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December 2016

Central Africa Medical Mission – Lutheran Mobile Clinic - Lilongwe Malawi
December, 2016

"I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121: 1-2
Greetings from the warm heart of Africa!
I read somewhere that some have called Malawi the “Switzerland of Africa” due to its hilly terrain.  That description makes me smile, because I appreciate hills and mountains.  To me, they display a part of the majesty of God’s creation.  
Malawi is indeed hilly and there are mountains on the horizon.  Though it is lovely to see, it is not so lovely when you’re learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle.  Never before have I spotted an incline in the road and felt butterflies about whether I’ll be able to maneuver the vehicle without rolling backwards.  
Each time I start the truck for another driving session, my mind comes back to this passage.  Though the hills in Lilongwe are testing my mastery (or lack thereof) of the clutch, in ancient times, the hills provided hiding places for thieves, dangerous animals and others intending harm to travelers passing by.  
These days our “hills” in life take many forms.  Perhaps this December you are facing a mountain of debt or a crippling financial loss.  Maybe you have been ill and you feel as though getting out of bed is as difficult as scaling Kilimanjaro.  Are the many miles that separate you from your loved ones crushing your cheer this Christmas?  
Then remember the hill called Calvary that Jesus willingly climbed to suffer the consequences of all of our sins.  When you feel that you are rolling backwards and can’t make any headway, look to our Savior who burst out from the grave and ascended into heaven.  Jesus knows the peaks and valleys of our lives and He cares.  He cares so much about each of us that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).
I pray you enjoy a peaceful and joyful Christmas, secure in the comfort and knowledge that the One who made the hills is also the One who will grant passage through all of our “hills”.

Your sister in Christ,
Amanda Artz, 
(Clinic Administrator-in-Training
Lutheran Mobile Clinic)