A letter from Debbie Chase on home assignment from Malawi
Warm greetings and Palm Sunday blessings!
As we enter Jerusalem and journey through Holy Week we remember that the pathway to new life, changed life, resurrected life, and eternal life is through the abiding presence and love that often requires sacrifice, suffering and dying to give life to others. This is incarnation—being with others through joy and sorrow—sharing life—easing the heavy load—and rejoicing together in the miracles of life along the way. This is what it means to love one another as God in Christ loves us.
During these months of Interpretation Assignment as I travel from state to state and church to church I experience this redeeming presence of God incarnate through the people of God who are filled with warm and gracious hospitality and great love for the people of Malawi and me.
Yes, you are the body of Christ, present with the people of Malawi and me through joy and sorrow, through celebration and challenge. Your warm embrace and deep love, your concern and wisdom, and your guidance for the present and the future are gifts of life.
Through thick and thin you remain constant in your covenant commitment to the people of Malawi, making plans for future visits and sharing your lives and resources with them during these days when their local currency continues to devaluate, prices continue to soar, and many are experiencing hunger. You are God incarnate—you are the body of the resurrected Lord—giving life to the world.
My itineration has taken me thus far to Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, and many places throughout eastern Oklahoma. Soon I will be on my way to Wisconsin and Michigan and then on to the West Coast to share about Malawi during times of worship, Sunday School, potluck dinners, Presbyterian Women meetings, and small group gatherings of people whose hearts are on fire with love for the people of Malawi.
It seems that this love for the people of Malawi has created among us in the U.S. a strong community of faith that gives us life. As we gather together to share about Malawi we break bread and fellowship together. We share our lives with one another, creating a strong bond of friendship and love in Christ that is a firm foundation for sharing our lives with our sisters and brothers in Malawi.
The pictures with this letter portray this fellowship of love and life: In the first, PC(USA) mission co-worker Dr. Martha Sommers, who serves in Malawi, Helen Zimba, a Malawian who is now a U.S. citizen, and I share an embrace and rejoice in our friendship and the common bond that makes us one, our love for the people of Malawi. In the second photo are folks who came to hear more about Malawi as we shared a meal and fellowshipped together. Small churches come together, large churches form life-giving communities, and people of different races join in fellowship out of love for the people of Malawi.
This time of Interpretation Assignment is a gift: It restores my soul and keeps me centered in Christ’s love as we share the good news of our partnership with our sisters and brothers in Malawi. Indeed, it is in unity with sisters and brothers in the U.S. and throughout the world that God’s bestows the blessings of life.
I don’t know yet where the Lord is leading me after Interpretation Assignment, but I look forward to God’s wonderful surprises for future ministry. Thank you for your friendship, encouragement and prayers as you share with me this time of discernment. You will be hearing more as these plans unfold.
May enduring love bless us, keep us and make us one!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Deborah A. Chase
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 117
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I will ever remember you.I was sorry yesterday when I went to Theological College to learn that you are gone for good, is that true? If it is true then we (students that learnt at your feet) have lost a parent. In my case I will not forget you Reverend on your spirit of determination, hard work and love. For to some of us to hold a first degree it is God's grace through you. I will really miss you. I and my wife most oftenly talk about more especiall in her road to breast imputation which was broked by your hand. Rev Mvalo