There’s More About the Malawi Baby
In the picture, I am holding the first baby I dedicated in Malawi. His name is Henry and his father, our late CSM, died a few months later of “the sickness” (AIDS). His was an amazing story. His first wife went off the deep end at one period and began having affairs with different men. She no doubt got the virus and passed it on to Mr. Mpando. Mr. Mpando tried for a year or so to forgive her, pray for her, etc., but finally it got so bad that he sent her home to her village and filed for an official divorce.
Several years later he married his second wife, who is the mother of little Henry. He moved to Blantyre, was spiritually healed of the past and eventually became the CSM. I’m telling you, he did more work for the corps than most officers do. He was always there for me, he visited corps folk two to three days a week, and still worked at his home doing carpenter work. He brought me peanuts or sweet potatoes from his garden, and led the open airs with real Army gust
Then he got sick with the symptoms of dysentery, and eventually got sores in his mouth that made eating so painful he would cry. Every week when I went to his home while he was sick, he would apologize for not doing more for the corps and for the Lord. And he always wanted to sing “Yesu Addza Kuwerenga”-“When He Cometh” because it blessed him so to think that the Lord loved him so deeply that he was seen as a treasure to the Lord. He used to say to me that it will be a very wonderful day to be gathered into those loving arms. I knew he was dying, but I shut my bedroom door and had a very good cry the morning I got news that he passed away, both because I knew I would miss him so much and that I had then to go do his funeral, but also because I had a beautiful picture of him in total joy being “gathered close by the one who saw him as a treasure.” It can be very challenging working here in Malawi. But…I know the Lord is with me and giving me the strength, wisdom, maturity, creativity and raw guts to carry on. P.S. …I really don’t like the white hats very much, but my soldiers love them. And the problem is that they cost MK350, which is a whole lot of money. Most just can’t afford them, so they wear a mpando (a scarf wrapped around their head) with a burgundy ribbon across the front which has The Salvation Army printed on it. In all seriousness, I wear my hat in humbleness knowing that they are proud of me as their Abusa/shepherd and that their love for the Army is so pure and beautiful.