Thursday, March 9, 2017

Getting Close and Comfortable with the Bongo

            These past two weeks we’ve been to Nkhotakota, Blantyre, Thyolo, Dedza, Mchinji, and most recently Chipata, Zambia. We’ve been traveling in a Mazda Bongo that sits 12 if we use the collapsible seats, and 16 if we squish in. This vehicle, by nothing short than God’s blessing and will that we travel, has made it to all of these cities, over tree stumps and out of small ditches, down dirt roads that are mostly potholes, and dirt roads that you have to “drive very quickly” down to avoid tipping because there’s such a big ditch in the road. I love this vehicle!
            On Wednesday we drove to Chipata, Zambia to visit the brethren there and get our visas renewed. We have 12 month multiple entry visas, but still need to leave the country every so often and reenter. Anyways, we drove about an hour and a half to Mchinji to visit the Chmpalas and their private clinic. The last time I saw their clinic was 5 or 6 years ago and wow! It’s so different now! The clinic is painted in vibrant orange and blue and contains normal patient rooms, a family planning room, two offices, a voluntary medical male circumcision room, a surgical room, and more. It’s huge! After leaving the clinic we went on a short side trip to find a fire extinguisher (may or may not be required to have in our van, it’s kind of hard to tell genuine laws from exaggerated ways to make money) and then onto Zambia!
            One of my favorite things about the Bongo is that it isn’t a “mzungu” vehicle. Once people notice the four white people inside they stare, but before they notice, the Bongo looks like a minibus taxi and we get by without attracting too much attention. That being said, we tend to really confuse police. Four Americans driving around in what looks like a taxi but is actually a private vehicle that’s registered in Malawi and has an American’s insurance on it. Huh.
            We got to try a much-loved traditional Zambian drink made out of fermented maize and sugar. I think it’s an acquired taste… Our time in Zambia was wonderful, but it also feels good to be back home in Lilongwe. It’s amazing how many people are being called all over the world. We’re used to our comfortable congregation where we get excited when there’s one new visitor, but in Chipata they tend to have around 20 new visitors each Sabbath. The deacon there has a popular radio program and broadcasts applicable Beyond Today episodes. I’ll write more about him and the Chipata congregation later—too much for one blog!
            Seeing life here is changing our perspectives in so many ways. It’s sad how we will do ridiculous things like say we’re too tired from work to go to church, or just need an “alone” Sabbath. Here, our brethren are struggling to make it to church because of funds, they’re going without some meals so they can afford the taxi (the taxis like our Bongo) to services for only one or two members of the family. Living here is showing us how much we need God’s Kingdom. One woman asked us, “What do you imagine when you imagine it? How can you picture God’s Kingdom when you are already living in it in America?” God’s children are hurting in Africa; children are balding because of malnutrition, mothers are exploiting their children for money, wars are being fought, and beliefs in witchcraft and potions are destroying lives. This hurting won’t stop until God’s Kingdom comes. Please pray for us for temporary relief in this life and for the permanent relief that is God’s Kingdom to come soon.

            We love you all!
 Cephas and Patricia Chapamba
 Jumpha Clinic
 Jumpha Clinic
 Our new friends! Lil Nugs and Peggy
 Lunch after services
My handsome hubby :)


  1. Praying Abba's blessing on y'alls endeavors!

  2. What an experience for you both. I know you will come away stronger, wiser, and more humble people. Love to you both!