It has been a strange, and difficult few months for both our staff and patients in Malawi, as well as for the leadership of our team in the U.S. Yet, God continues to show his love and protection for us through the struggles the Lutheran Mobile Clinic has been facing. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1)
The pandemic continues to affect lives and circumstances on both sides of the Atlantic. It is spreading quickly now in Malawi, to 1742 cases and 19 deaths in early July. The cases have been imported from people returning from countries such as South Africa, and are also being transmitted locally throughout mainly urban areas. Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe has been closed to commercial air traffic. The relatively low death rate is most probably due to the young average age of the population (19 years) and the lifestyle of people being mainly out of doors. We are thankful that all of our staff has remained well and are following preventive measures such as staying at home, washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing.
God has blessed Malawi with a fair and peaceful presidential electoral process, where Lazarus Chakwera, a former pastor, defeated the incumbent Peter Mutharika in a rerun election June 23rd by winning 59% of the vote. He was inaugurated on Malawian Independence Day in a scaled down ceremony with social distancing and mask-wearing following the COVID19 guidelines. He will have a five-year term as president of a nation of 18 million people. We pray for strong leadership and God’s guidance in a time of a poor economy, corruption in government and a spreading pandemic.
Gary and I have been in Wisconsin since April 1 due to the start of coronavirus and having to close the mobile clinic operation to safeguard both our staff and our patients in the villages. We have had regular communication with our staff in Malawi and Zambia, have been watching the development of cases in both countries, and are learning all we can about this virus, treatment of complications, and how to prevent its transmission. I am working to find out where to obtain PPE in Malawi and stateside, and making plans to be well supplied when we restart our work. We will be meeting with the CAMM committee and speaking with clinic staff this month to make decisions regarding the safe reopening of the clinics. We feel the virus will be in Malawi for some time, but know that our brothers and sisters in Christ have had to suffer from other illnesses and conditions without our medical care so we are eager to help them again. Pray that flights resume and we will be able to continue our work in Malawi soon.
On another note, we just want to praise God for what is now the 50th anniversary of the Lutheran Mobile Clinic in Malawi. The medical work was started in 1970 near Salima, close to Lake Malawi. It’s amazing how the Lord has used this clinic, providing countless Malawian children with vaccines and nutritional support, pregnant women with antenatal care, the sick with needed healthcare and medicine, and they all hear of Jesus, their Savior. God has prompted many of you to give of your time, finances and prayers to sustain this medical mission. Thank you so very much!
Your sister in Christ,
Beth Evans – Nurse in Charge