Our team broke into five smaller teams to participate in different church services this morning. Love is a universal language, and we all felt loved and blessed to be a part of the celebration! The people were very upbeat, welcoming, and focused on the positive elements of life. We danced and worshipped with the Malawians singing songs of praise. Team members boldly shared testimonies, messages, and preached the gospel to our brothers and sisters in Christ. How incredible that we are all part of the same body of Christ, and it’s the same awesome God lavishing His faithfulness and grace upon all of us!
Today marked the second funeral of the past week for the Passion Center. The first funeral was for the sister of a Passion child earlier in the week.
This afternoon, two team leaders and Pilira attended the funeral of Stella, age fifteen, after she passed away due to a brain tumor. Stella became one of the first Passion Center girls in late 2004. Funerals here in Malawi are nothing like the funerals we attend back home. The team members who attended described the ceremony for us, since not all of us were able to attend. There was no joy and morbid feelings engulfed the air as she was lowered into the unmarked dirt grave and wooden casket. Stella’s extended family members placed small sentiments on the grave, and one of the most touching moments was when Pilira was asked to be the third in line. This demonstrates the closeness of the Passion Center to its children, and how the Center is recognized in the community.
The discussion revolving around the observations we’ve made in the past week and the funeral concluded that death is not a predominant theme in this culture, despite its prevalence. They focus on life after death. And we who with unveiled faces can see that God is still on His throne—still rescuing the lost and providing hope.
Rob Mulvaney, a Malawi 2010 team member, met a young boy at last year’s VBS that reminded him of himself at a young age. His eyes would cross and it affected his vision—just as Rob’s eyes crossed when he was young. There are a number of young orphans in Malawi that do not have access to basic eye and medical care. We cannot change the lives of all the orphans in Malawi, but the ones we are able to touch and impact…what an incredible gift we’re able to share with them, primarily spiritual, but also health and well-being.
Milan Silas, a six year old orphan at the Passion Center, had similar vision problems as the child Rob met a year ago. This year, Brenda Tiffan organized a vision clinic as one of our service projects. She told her son Greg and Piliara’s wife Omega that she was looking for Milan, to which Greg replied, “Mom, he’s been hanging off me all day!” Milan was brought to Brenda and Omega. Omega told the older boys in Chichewa to bring Milan’s mother. The women talked about Milan’s vision history and Brenda gave him glasses.
Milan’s face lit up and he was looking around at a transformed world! Brenda asked if he could see better. Milan nodded his head with a huge grin on his face. He had truly walked by faith, not by sight until this point in his life. What an amazing gift to receive through God’s own timing!
Our first official vision clinic kicked off today with the Passion Center resident children! When Jesus was here on earth, He healed immediately, often restoring sight to the blind. Not only did He heal the blind physically, but more importantly spiritually. The entire team feels blessed to play a role in improving the vision of the Passion Center children, guardians, and staff. Children can now read their Bibles and perform more successfully in school. Lots of sunglasses were distributed to the children as expected since only 10% of children require corrective lenses. The children were thrilled with their “Hollywood” looks!
I’m an optometrist! — only in Malawi