A letter from Rachel Stone in Malawi
Family, Friends, and Partners in Mission:
We are very near the end of our first academic year at Zomba Theological College. Classes have ended, and the students are preparing for and taking their exams. Soon Tim and I will have stacks of exams to mark and return, and many of the students will head back to their villages for a few weeks of rest.
The second term of teaching was not without challenges. Several rounds of cold and flu cycled through our family, and cross-cultural teaching was difficult at times. At one point many of Tim’s students were confused—unable to understand how his lectures were fitting together and worried that they wouldn’t be properly prepared to take their exams. Rachel taught a writing class and faced similar struggles.
Yet by the end of term several students told Tim that, after taking the exams, they’d come to understand why his lectures had been structured as they had. A colleague reported that Rachel’s writing students had submitted essays for his church history class that showed a marked improvement in clarity. What had seemed difficult and confusing in the midst of the term came together into understanding.
So much of life is like this. It can be difficult to make sense of events as they are happening and frustrating when it feels like our efforts aren’t amounting to much. Often we don’t get to see the "happy ending" as soon as the end of term or the end of the season, but must wait longer to see what God is making of our efforts.
On a recent weekend we visited one of Malawi’s national parks, where we saw hippos, elephants, warthogs, impala, crocodiles, and more. In addition to simply being a lot of fun, seeing these wild creatures was a good reminder of God’s sustaining presence. Psalm 104 suggests that wild animals seek their food from God. They don’t worry about where their next meal will come from—or what the end result of their efforts will be. Similarly Jesus tells us that God loves to clothe the flowers and watches over the sparrow.
How much more is our loving God looking after us, even when our efforts don’t seem to be fruitful? Even when we can’t see where the harvest will come from at the end of the season, we can be faithful in sowing the seeds we have been called to sow. We are looking forward to starting the new school year in October.
Thank you for your faithfulness in partnering with us in prayer and financial support. We are grateful for you. If you haven't yet joined in supporting God's mission in Malawi, we invite you to come alongside us with your prayers, correspondence and financial gifts. We couldn't be here without your commitment.
Grace and peace,
Tim & Rachel Stone
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