We have been without internet for almost three weeks now. We want to apologize for not blogging sooner. We will post 2-3 blogs today.
I seem always to be blogging about the Kachere Prison ministry. That is due to my short-sightedness; spiritually, that is. The work we do at ABC has a much longer, more substantial impact and influence in Africa than anything else Westerners can contribute. But it’s easy to lose that sight. Indeed, its importance is more true to Christ’s image of the mustard tree. Our primary work at ABC is like roasting a pig – takes a while. Kachere Prison work is like fast-food – quick, easy, and filling.
At Kachere, the young men with whom we meet labored through a sermon I preached on the “Prodigal Son” which, more appropriately, is about the forgiving father. I told them about the compassion and grace of the Father in Heaven. Because of their crimes shame has gripped their families. And I could see in their eyes that they knew they will never experience that kind of earthly forgiveness. So let’s just say that I had a ‘captive’ audience when speaking about this kind of supernatural forgiveness of a loving Father.
Yet, our most interesting experience occurred when we were leaving the prison. In order to exit Kachere, one must venture through a small reception room (roughly 10 square feet). As we walked through, we noticed about 20 men seated on the floor through whom we had to wade toward the exit. As I looked closer I noticed a lighter skin tone, sharper noses, and more piercing brown eyes – each man looking almost like the other – than the Africans of Bantu origin. Well, it turns out they were all Somalian refugees, fleeing the wars in their homeland. The distance from Somalia to Malawi is something like the distance of Mississippi to Quebec. It’s quite a haul! They apparently were discovered by immigration, were detained, and will be sent to a refugee camp here in Lilongwe that (I just discovered) has thousands of other Somalians who’ve made their way here. So Malawi is becoming a refugee haven for those fleeing Zimbabwe (next door), Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique (next door), Sudan, and Somalia.
I think what convicted me most was as I looked into their eyes I selfishly thought, “Wow, that’s interesting. What a note of interest to tell people.” Then I realized that in their mind they must be thinking that they are standing at the threshold of hell. Nothing worth writing about, you know! Pray for them. You do not know them by name, but the Lord does.