Karis Koehn shares an update about their visit to Malawi with Sergio

Thank you to many for writing and wanting to hear about our trip up to Malawi. It was a long 12-hour drive, but fun and interesting as much of the way was new to all of us. After being on the road for 40 minutes, we had already gone further west than Sergio had ever been in his life. We were all observant, enjoying the interesting river names and all the baobab trees, noticing the
prominence of soccer fields everywhere, and loving the beauty of the Zambezi river.

Other places were so hot and devoid of anything green. Sergio had never seen large rocks and mountains. Malawi was similar to Mozambique, but a bit more developed with definitely a more “Christian” presence with various Christian schools and services. We were so graciously received at a missionary’s home in Blantyre. The wife/physical therapist took Sergio and me to the hospital on Monday morning. The orthopedic surgeon said surgery was necessary in order to prevent Sergio’s knees from being destroyed. He would like to do both legs at once and have Sergio stay in Malawi for 3 months.

We quickly began to see God knocking down the barriers that seemed to impede the way forward. The hospital agreed to put Sergio on the pediatric ward post op to lower the cost. Then our PT friend talked with Feed the Children who agreed to house and feed Sergio and his care giver for the entire three months for just $10/day. Manoel, one of our other Mozambican guys, agreed to be Sergio’s care giver throughout the entire time in Malawi. So, now we are working on details of the final cost and getting a passport for Manoel.

The entire trip took only 3 days, but there were other blessings as well. The missionary family with whom we stayed had had an excellent Christian book about AIDS translated into Portuguese and were needing the books distributed in central and southern Mozambique. We had plenty of room for the 1,000 books. Sergio was given the AIDS book our first day there, and he immediately began reading it. He was surprised to find out how many things taught in the community are really lies. God burdened his heart about his three siblings, none of whom know the Lord and possibly 2 of them are HIV+. Sergio has gone to visit them this weekend. In the past they have not given ear to Sergio’s words, but he’s praying for courage and opportunities to share the truth. He is also burdened for his teachers at school that they too would understand and accept the truth.

On the way back home on Tuesday, we stopped mid-way to visit an Angolan missionary friend and his bride. It was great to hear about the ministry they are involved in and encourage them in their marriage and upcoming birth. They were thankful to receive a box of the books to use in their area of Mozambique.

Purple fingers marked those who patiently waited in long lines to vote Wednesday on election day. The final count isn’t out yet, but preliminary counts have the ruling party winning again. The main opposition party has spoken out about the whole election process. In our community people seem cautious, what will happen next. We continue to pray for peace.

VARIOUS UPDATES:

My dad, Paul White, finished with difficulty his chemo and radiation treatments in this second round of fighting lymphoma. It was hard on his body, and he is grateful to be able to rest from the treatment. His final scan showed one spot of either cancer or scarring from the cancer. He will be checked again after the new year. We are thankful for the motivation and desire to keep teaching that the Lord has given him.

Rosario and Sara did remain strong and were not involved in the traditional family ceremony to “speak with the dead” that we wrote about earlier. They were pressured and threatened by Rosario’s dad, but they did not go or help financially. It has been difficult to meet together with this couple the last few weeks, but the desire of all is continue to learn together. We pray they will completely surrender to the Lord and be an example to others.

The Fuller family has gone to South Africa to await the birth of their third child. That leaves Ashley Ashmore, our teacher colleague, and our family in Lamego for the time being.

For those of you who asked about how you could help with Sergio’s surgery and rehab costs, you can donate through our Lamego Mercy Project with AIM.