Fingerprints: Creatures, creatures of habit, and new creations

This post was written by Mary Diane Deysher, the wife of Mark Deysher. Mark is the Executive Director at CURE Malawi. 

As we spend time in CURE Malawi, we see fingerprints everywhere! Fingerprints of pain and healing, joy and sorrow, friendship and loneliness, comfort and stretching. They are marks on the journey of every human soul, whether in USA, North America or Malawi, Africa.

I met a mom and her 3-year-old son who traveled a considerable distance to CURE (a 12-hour bus ride). When I met them, Amos was lying in his bed in a full-leg cast that extended to and wrapped around his belly. The casted leg was propped up. He was whimpering with his eyes closed. He recently had his broken femur repaired and had trouble getting comfortable. His mom and I made an unspoken connection. Since her English was good, we were able to talk a bit as well. Whenever I came by the ward over the next 11 days, I stopped to see this little family. I learned that the roof of their home had collapsed during a storm and injured Amos. The same storm took his grandmother’s life.

I wrestled with the reality of what this single mom would face when she eventually returned home. After a few days, Amos had a sparkle in his eyes and I was able to see the ornery sweetness of this little guy as he played with the other kids in the ward. On the last day of his stay, his mom, Gift, sought me out. I sat on the edge of the bed as she told me of their return home that evening. She asked me to pray for her that she would find a job when she returned. I prayed with her then, and I continue to pray for her and her son now. The peaceful sweetness of this mom belied her grieving heart. It did not begin to tell of what she was returning home to. CURE was a place of love, healing, comfort, and support. While she was returning home to her community, she was also returning to the painful reality and aftermath of a tragedy that had rocked her world. Her thread has been woven into my own story. I pray to meet her again in Malawi before we meet in heaven one day.

The day that Gift and Amos left, I also met a little boy named Noah. As the lesson was being taught to families from Proverbs 1:10, I noticed Noah was agitated and uncomfortable, like he was in pain, as he sat in his wheelchair in the warm and crowded room. His mom looked distractedly toward him. I asked her through a translator if it was alright for me to take him into the hall where it was quiet and a bit cooler. Thinking it might calm him a bit, we slipped out and I wheeled him through the hallway, singing quietly to him, and rubbing his hands. He soon relaxed and before long, he held onto my hands and opened his eyes, which had been squeezed shut with pain. I looked at him and continued to sing over him that Jesus loves him and that “little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Alleluia.” I trust and believe that the comfort of that tune brought the truth of words from a different language into the heart of a little boy like Noah.

We have accomplished learning to drive on the right side of the vehicle and the left side of the road! Observation: a clear sign of a new driver from the U.S. is how frequently the windshield wipers go on instead of the turn signal. Oh my! Thankfully, this is the rainy season in Malawi, so sometimes we have that cover, but the rains have actually been disturbingly sparse. We pray for the weather pattern to turn, bringing rains more consistently. We continue to hear concerns from those who have experienced the plight of drought and famine before, and for those who rely on maize as a subsistence crop, concern grows with each dry day.

Zebras

On hard days for us, we are trying to be vulnerable with one another, with God, and with others. We experience God’s fingerprints in that honesty in so many ways. We are meeting lovely people here who help us navigate the new culture. We enjoyed a time of fellowship and relaxation with the management team from the hospital and their spouses outside of work. We are sensing a draw toward a church community where both Mark and I have met people we look forward to getting to know better.

Mark and I are working hard to learn some conversational Chichewa. With the help of the hospital staff and those who work around the guest house, we are making progress. The reality is that, besides the age disadvantage for both of us, Mark is flooded with a million other new things to learn and process. We’ve heard that to learn a new language, one should get an extra two hours of sleep every night. (That’s not likely to happen.) So, we practice together daily and remain hopeful that these creatures of habit can indeed form new ones and that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Eph 3:20)

An eland.

CURE Malawi is doing incredible work with children and their families but is also faced with numerous challenges with personnel and processes. Mark is addressing these challenges daily, and in the midst of this there is joy. I hear laughter at almost every turn as I walk through the hallways. Co-workers, including the cleaning staff, cooks, pastors, and physicians, are aware of their purpose and share the love of Christ with patients through what they do. Please pray for continued growth in relationships with our co–workers at CURE Malawi.

Please continue to pray for us as we transition into feeling at home here with the things that help to make a place feel like home. We hope for regular routines of healthy and strenuous activity, some balance between work and recreation, familiarity and comfort in our surroundings, and growth in community. Also pray that we are open to whatever God has for us in this new season, and that in the new and different, we would rely on His strength and the courage He gives to venture out into where He’s planted us.

Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for our family.

Originally posted at: https://fingerprintsmalawi.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/creatures-creatures-of-habit-and-new-creations/


Photo of the Mary Diane Deysher

About the Author:

Mary Diane is serving in Malawi alongside her husband, Mark, who is the Executive Director of the Beit CURE International Hospital in Blantyre. Prior to their move to Malawi, Mary Diane had a long career in teaching, most recently serving as a middle school math teacher. She and her husband have three grown children.

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