Today marks 12 years since we first arrived on African soil. On January 16, 2009, we first stepped in Lilongwe – Malawi’s capital. However, the call of the Lord in our lives took place in the previous year, 2008.
We were young but passionate for the Lord and the Great Commission. I was 24, Lita 22. Jessica, our oldest, was 7 months old and Lita was 3 months pregnant with Aimee. These were us in 2009! Ah, I almost forgot, the Lord was with us!!!
From the airport we went for a quick lunch and then we took the long ride home. Today, the Lilongwe-Zomba road can be done in about 5 hours. Back then, we needed 6-7 hours. I like to say that we used to have some traces of road among all the potholes.
When we were about 1 hour away from Zomba, our car ran out of fuel. Today there are several gas stations along that road but then they were very rare. We finally found one, near the town of Liwonde. The driver who came to pick us up did not plan things very well and not was the fuel very low but he didn’t even have money to refuel. At least that’s what he said. I remember I had the equivalent of $100 in local currency, ironically enough, brought with me from Romania and, with that, we were able to buy more gas and make it home.
We arrived in Lilongwe at noon and at home in the evening. I will never forget our first night in Malawi, because the electricity was off. It was very hot and we were very tired but we couldn’t sleep at all because it was dark. (No, it wasn’t a regular blackout, the electric was turned off for us. Later, I understood why, but that’s for another story). Again, I remember the heat, the humidity (January is in the middle of the rainy season), the insects, the emotions and the uncertainty that comes when you are in a completely new place, in another world.
Although my father-in-law visited Malawi before us, we have never seen pictures with the mission house or the place we were going to live. I didn’t know the location, the conditions or how it would be. We went there by faith and knew that God would be with us. We did not have the opportunity to visit the country before making any decisions, nor did we know that some do that. We simply understood that the Lord wanted us there, that there was a need and an open door and so we went. The Lord was going to work out the rest of the details, and He sure did that!
I have to mention a little about the money situation at the time, because I know this is an important topic for all those who are thinking of going to the mission field today. We did not go to Malawi without doing our part as we knew it at that time, namely, do support raising. In 2008 we travelled all across Romania, visited many churches and shared with them the ministry and God’s calling on our lives. Today, most missionaries only go once they have a certain amount of money “in hand”, and there is nothing wrong with that. We, however, went to the mission field based, for the most part, on the promises of the churches. We could not wait to have everything 100% defined because we understood the urgency of our call.
However, we were blessed to have the support of our local church in Romania, whose pastor at the time was Joseph Morcan. The Holy Trinity church in Baia Mare was behind us from that day until today. There were a couple other churches plus a handful of individuals who supported our efforts then, and so our family was able to live and serve in Malawi – the warm heart of Africa – a country which would soon become our second home.
Tomorrow I will tell you about our first full day in Africa and some of the experiences that would change the way we look at ministry today. Read that article here.