September 2, 2005
Early in our year in Malawi, we lost all of the music on Heather’s MP3 player due to accident and theft. Life without music is not much fun, and many people stepped forward to help us out. My college lab partner, Bob Bussy, who has two teenagers of his own, came to our rescue and sent us several CDs. He burned one that he labeled, “Bob’s favorites” with a magic marker. It was a selection of his favorite contemporary Christian hymns and praise songs. We put it in the CD player in our truck, and even when we obtained other music, it stayed there and we played it over and over again as we traveled through Malawi. I can’t tell you how many hours of enjoyment and inspiration we received from listening to that CD.
The only time we see Bob is at college reunions every five years. The only time we hear from him is at Christmas, when he regales us with humorous tales of his family’s activities over the past year, and yet when he heard of our predicament, he came to our rescue.
Over and over again throughout the year, we were bombarded with random and specific acts of kindness like Bob’s. At Christmas we received dozens of Christmas cards. The thing that amazed us, was that many of them were from people in churches in Pittsburgh that we did not even know. On our birthdays, we got cards from scores of people as well. It meant so much to know that even though we were half a world away, people were thinking of us.
Churches and individuals from our Presbytery sent us care packages periodically. We got boxes of macaroni and cheese, taco mix and Christmas decorations from perfect strangers. We were astounded. People were so thoughtful.
Dan and I gave up our salaries for the year, but churches gave generous donations to the Merry Mission to Malawi Fund, and those covered our living expenses for the year. Again, their generosity was amazing. My home church, Bethany Presbyterian, in Bridgeville, paid the girls’ tuition at St. Andrew’s International High School for the year! A couple from Beulah Presbyterian Church gave us the beautiful Dell laptop which was our lifeline to the rest of the world, which the girls used for homework and on which I have written all my journal entries. Church School children raised money for us to share with the orphans in Malawi.
A corps of prayer warriors gathered at Pittsburgh Presbytery in the early morning once a month to pray for us. Their faithful support was an inspiration. Scores of other people prayed for us on a daily basis. When times of trouble threatened to overwhelm us, we remembered those folks who were upholding us in prayer constantly. That knowledge got us through many tough times.
One of the things that we have tried to teach our children was to say, “Thank You” whenever they are given something. Frankly, we have been given so much, over such a long time period, that a simple phrase doesn’t begin to convey our appreciation to everyone who helped make this past year a reality.
It is true that we were the people who traveled to Malawi and stayed for a year, but all of our friends, family, supporters, and prayer partners went with us. We could not have gone without each individual and church that made the trip possible. To say that this was a joint venture is a huge understatement. To say that we are truly grateful for everything is an even bigger one.
As the lyrics on one of the songs on Bob’s Favorites CD says, “Let the tide of Your great love come rushing in…” God’s love prompted people and churches to flood us with support. Words can’t begin to express what everyone’s generosity meant to us.
The Malawians would simply say, “Zikomo Kwambiri” or “Thank you very much!”