We traveled 3 hours north to the small town of Mzimba the last weekend of September. The Robertsons and Rudds, fellow IMB missionaries, are there doing evangelism, community development, and leadership training with 2 of Malawi’s 14 Bible schools.
Once a year the students' wives travel to the Bible schools to attend class, and this year I was invited to teach health education. I readily accepted, but I was shaking in my flip-flops before I began. How was I going to connect with semi-literate village women on matters of health and wellness!?! After working with migrant farmers in Yakima, Washington, I've been used to suggesting the inexpensive home remadies whenever available. But it's a whole new level when you're talking to people who can't afford to heat water because firewood is so expensive, or who don't always have the means to buy salt for gargling or who have never even seen a band-aid.
But God was present, and God was glorified! The 14 women were attentive, hungry for information, and open during the discussion. It did not take long for questions to turn from basic health (when gargling salt water for a sore throat, should the water be hot or cold?) to matters of discipleship (if I already have 8 children but my husband won’t allow me to use birth control, can I as a Christian woman use it without his knowledge?) I confess I was more prepared for the former than the latter, but it was wonderful to see Michelle Robertson, much more experienced than me, and the pastor’s wife guide the discussion. I left Mzimba with a new, deeper respect for the issues facing Malawian believers (especially the women) and their true desire to honor God despite the many challenges.