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December 2017

Lutheran Mobile Clinic (CAMM)

Lilongwe, Malawi

December, 2017

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:   Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”                 Philippians 2:5-7

Greetings from the warm heart of Africa,

Since moving to Malawi, I feel pure joy when I hear one neighbor’s security alarm, immediately followed by another, and another, and another.  Can you guess why?  Their alarms trigger when the electricity is restored after a power cut.  As the sirens come closer and closer, I know that in a fraction of a second I will have power and I become ecstatic! This is just one example of how living in Malawi can be like living in an entirely different world from the United States.   

Most of my days are spent in the capital city of Lilongwe, where most of the roads are paved and some of the government and business offices I frequent not only have running water, but they also have electricity, computers, some sort of furniture and workers wearing clean clothes and shoes.  People travel mainly by car, minibus, bicycle taxi or three-wheeled enclosed scooter-taxi.  

Some days, though, are spent going between Lilongwe and the rural villages where our mobile clinics operate.  On these days I travel between two worlds; the comfortable middle class world and the world of the extremely poor.    

The residents of the rural Malawian villages are among the poorest in the entire world.  The only “running” water is drawn from the borehole by hand pump and then carried home by balancing the bucket on the head.  There is no electricity.  Most people have a cell phone of some sort, but many do not have shoes.  Some may have a bench to sit on, but few have several changes of clothing.  We travel dirt roads to get to clinic and try to dodge the largest potholes and ruts I’ve ever seen.  Most people travel on foot or on a bicycle.

Comfort is hard to come by in the village.  So, as you can imagine, when clinic is finished I am happy to return to my home in Lilongwe, even though we are likely experiencing a power cut, the water line may be closed and the food in the fridge is probably a bit warm.  We humans like comfort.  We like having plenty of food to eat, plenty of clothes to wear, plenty of clean water to drink, more-than-adequate shelter, and on and on and on.  That’s exactly what makes Christmas so surprising and amazing!

Consider the two worlds Jesus experienced.  Marvel at how Jesus chose to leave the magnificence and splendor of heaven to come to offer his life to a broken and difficult world.  Ponder how Jesus chose to leave his glorious throne to live in the extreme poverty of being born in a dirty, noisy, smelly stable.  Rejoice that Jesus chose to suffer a death that should have been ours, all because He loves us.

Whatever your circumstances this Christmas season, remember Jesus, who loved you so much, He chose to endure extreme suffering to secure your luxurious eternity.  Merry Christmas!

            Your sister in Christ,

            Amanda Artz, Clinic Administrator

            Lutheran Mobile Clinic