A letter from Kay Day in Malawi
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” (Hab. 3:17-19).
Dear Friends and Family,
These ancient words from Habakkuk have taken on new meaning for me this year as I have lived with my Malawian friends through the difficult times of scarcity of fuel, of increased prices and falling availability of market items, of government suppression and civil unrest, and now with drought and the fear of crop failure and hunger to follow. And yet, the trust of Habakkuk that God is present in the midst of all of the struggles is the faith of my Malawian colleagues—yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. While there is concern with these struggles and conversation about them, all of that is undergirded with the firm confidence that God will provide and that he is to be praised in the midst of all of this.
The testimony of this has been born out in Limbe CCAP (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) in the last few weeks. The Sunday before Christmas we baptized and confirmed 98 new members, a record for one service at Limbe. These folks had been preparing all year for this day. On Christmas Day we baptized 19 infants to celebrate Christ’s birth. These are signs of hope and trust for the future. The youth of Limbe planned to go on with their annual retreat. They saved money; they raised money in creative ways (among them a sponsored bike ride of 60 kilometers from Mulanje to Limbe); they assisted each other. As I write this, 161 youth are in Salima, at the lake, for their retreat. This is a record number of participants, in lean times. I was with them yesterday as one of the speakers and their spirits are high and their commitment strong. God provided fuel for all of this. On New Year’s Eve the church will gather for a night of prayer, to thank God for the year past and all that he has done and to pray for his continued protection and provision for 2012. The congregation will praise and pray all night and end with a worship service on New Year’s Day. While this is happening at Limbe, the same types of programs are happening in churches all over Malawi. No one is allowing the economy or politics or the weather to affect their praise of God for his provision in the past year or their trust in him for the future.
As we approach the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, my hope is that you too are focusing on where God has been at work in the struggles of the year and where you will trust him for the coming of the New Year. We know there will be struggles, but may our confidence be the same as Habakkuk’s: The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
Blessed New Year,
Kay (Cathie to the family)
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 106