Preparing for Furlough: Greg and Christina Miller's September Update
Our last week in Malawi was even more of a whirlwind than usual as we prepared for 14 weeks back in the US. I had carefully written out the things that needed to be finished before we left, and most of those were done already, but somehow each day brought opportunities I couldn’t turn down. Monday we drove to the refugee camp to evaluate the last few months of our medical outreach with YWAM. We enjoyed one last meal at Rifiki’s restaurant, and I thought that would be the end of my work with the camp for a while, but I was surprised to receive a message from the leader of the government clinic who serves the camp. He wanted to discuss some things, including some upcoming stressors from limited resources and strained staff. Our conversation led to some ideas forward, which resulted in another meeting with a leader of a nonprofit and advocacy group helping at the refugee camp, which in turn led to a time to work with Greg pouring through grants and options for fundraising and problem solving to help current stakeholders work together to solve needs in the camp.
I was glad to have time to help with those projects, but there was also the need to discuss upcoming trainings in the village of Mngwangwa -a training in animal husbandry but also a training to show the chiefs in the area what the church was doing to bring hope and healing to the community. Much of that communication was done by texts, but it did include one long morning of teatime and vision casting with Thokozani and Nixon, and a quick review/write up from the work in the community so far. I didn’t finish as much of the work that I usually do, but we got packed and I met my most pressing deadlines, and I even had time for some meetings helping to give perspectives for the new leadership at ABC clinic. And our friends gathered around us to help us finish well. One came for tea and left us with lunch which lasted a couple other meals, then brought us another dinner on our last night. My mentor invited me to lunch while Greg was at his Bible study. A patient of mine, who is now a good friend, invited us to dinner and we had a wonderful, life-giving time. And another friend came to our house for dinner, and brought a delicious soup with her so that we had food through the weekend. At least four people asked if we wanted a ride to the airport, and three others went walking or jogging with me in that last week, so we could visit and keep fit even as time was limited. Greg and I left on a Monday, so we had a full weekend to rest before we left. It was good because we heard about the sudden but not unexpected death of a woman we had been helping in the refugee camp, so it was nice to have some time to process and grieve with our friend. Another friend brought us a delicious dinner on our last evening, so that we had plenty to eat as we finished preparations. And then we were at the airport, and then we were on a plane. We praise God that there were no unexpected issues with our immigration paperwork, and the flights were all on time. It always feels like such a switch when we go from one continent to the next, like we are living two different lives in some ways. But we were blessed to have a strong finish in Malawi, and to be able to hit the ground running as we connect with friends and family and try to refresh back here. This month, please pray for improved health and healthcare infrastructure in the refugee camp, for traveling mercies for us as we go to various states, and that this will be a time of rest and fresh perspectives. Thank you for your prayers and support, Greg + Christina