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Malawi
The Merry Family

Merry Mission Journal

April 19, 2005

Numbers

For those of you who like statistics, I thought you might enjoy hearing about our latest Sunday adventure via the numbers. So here goes…

  • 204 – the number of kilometers from Blantyre to Chiradzulu and back
  • 89 kilometers of unpaved road
  • 600 members in the Nsoni CCAP Church

  • 70% of members attend worship every week
  • 25% of members in the PC(USA) attend worship every week
  • 450 people crammed into the sanctuary
  • 350 the amount of people the sanctuary was designed to hold
  • 100+ children sat quietly in the front of the sanctuary until after the Time with Children, when they went out to Church School
  • 100+ children returned to sit in the aisle of the church after Church School was over

  • 75 of the people attending were in white and black Mvano uniforms

  • 18 Elders sat on the chancel
  • 7 sat in chairs
  • 11 sat on cement benches
  • 6 of the Elders were female
  • 13 windows in the sanctuary
  • 0 had glass or screens
  • 3 doors
  • 1.5 feet – the thickness of the Church walls
  • 17 wooden roof rafters
  • 1 roof constructed of iron sheets (galvanized tin)
  • 1 cement floor
  • 21 rows of cement benches

  • 4 rows were on a raised platform at the back of the sanctuary
  • 2 colors of paint, blue and white were on the walls
  • 1 pulpit was raised above the chancel
  • 1 lectern was used by elders for scripture reading and announcements
  • 4 liturgical colors (red, white, green and purple) of pulpit dressings were used to decorate the front of the church for the special Celebration of Worship
  • 1 vase of artificial flowers adorned the communion table
  • 20 times we were asked to bring greetings to Nsoni’s sister congregation, East Union Presbyterian Church outside of Pittsburgh
  • 8 choirs sang during worship
  • 2 – 45 the range of members in the choirs
  • 13 women were inducted into the Mvano by having their head coverings placed on by Dan and the head Mvano

  • 11 children were baptized by Dan

  • 3 babies screamed while they were being baptized
  • 2 mothers were nursing their infants right up until they were handed over to the pastor

  • 250+ communicant members partook of the Lord’s Supper
  • 3 trays of communion wine had to be refilled to serve everyone

  • 9 hymns were sung during the Celebration of Worship
  • 20 - the number of minutes Dan preached
  • 1 person from the Partnership Committee translated for him
  • 7 prayers were offered during the Celebration
  • 1763.50 Kwacha was offered to God and the work of the church
  • $15.74 is the amount in US dollars at the current exchange rate
  • 1 blessing of the offering was done by amaya abusa (me)
  • 2 weeks from now there will be a “Paper Sunday” to raise funds for the new, larger sanctuary

  • 4 hours were spent worshiping God during this Celebration
  • 90 degrees was the temperature inside the sanctuary
  • 1 bushel of corn kernels was presented to us to be ground into ufa flour
  • 36 eggs were given to us during worship
  • 1 live chicken was presented to us by the Mvano

  • 16 cassava roots,
  • 2 kilos of potatoes,
  • 8 beautifully ripe avocados,
  • 1 painting of oranges,
  • 2 six foot long bundles of sugar cane,
  • 1 kilo of fresh groundnuts (peanuts) in their shells was also given to us by this incredibly generous congregation
  • 1 vehicle (ours) was parked in the church “parking lot.”
  • 43 bikes were parked on the church porch
  • 106 people arrived on those bikes
  • 1 pastor serves the church
  • 5 other churches are his responsibility as well
  • 7 Prayer Houses are also under his jurisdiction
  • 1 pregnant pastor’s wife served us tea before the Celebration of Worship
  • 4 the number of children they already have, including a set of fraternal twins
  • 6 the number of kittens their cat has

  • 1 new church building is under construction

  • 1 CCAP primary school is adjacent to the church
  • 1300 pupils attend the school
  • 10 teachers are employed there
  • 170 pupils are the responsibility of the Standard 2 teacher (170 pupils are in one second grade classroom)

  • 1 outhouse sits behind the church
  • 1 member of the congregation used to represent Malawi at the United Nations in NYC, he is now a farmer in a nearby Village
  • 100% of the congregation rely on their gardens for food
  • 20 bags of maize were harvested from the pastor’s garden
  • 100% of the people reported that the drought has severely damaged their crops
  • 0% of homes in the region have running water or electricity
  • 2 chickens sacrificed their lives for our lunch at the manse
  • 5 Mvano prepared the meal over charcoal fires

  • 2 kinds of cabbage “relish” were served
  • 4 formal speeches were given after lunch, before we could head back to Blantyre
  • 1 funeral forced the pastor to skip lunch
  • 1 large herd of cattle blocked the road out of Chiradzulu on our way home for about 20 minutes

  • 1 huge funeral procession blocked the main Bangwe road on our journey home for half an hour

  • 99% of the congregation (remember the three crying babies) joyfully worshiped God with us at Nsoni CCAP Church today.
  • 16 people had very big grins when we shared our wonderful gifts with friends and neighbors.

Beth Merry



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