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March 2017

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

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  (Proverbs 19:21)

     Usually at the beginning of a New Year, we talk about changes we’d like to focus on in the upcoming year—how we’d like to better our work, our lives, and ourselves.  We are usually good about accepting and implementing changes in the first few months, but sometimes we lose sight of those goals or lose interest.  And sometimes, changes are thrust upon us and we are left to deal with them.
     LMC has had a year full of changes and it is just the beginning of March.  We are hiring a new staff member, the District Health Office in Lilongwe has withdrawn its willingness to supply LMC with some key clinic supplies, and we’ve gotten a new puppy!  None of these were part of LMC’s New Year’s Resolutions, nor were they really part of our plans.  The old Yiddish Proverb “We plan, God laughs” comes to mind as does the verse from Jeremiah (29:11),  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Keeping the Jeremiah verse in my mind helps keeps the changes in perspective.  
     Currently LMC is looking to promote a nurse to the Head Nurse role and looking to hire another nurse to fill the vacancies on staff.  We pray for a smooth transition for all involved:  the hiring team to select the right candidates for the positions available and the employees to faithfully fill their new roles.  We know that LMC’s future is in God’s hands—where He leads, we will follow.   
     After Christmas, I received notice that the District Health Office/Malawi’s Ministry of Health in Lilongwe who we work closely with, would, effective immediately, not be able to assist us with providing medications and supplies.  The DHO provides LMC with basic supplies such as safety boxes for our needles, gloves for seeing patients, and medications used to treat epilepsy patients, antenatal mothers, and malaria patients just to name a few.  This means that LMC will now have to purchase these supplies and medications out of our donations, which we were not anticipating.  But we lean on the knowledge that God will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19).  
     We had two guard dogs, Julius (an 11 year old German Shepherd) and Mada (a 3 year old Great Dane/Mastiff Mix).  As Julius is getting older, we wanted to have a trained replacement ready when needed.  The new puppy, Mkango, is an 8 week old Mastiff puppy, trying to find his place in the LMC house.  Mada is quite taken with him, thinking she is his mother, following him around and gently playing with him.  Julius, at 11 yrs old, is far less keen.  We know as things calm down at the LMC house, we will all adjust to life with a puppy, life with three dogs, and the new tempo of the house.  
     With changes comes anxiety.  Anxiety about hiring and promoting the right people, anxiety about having enough money in the budget to cope without DHO support, and anxiety about the puppy getting along with the other dogs and people on the LMC property.  Anxiety can be exhausting but we can find peace in the scriptures.  Time and again we are told not to worry.  The Lord’s will be done.  He will provide.  Trust Him.  We are grateful for such a gracious, generous God.  As this Lenten season reminds us, one who loves us enough to sacrifice His own Son for us, one who takes care of every need, one who wipes away our tears, and one who calms our fears.  
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which, transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Your Sister in Christ, 
Amanda Oswalt
Lutheran Mobile Clinic Nurse In Charge