Letters‎ > ‎From the Field‎ > ‎

February 2017

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

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  (Romans 8: 26-27)
Greetings from the warm heart of Africa,
     Failures in communication are frustrating, aren’t they?  Just when you think you have selected the exact words you would like to say, the words that actually come out of your mouth are not at all what you had planned to say.  Do you struggle to find the right words for a given situation and instead keep silent?
     Communication gaps and failures are all too common for me these days, as I am learning to speak Chichewa.  Studying a book, using flashcards and practicing conversations with my teacher are indeed helpful, but all too often I find myself lacking the appropriate vocabulary and frustrated that I can’t seem to make myself understood.  On more than one occasion I have wished I had my teacher with me so she could fill in the gaps of my broken Chichewa sentences! 
     Fortunately, I have found that many Malawians are delighted that I am trying to speak Chichewa and are quick to use any English they know when I say, “Pepani.  Sindi kumvetsa” (I’m sorry.  I don’t understand).
     Do you ever wonder if your prayers are hung up in communication gaps with God?  Perhaps you have prayed the same prayer year after year but the Lord sends something else.  You thought your carefully selected vocabulary was clear, but it seems God misunderstood.  Could it be that our thoughts and pleadings are not up to the standard of the Most High?  Or maybe you’re not sure what to pray for and you wonder if the Lord would rather you keep silent until you can offer up a well-crafted prayer.  If only there was an interpreter to fill in the gaps of our unfocused thoughts and broken sentences!
     We can rejoice and take comfort that our prayers are neither lost in translation nor misinterpreted, because our God operates beyond the confines of our narrow thoughts and limited vocabulary.  There is no reason to fear that our imperfectly crafted prayers will not be understood by our Father, because Jesus died to win us the privilege of prayer, and the Spirit is actively filling in all of the gaps.  There is no communication failure, because the Father sees into our very hearts and knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows what we can bear and what is best for us and “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  Through Jesus, our God is delighted to hear from us in prayer and always sends what we truly need exactly when we truly need it.  Always!

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