Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yeah, we're still here. I am sorry we have not posted lately. I'll catch up soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I am bad!!

June 19, 2010

Wow – am I bad. Over 2 months since I’ve posted anything! A lot has happened these last two months. Guess that just goes to show that time does fly when you’re having fun.

Well, it’s been a very, very busy two months. Our car is working now, we have internet access at home, we had company from the U.S., we are moved into a new mission compound, Ray is very busy with the Farming God’s Way program and helping at the feeding center, Mphatso is almost finished with this school term and I now get to play House Mama. God is good. He is so faithful and kind.

Mphatso has been living with us for a year (May) so we had a party to celebrate. I made a chocolate cake and an orange cake made with Fanta Orange pop. We had lots of people over to celebrate with us.

It took a while, but our car was finally able to be worked on and now runs. We don’t feel comfortable depending on it to go everywhere but I use it to go to the market, run some short errands, and to pick Mphatso up from school every day. That is a huge blessing – having a car to pick her up from school with because Ray is out in the village every day and it’s quite a jaunt back into town to pick her up.

I said we have internet access at home. I think the only reason we have it is because we kept bugging the people at the internet company and they finally got tired of us. They still do not have the telephone needed for internet access but knew someone who was selling their phone so we purchase it from them. It’s slow but it is a lot easier than running into town every day to get online. That saves us fuel money because town is not as close as it used to be. The internet access is slow – slower than dial-up but it works. There are certain times of the day we can’t get on the internet because there is only so much bandwidth to go around. Early mornings here seem to be the best time.

Our daughter, Jamie and our good friend, Erle, came to visit us in May. We went to the Liwonde Game Preserve and saw elephants, hippos, monkeys and other animals, including a few in our car. We had a great time and showed them a good time all around the area. They came when we were still in the small apartment with only two bedrooms and one bathroom. We borrowed beds and mattresses from a friend and converted one bedroom into a girl’s room and the other bedroom into a boy’s room. It was very tight but we managed and had a great time.

We are living on the same compound but are now living in the big house and the landlord is living in our small flat (apartment). We have 3+ bedrooms, a big sitting room (living room), 2 bathrooms, a huge kitchen and a dining room table that will seat 10 comfortably. As I said, God is good. We still have no stove so I cook on a two burner hot plate. The refrigerator we were borrowing from the landlord died so we now have no refrigeration either. However, he did leave a freezer here so I am able to put things in the freezer. But things that need refrigeration like milk and yogurt, we don’t even bother with. There is a family from Germany who is moving back to Germany in a couple of weeks and we bought their refrigerator from them so if we can hold out a bit longer, we’ll have a refrigerator. Their cooker (stove) was already purchased so we couldn’t get that. Oh well, we know eventually we’ll have a stove. Until then, when I absolutely need to bake something (Mphatso needed a cake for school for their class assembly last week and I really needed to make chocolate chip cookies yesterday), I run over to Charlie’s house and use his oven. He lives two compounds down from us so that is very convenient – to have your boss close and be able to borrow from each other. He comes over quite a bit for dinner so he reaps the benefits of the cakes and cookies he allows me to make in his oven.

Hopefully, our first mission team from the US will come in August or September so I can try my skills as House Mama. Oh yeah, I even have business cards that say, “House Mama”. It’s great. We know we will be having a pretty good size team over in October so that will be fun. We still have a lot to do in this house to get ready for a team. The water in the tubs work but the showers don’t. We have no cold water in the kitchen (imagine me complaining about no cold water). However, when we have water, the kitchen water is so hot I can’t put my hands in it wash dishes. Maybe that’s a sign that I should let someone else do them. But, we know all these things will be fixed and it will all come together before we have a team arrive. I have no doubt of that.

The landlord has many dogs for security. Two of the dogs had puppies right before we moved in so we had two litters of pups running around here. One of the moms died so he put those pups in with the other pups. Mom took to them with no problem. Now she had 7 pups to nurse. Well, she decided early on that she was not going to supply all of them so she stopped feeding any of them. Now we had 7 pups with no food. He gave away three of the pups and to date, we have 4 running around our house. Three of them were very sick. It appeared that they got into some poison or something because they would have seizures and one was foaming at the mouth. Ray sat up with those three holding them until 3:00 AM one morning. They managed to make it through the night and one recovered very quickly. The other two did not manage so well. They shook uncontrollably and one of them walked on his forearms instead of his paws. We were scared for those two. Ray took those two to the vet and as soon as he put the pups down and described the symptoms, the vet immediately told him that they have a calcium deficiency. He said to feed them a certain type of fish. So we did. Within two days, it was remarkable the difference in these two. Now, you wouldn’t know anything was ever wrong with them. They play, run about and torment the other pups. So……………how do you break pups of having me purchase special fish for them and cook it every morning? I think the answer is that you don’t. At this point, we haven’t broken them of the habit so as soon as Ray opens the doors, in trot four pups all wanting fish for breakfast. So yes, I cook for the dogs too.

The landlord also had a mama and three kittens when we moved in. The mama cat is gone but the three kittens remain. Of course, Ray immediately attached to one of the kittens so we now have a female cat named “Steve”. Whatever. So, on our property, we have three cats, a rooster, two hens, numerous baby chickens, two goats, five big dogs and four pups. Of course, we have named them all.

Ray is busy working on the Farming God’s Way program at the center. He is working with widow head of households and children head of households to fine tune what they did last year and what they are going to do this year. He is also recruiting more people to participate in the Farming God’s Way program out in that area. Since the feeding center is quite a way out of town, they don’t have access to large quantities of items needed daily to feed 350+ kids. That’s a lot of kids and a lot of necessary items. So, he helps procure needed items for them. He’ll do things like pick up large quantities of eggs, chickens, vegetables, in town and take it out to them. Mphatso and I go out to the village with him once in a while but it’s hard with her in school. Since her school break is coming up, I am sure we will travel with him more often to play with the kids.

Miqlat is also building a new feeding center. One Sunday, the entire Miqlat team that was on the ground traveled out there to visit the site and to pray over it. The kids in the village enjoyed seeing everyone.

The school year in the international schools run from September – July so Mphatso gets out of school July 2. She is excited to have a holiday (vacation) but really likes her school and has made quite a few friends. She settled right in to the class, even after arriving in the third term. They took a field trip last week and visited a crocodile farm. She got to pet a baby crocodile and informed me that the crocodiles on this farm do not eat children, they only eat chicken and nsima. She made a crocodile family out of clay. It’s cute. Her class had their class assembly a couple of weeks ago and their theme was Father’s Day. Of course, this mother cried. I think her dad did too. They all painted a picture of their father’s faces and had them in the assembly hall. I think the picture she painted looks like her Abambo (dad).

One of the large hospitals put on a run. They had a 5K, 10K and children’s fun runs. Mphatso participated in the one-lap children’s run. She had a great time and was the first in her class to cross the finish line! She was excited. Being at the run reminded me of my former running days. I kinda missed it being in all the excitement.

I said I get to play House Mama. Since this is a mission house, people here with Miqlat are free to come and go as they please. Since Charlie lives so close, he comes over for dinner quite a few nights a week. We’ve also had others working with Miqlat who don’t live so close over for dinner quite a few times. I am also able to wash clothes for Charlie because the missionary who sold Miqlat his van also left a full size Speed Queen washer and dryer. We have it sitting on the back khonde (porch). I plug it in to the electrical outlet running it through the window and we have to string a 50’ hose from the washer to the water pipe in the back yard. This is an old washer and dryer so it doesn’t work the best but it still works. That’s all I care about. It’s great when it rains because I don’t have to hang clothes outside to dry. It’s also a lot easier on our clothes. Socks are not stretched to fit a giraffe.

I purchased a sewing machine. It’s not nearly the quality of one from the US but it works. I’ve made Mphatso a couple of skirts, sewn sheets for our beds, mended quite a few things and am now working on a tablecloth for our dining room table. It’s nice to be able to do some of those things and not have to find a tailor.

This same missionary also left a braii (grill). It is wonderful. We’ve used it several times to cook outside. It is an absolute necessity during those nights we have blackouts. Yes, we still have blackouts on a regular basis and we still lose water. We lived in the small house for two months and never lost water. We move to the big house and have lost water every day since we’ve been here. We have water this morning but have been without water completely for the last 4 days. We were to the point that we only had a couple of pitchers full left to cook, clean, bathe, flush toilets, etc. I am very glad that we woke up this morning to running water.

It’s cold here. Their seasons are opposite ours in the US so it is now winter here. June and July are the coldest. We’ve been sleeping with two blankets lately but last night was a three blanket night. We are living on tea and coffee now, not cold drinks. It’s been raining for the last three days and today is not supposed to be any better. There are no heaters or air conditioners in houses here so you just put on more clothes and drink more tea (if you have water). There are many tea plantations in our area of the country and they have the best tea. I have become addicted to Malawi tea.

Whew! I'm tired now. I better go either take a nap or get some laundry done while we have water and electricity. Hopefully, it won’t be another two months before I post. Sorry about that long delay.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010

Well, we’re in our new place and while it is smaller than our other house, the benefits outweigh the size. Our flat as they call it, is attached to the main house where the owners live. They have a beautiful, beautiful garden in front and back. It is great place to sit and reflect on the Lord’s handiwork, pray and read scripture.

Our house was partial furnished. It came with a dining room table and chairs, a sofa, living room chairs, a refrigerator and a small washing machine. Now, it’s the kind of washer that you load the water into, set it to wash, drain it, put more water in to rinse, drain it again then put the clothes in the spinner. I still have to dry clothes outside but if it’s good enough for our forefathers (foremothers, I should say), then I can do it. At least I don’t have to hand wash clothes. While we have a washing machine, Mphatso still wants to wash things by hand. So she has the cleanest doll clothes and I have the cleanest wraps in the area.

We live outside of town so it takes us a while to get to town but we are close to a market. While we have a mini bus stag close by, it’s not the kind where the mini-buses sit waiting for a fare. We also have screens on our windows which is a huge plus. That keeps the mosquitoes (and lizards) out. You know how much I *hate* lizards! Mphatso laughed and laughed at me because I chased one with a broom that was on the outside of our house the other day. I wanted to let him know not to even think about coming into our house. Hopefully, he told his friends too.

We don’t have a stove so we purchased a two-burner hot plate. I am struggling with it. You don’t realize how much you use an oven until you don’t have one. A stove with oven is our first priority. My next priority is a refrigerator with a freezer. They have a refrigerator in this house. Even if it does not seal properly and it does not have a freezer, at least I can keep food cold.

We have lost power several times in our new place but have not lost water yet. We hear that we do have water issues here too but we are thankful that we have not yet.

Our car still is not starting so we are driving Miqlat’s van. Thank God for this van because we’d be here completely without transportation if we didn’t have this donated van. We did find a mechanic to look at our car and he’s still working on the problem. Hopefully, we can get it resolved soon. We will need another vehicle when school starts next week so I can pick Mphatso up from school while Ray is out in the village.

Internet access is a possibility in this house so we are researching that. I researched what we paid for internet access cards per month and it would be cheaper for us to have internet access at home. But of course, there is always a glitch – they don’t have any internet phones available right now. So, we’re checking with some people to see about finding a used one. At least it is now a possibility in this place.

Weather here has been hot. We are getting to the end of the rainy season. It has rained most days but not the long downpours we get at the beginning of the rainy season. Everything here is so green and so beautiful right now.

We weren’t here but a day when Mphatso and I wanted chips and a Fanta. Nothing better than chips (fries) cooked outside in dirty grease with shredded cabbage and tomatoes put in a small blue plastic bag and loaded with salt. That and a Fanta Orange in a bottle and we were happy campers. Oh, the small things we appreciate.

Ray’s been out to the village a couple of times and is getting information from a researching center on agricultural issues. He is really into Farming God’s Way and is learning what he can to get this program off to a good start.

We are still searching for a missionary compound to house missionaries on the ground and teams coming over – then my work begins.

I better go check to see how dry my clothes on the line are – it looks like rain.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're back in Malawi

We arrived safely back in Malawi on Sat, March 27, 2010 with no issues. Praise God for that. All 12 pieces of our luggage arrived with everything intact!

We are staying with a friend for a few days. We had no water Saturday – Monday. It didn’t take us long to remember what it’s like to live with no water. When the water came back on, we didn’t care if we had to take a cold bath. It was worth it.
We looked at a place for us to live. It is smaller than the house we lived in before but it has hot water! I am happy. The person living in the place moves out this week so we can move in next week. It is mostly furnished so we will only need to find a few items. The kitchen is much, much smaller than our other kitchen so that will be a challenge for me but I’ll deal with it. As long as I can cook somewhere, even if it’s outside, I’ll be fine.

The international school we originally wanted to send Mphatso to was full at the beginning of this school year so we could not get her in there. Our new house is closer to this school so we stopped there to see about enrolling her for the last school term of this year, hoping they had an opening now. They do not have an opening in her grade but have one in the next grade up. We have an assessment schedule for her to see if she would be able to keep up with that class for the rest of the term.

Ray is happy. A four wheel drive minibus has been donated to Miqlat and we are allowed to drive it. He now feels like he’s driving a manly vehicle, not a mom-minivan.

Things are going well. We are trying to figure out what we need to move and get settled so we can begin doing the work the Lord has planned for us here.

Greetings to you all and Happy Easter!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This is a repost.

We have been in the US for a little over a week. Mphatso loves the snow. The first time she went out in it, she did a belly flop, thinking it was like a swimming pool. It was cute.

She keeps wanting to go out and shovel more because we have "too much snow".

We are heading back to Malawi in March, 2010.

There will probably not be any posts until that time.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas and a very Happy New Year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our even greater God

We got approved for Mphatso's visa today at the embassy. We pick it up tomorrow at 2:00 PM and get on the 4:00 PM bus back to Blantyre. We arrive in Blantyre about 9:30 PM, sleep, then get up and head to the airport. We'll arrive on Dec 3.

Thanks for all your prayers and support and hopefully, we'll see some of you before the end of this week!

Praise God. Mulungu ndi wabwino (God is good).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Great God

We received Mphatso's passport today. Thank you Lord!!!!

We have an appointment with the embassy on Monday at 8:00 about a visa to travel to the U.S. If approved, it will be issued on Tuesday.

If we get the visa, we'll be back in the US on Thurs, Dec 3.

What a rushed week.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
This blog was created by Frank Barrett for Ray & Alice Smith.