Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Jonathan's birthday. We ate amazing indian food and celebrated with friends. This picture was taken before our conversation about all the cobra encounters on campus. If possible, our faces were even more white after that. (thanks kelly)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Music Theory

I never loved learning music theory in college, but it has been a JOY to teach. I'm sharing the class with my colleague, Kelly. He teaches 1 day of written theory and I've been doing 1 day of ear training. Over 40 students are registered for this course.  Their interest in learning to read and notate music comes from a culture with rich singing traditions, and yet for almost all of them, college is their first introduction to formal music training.

Kelly and I are pushing them. We start with lines and spaces-but are moving at a decent pace for beginners. It's thrilling to see them compose, even on a small scale.

I am learning some Chichewa music- so as to give them a context for their solfa (do, re mi, etc..) but am also sharing from the western music tradition.  It's especially sweet to see their eagerness to take what they learn to their churches. Many direct or participate in church music where they are considered the music "expert" because of their education at ABC.  Our relationships with the students are growing closer. Please pray for us as we encourage these young Malawian believers.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

3 hours on a cement slab

This morning we traveled to Madisi. Anold Saka, a sophomore at ABC, is the pastor of this CCAP(church of central africa presbyterian) congregation. Jonathan and I both have him for classes. He pastors over 6000 congregants in 26 different "prayer houses"  Jonathan was invited to give the sermon for the communion service, which followed the 3 hour morning service. 

The church building couldn't hold all the people. There must have been close to 1000 packed into this cross shaped sanctuary. We squeezed together, sitting on cement "curbs" for pews.  We heard the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles Creed professed in Chichewa. What an incredible feeling of unity to be surrounded by Malawians who share our faith in Christ.  Four choirs sang, including a children's choir of over 70. 

The communion service felt like an early church experience. Some were dressed in all white, and there was quiet singing of  hymns throughout.

There are multiple challenges facing the CCAP, some of which I mentioned in the last post. Please continue to pray for congregations such as these, whose needs are staggering. Please also pray for Pastor Saka and his family who are serving so sacrificially.

Georgia exploring Pastor Saka's house
(yes, that is an egg )

She found the chicken

inside the packed church

JJ and Janelle after church
nsima, rice, and beef
Enock(an amazing bass singer and junior at ABC) taught us how to open bottles without an opener!
outside the church
Jonathan walking back for the afternoon communion service

Friday, September 17, 2010

new perspective on AIDS

Our neighbors, Connie and Kelly Dehnert, were invited by a former student and pastor to come and lead a marriage seminar for his village church elders and their wives. The following is an excerpt from their latest update letter:

"...we met at the dining hall for lunch today(with the village pastor) to discuss issues that they struggle with in their marriages and had some fascinating information presented to us...."  

     "There are a number of traditional religious practices that make for many problems.  Among those is the view that if parents engage in sex when their daughter is pregnant (the entire pregnancy) she or the child may die in childbirth.  In addition, if a couple has hens and the hens are sitting on eggs, the couple should not have sex, because this will hinder the production of the hens. As you can imagine there is a significant amount of going outside the marriage by the man and partly because of this, Malawi ranks quite high in the HIV-AIDS scourge. "

     "There are many fears people live with here, based upon these beliefs. We hope that the gospel and biblical teaching will be a comfort to them."

Jonathan and I are traveling with the Dehnerts to visit this village church on Sunday. Jonathan will be preaching for the communion service. Please pray for this CCAP (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) congregation, that they would know the power of the gospel and will move from fear to freedom in Christ. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Won't you be my neighbor?

Being far from friends and family is difficult. We are thankful for new relationships that are growing everyday. 

JJ and Andrew

Ema and Georgia Mae

Georgia and Gwen as twins
(Their grandma's both shop at Kohls. This isn't their only matching outfit!)

Praise (age 1 1/2)
Charles, a sophomore student, and his wife came to visit us this week. They brought their son, Praise. 
He enjoyed JJ and Georgia's toys. They all thought the pretend food was very funny. I guess it is. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This and that

Jonathan and I are settling into our academic schedule. Here are a few snippets from our week.

 I started rehearsals with the ABC chorale on Monday and Wednesday. There are over 50 students signed up for choir this semester. I love their enthusiasm for singing. 
women's sectional rehearsal

There is standing room only in music theory I. It is a beautiful mix of teaching and learning. I've been unable to post videos because of the slow internet speed. I 'll keep trying.

On Thursday morning in chapel, we began by singing a beautiful song in Chichewa. It was like a taste of what heaven might sound like. Such beautiful singing and worship continually bring tears to my eyes. We're so thankful for this time to learn from and be a part of the church in Africa.

Our lost bag was found.  We're especially thankful for toys to keep our kids occupied during the rainy season. Our raincoats were also in that bag. Another necessity during the rainy season!
Georgia reunited with her favorite toy mrs. teapot

JJ has made fast friends with Wongani. He is a sophmore bible major. He is a bright student that Jonathan has enjoyed in his Joshua/Judges class and to JJ's delight a football (soccer) player. 

JJ with the ABC football team during halftime