Today we continued interviewing the students during their breaks. While they were in class, we transcribed the interviews in our break room, silent, save for the soft tapping on keyboards, the rustling of snack bags, and Elliot’s incessant (but skillful) whistling. Each student’s story supplies more reasons to give thanks to our God, so I can’t wait for you all to read them online! 🙂
We returned to the Ayres’ house and enjoyed yet another wonderful meal together. After dessert, we brought out a second course of dessert as a surprise: a platter of cookies to celebrate Jim and Bethany’s anniversary! As they puzzled over the confusingly arranged frosting letters on the cookies (which were supposed to spell out “Happy Anniversary”), we sang them the “Happy Birthday” song, replacing “birthday” with “anniversary,” followed by the traditional UCLA eight-clap.
By then, everyone was pretty exhausted, so Bethany and most of the team relaxed by wearing face masks together. It was a fun time of bonding and of revitalizing our tired skin 😛
As we conclude this first full week in Malawi, I am excited by what we have seen and heard already. With each interview, I marvel that God called each of the students to CAPA and, really, to salvation. He designed each of their situations to bring them to Himself and lead them to the conviction that they need to know, obey, and teach God’s Word. They were once living in darkness and folly, but God delivered them into the light and transformed them into men who desire above all to know and love Him.
I hope this reality causes us to rejoice at our own salvation. It is a marvelous thing that God would choose to save us. On our own, we have no inclination toward God; in fact, we willfully disobey God and suppress the truth. If it were not for God’s great love, we would still be hopelessly dead in our sins and justly condemned to eternal torment. But all praise be to God that He has had mercy on us! Praise be to God that He has removed our sins from us, that He has not dealt with us according to our iniquity! He has provided forgiveness and restoration through Jesus. I am amazed and overjoyed when I reflect on the grace of God to save many sinners from every people and tongue.