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April 2017

Lutheran Mobile Clinic (CAMM)
Lilongwe, Malawi
April, 2017 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.    Psalm 27:14 

Greetings from the warm heart of Africa, 

Is patience one of your virtues?  Maybe you’re like me and patience is on your list of areas in need of improvement.  Waiting in line (or queue as we say here) is a part of life in Malawi, just like it is everywhere else.  I have noticed during the last four months, though, that some of the waiting is different than everywhere else I have ever lived and traveled. 

Never before have I waited a month to find yogurt or mozzarella cheese in the grocery store.  Never before have I traveled to church wondering if there will be power so that we’ll have lights and piano accompaniment to our singing.  Never before have I waited in gridlock city traffic because a young boy was having trouble keeping his goat herd to the side of the road.

While waiting of this sort can be comical once you get past the inconveniences, there is a lot of waiting in life that is anything but comical.  Maybe you are waiting for a doctor’s report.  Maybe you’re waiting for a better job opportunity or a relationship to improve.  Here in Malawi, many people are waiting for the maize harvest and the temporary end of hungry season.  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

There is a reason why we are told in the Psalm to be strong and wait.  Losing patience and giving up is easy.  Waiting for the Lord’s guidance, intervention and healing takes strength.  Rushing into action just for the sake of action is easy.  Waiting to understand the situation and select the best course of action takes strength.  Bickering is easy.  Waiting to speak calmly and respectfully takes strength. 

As Easter approaches, I like to remember John’s account at the tomb of Jesus.  Mary Magdalene stood weeping while she waited and didn’t realize that Jesus was alive and right there with her.  Until He called her by name, she had no idea just how near He was.  Isn’t that often the case with us?  When we are tired of waiting for difficulties to improve, how often do we forget that Jesus has said He is always with us (Matthew 28:20)?  In the midst of our trials and sufferings, do we echo Job and confess “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25)?  Why do we so easily forget that Jesus loves us every day the same and even calls us by our name (CW 432)?

Waiting for the Lord’s timing and for His plan is challenging, but it’s also for our good.  Through the waiting, He draws us nearer to Himself, teaches us to trust Him, and reminds us that He alone is in control.  We can take heart, because our waiting, no matter how difficult, is not in vain and the Lord Himself is right there with us providing the strength we need to carry on.   

The Lord is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Happy Easter!

Your sister in Christ,
Amanda Artz, Clinic Administrator 
Lutheran Mobile Clinic, Malaw