August 1, 2004
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
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.
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.
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!
Peace and Blessings,