Namikango Mission

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What is your passion in life?

Nov 1, 2013

By: Rebecca Hayes

Someone once asked me, “What is your passion in life?” When I was single, I pondered that question and searched to find the answer. Here I am eight years later and I can finally answer that question with full confidence. My passion is being a wife and a full-time mother. When I say full-time, I mean there has not been a day away from my two joys since moving to Malawi.

Braylon, our active two-year-old boy, and Brooklyn, our eager-to-walk ten-month-old girl, are the joys that surround me daily. I am so blessed to watch them grow and to teach them daily. Since Ben’s office is just around the corner of our home, we are thankful for the times in the day we get to be with him.

The life of a missionary does not differ so much from the life in the States . . . except in a few ways.

I will try to answer some of the questions asked by friends and family about the conditions we live in.

Yes, we do have electricity, even though it goes out quite often. However, due to generous supporters, we have a battery backup system and can run, somewhat, on solar power when those outages come.

Our house is fully equipped with running water and showers and toilets. And yes, if the power is out very long and the pump stops we have no water. It’s a bit hard not to be anxious when there is no water and none on reserve. After about twelve hours the pumps usually come back on.

No, we do not all sleep in the same room like many of the local families do. We have separate rooms for the children.

Much to my own disappointment, we also do not have elephants, lions, giraffes or zebras roaming about around our house. There is a forest near our house and there are monkeys and birds and some snakes. We have our guard dogs that like to chase the monkeys.

We used to have a personal garden, but after harvesting the crops, we decided to support the local markets instead of growing the same vegetables local people grow here - tomatoes, onions, peas, potatoes, maize, etc. However, our Bible School still has a garden for the students to use.

Let’s talk about organic: We have the opportunity to purchase fresh milk from our neighbors, buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the market about a mile away, or drive to Zomba, about fifteen minutes away, where we can shop at the large outdoor market or at one of the small grocery stores.

In Blantyre, about an hour and a half away, we can shop at a shopping center that has a large grocery, a food court and even has a movie theater with American movies in English.

I do not cook outside on an open fire, unless we choose to go camping. I do have a gas stove which we purchased soon after arriving. The electric stove just wasn’t dependable with all the power outages.

We also have a refrigerator.

Although I would enjoy a horse drawn buggy, we use an SUV to get us around town.

One difference between life here and in the U.S., is that we have a house worker. If an expatriate family does not hire a house worker, they are looked down upon. This is the way it has been from long ago with the British influence in Malawi and many other African countries, because there are obvious tasks to be done running a home, which means a potential job for someone. Our worker washes dishes (they pile up fast without a dishwasher and cooking every meal from scratch) and helps me clean the house and do some shopping. In Ben’s experience growing up in Kenya, the two ladies that worked in his parents’ house are still great friends to the Hayes’ family and are visited every time they travel to Kenya. Such can be the blessing of having house workers.

My daily tasks are very much the same as any stay-at-home mom, except it probably takes longer to get things done. Cooking a meal usually takes me from thirty minutes to over two hours.

As for washing clothes, we have a small washing machine and dryer which is really helpful when using cloth diapers.

One of the greatest blessings of being on the mission field, are the people we get to host. We have had visitors nearly every other week this summer. We have had individuals, couples, groups, and families. It has been a real blessing to enjoy meals with people of all walks of life around our table and to allow them the opportunity to get a glimpse of a mission at work.

Even being surrounded by so many people and keeping busy with so many tasks, the sacrifice of being without family and close friends is hard on both ends. We deeply miss them and know they miss us.

We are thankful for our supportive families and friends. However, for our immediate family, we enjoy the slower pace of life allowing us much time to spend together. God is good.