December 16, 2004
It just so happens that one of the Malawian women that I have become friends with since we arrived here in Malawi is named “Grace.”I got to know her because she also helps out in Ndirande each Tuesday afternoon. Her English is excellent, and so she translates for us. This is an invaluable service.
Grace is a very gracious woman. She smiles constantly, is always willing to help, constantly volunteers to do things and I have never heard her complain. She lives on the Synod compound in a house that is surrounded by beautiful plants and trees. I told her one day that she had a green thumb. She looked at her thumb and I realized that she had never heard that expression before, so I explained it to her. She liked the compliment.
She attends St. Michael’s and All Angels CCAP and is very active in the life of the church as well. She is the type of person that lives her faith. Her actions speak volumes about her Christian commitment. She is always visiting a sick church member, or helping with the Mvano (Women’s Guild). But she is not afraid to talk about her faith. At the Ndirande sessions, she often reads the Scripture passages or shares a “sermonette”with the attendees.
When I was talking about our Thanksgiving turkey one day with some European missionaries, Grace said, “I have never tasted turkey.”So I said, then you must come to my house for Thanksgiving! She did.
I think that she enjoyed the meal, but we enjoyed her company even more.She made us laugh, and enlightened us about Malawian customs, and even pitched in to help with the dishes.
Then last week an English missionary told me about Grace’s husband. He was a CCAP minister. Since all the ministers live in manses that are provided by the CCAP, Grace and her husband had saved up funds and last year they were building a small house for their retirement. They had hired a guard to watch the building materials when they were not there, but bricks and tin sheets were disappearing. They thought that the guard might be stealing them. When her husband went to confront him about the theft, the guard brutally murdered him and fled to Mozambique to escape prosecution. Grace’s sons went to see why their father had not returned and found their father’s body in a drainage ditch.
The missionary told me that she had never seen such a big funeral. Mourners were camped out all over Grace’s yard for days. Now when I look at Grace, I do see the sadness in her eyes, and she occasionally will wistfully say, “My husband only liked fresh chambo (fish). He was very picky about that.”Os she will say, “My husband took very good care of me three years ago when I had surgery. He made sure that I rested properly.”
Grace is one of the many blessings that I have received since we came to Malawi. Her beautiful smile and inner peace are an inspiration to me.