My husband is home from Africa. This was a longer trip than before, by only 3 days, but it might as well have been 3 months. As usual, the first thing he did, even before eating dinner, was unpack the presents.
He bought several things from the local wood carvers. He’s gotten to know them fairly well, even brought them some boots, and because he’s a repeat customer they can count on, they usually throw in a few extra items. This trip was no exception. A package was labeled, “Gift from Martin,” and what a beautiful piece it is.
He also brought home a gift from Mrs. Kaponda, the newly ordained Nazarene Pastor’s wife. Jon was able to have dinner with the, now Reverend, and his family and she very excitedly brought him a chitenje for me. A chitenje is the beautifully decorated, waxen fabric that women wrap around their waist to cover their clothes either to protect them as they walk the dusty roads or they are worn as a sign of respect. They wrap a baby in them to carry them on their backs. Or they wrap them as a headdress or as a head-wrap to help them carry heavy objects on their heads. But, this wasn’t just any chitenje, it has the Church of the Nazarene emblem all over it. I put it on immediately and we’ve already sent them a picture, thanking her for this lovely gesture. I may just wear it to church on Sunday, just to see if anyone notices. 🙂
Finally, the one thing I had asked for. . .Dr. Maseko, who works the clinic being built, and an orphanage, and the new hospital and his own beautiful family. . .sent a Chichewa Bible home for me. When Jon told me that this was on it’s way, I cried. Not only because he finally had one for me, but because it was from Dr. Maseko himself.
Now, I’m not generally the kind of person who looks up how much a gift may have cost. But, I’ve been looking for Chichewa Bibles online for the past 2 months and have only located a New Testament (which was $4, but cost $10 to ship!) I noticed on the back of this Bible, there was an ISBN tag. So, in the interest of possibly buying additional copies, I googled the number. By golly. . .Amazon.com has this item for only $47.99!
Let that sink in for a moment.
That’s alot of money for a Bible. . I think you can buy Bibles for $15-20 these days. In fact, I know you can buy a New Testament at All-A-Dollar, for yes, $1.
I don’t know the average income of a person in Malawi. I know of one person who makes approximately $23/month. So, a Bible, in their language, costs TWO MONTHS WAGES.
How valuable is the Word of God to you? Will you please calculate your monthly income X2 and tell me if you would spend that amount on a Bible, so you could have it in your home, in your language? Do we value God’s Word in our lives to the point of scrimping and saving to have our very own copy of the text within our reach? Does The Word, so permeate our lives, that we are lost without It?
Dr. Maseko, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for this precious, lovely gift. I have already found the next verse I will memorize (from my friend Andrea, this morning, yet quite fitting for this post, since there is a verse that calls God’s Word a light and a lamp unto my feet.)
Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
Nyamaku, wala, pakuti kuunika kwako kwafika, ndi ulemerero wa Yehova wakuturukira.