Dan thinks this is too many, but I love to take pictures and want to chronicle the trip. As soon as we get internet access, you will see pictures posted here on the website.

What will our trip be like? We leave Pittsburgh at 6:40 p.m. today and fly to Chicago (aren’t we supposed to be flying East??) Then we board a jet to London. We decided to break up the trip a bit with an overnight in London. (We will be spending a total of 29 hrs. in the air.) We hope to do a bit of quick sightseeing there. Then on Monday, in the evening, we fly 19 hrs. to Johannesburg, South Africa. After a short stop, we catch our plane to Blantyre. We have been told that there will be CCAP members there to greet us no matter what time we arrive in Malawi. I think that we will be glad to get there, to say the least!

Have we forgotten anything that we should be taking with us? Probably, but we are confident that we will be able to get along without it. We have tried to prepare for everything.
Several people have asked me, “What happens if you don’t like it when you get there?” I tell them that ever since our family was asked to participate in this part of the Partnership, we have known that it was the Lord’s will for us. When the Lord tugs on your heart and calls you, it is easy to obey. Do we have apprehensions? Absolutely! But we are at peace, and confident that the Lord has exciting things in store for us. We are eager to go. The beautiful Commissioning service held at Bethany Presbyterian Church on July 18th, was the icing on the cake for us. It was probably the most meaningful and spirit filled worship service that I have ever experienced.

Will it be hard to say goodbye to our friends and family? That is probably the toughest part of this undertaking. Brooke cried last night when she and Dan dropped off our dog, Cookie at her caretaker’s home. Heather gets tears in her eyes each time she says goodbye to a friend. The staff at Pittsburgh gave Dan a warm sendoff. My family has had an extremely rough year. My youngest sister, (41) Martha, who spent 18 years on the Mission field, died suddenly of a blood clot in February. My sister Debbie has been fighting cancer since last September. It is very hard to leave loved ones who are going through tough times – or even happy ones. Dan’s brother and his wife will be having a little girl in Dec. while we are away. However, the Lord provides strength and encouragement when it is needed.
Will there be tears at the Airport today? Of course. But we are eager to begin our “Merry Mission to Malawi.” We know that this is what we are supposed to be doing, and we thank all of you for making it possible.

We are not sure exactly what we will find when we get to Africa. We don’t know what activities the Synod of Blantyre has in store for us on a daily basis, but we can’t wait to find out. We will tell you all about it as we experience it together!
Thank you again for your support and your prayers. As soon as we get internet access there, you will hear from us again.

Peace and Blessings,
Beth Merry




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