Rev Bob Milne is a volunteer with the World Mission Council in Zomba Presbytery of the Church of Central Africa, Blantyre Synod, Malawi. Bob was commissioned on 24th February in Comrie Parish Church and will be writing a series of blogs during his time in Malawi.
I sit compiling lists in my head of things to do, then bin them as I remember other important things I had temporarily forgotten! Restarting I then try to prioritise them, is it more important to make sure the allotment is ready for spring or to make sure Sheila knows the dates for MOT’s insurance renewals and where I put the plumber’s number. All of which enables me to indulge my favourite pastime of procrastination!
My flights are a day away! I fly off to Zomba, Malawi, to help at the Theological College, lend a hand at Zomba Presbytery and also assist at Sadzi CCAP church from March to September. On paper it all looks straightforward until you factor in visa requirements, remembering to pack everything, selecting what books to take for researching the lectures and for good measure Sheila has just noticed the final leg of my return journey is with Flybe and panics till she realises that is not the same as Flybmi (I hope!) In short it’s all the normal preholiday hassle times ten.
Two things come to mind as I prepare for this walk with God Two walks other people have made. One a fellow student who applied to work in China as an English teacher. As she prepared for her assessment her Minister included in that week’s service, a hymn “Just as I am without one plea” that sent such a reassurance she went to the assessment event and, as the kids say today, ‘ smashed it’.
The second goes way back to my time at Selection School at St Colm’s in Edinburgh. St Colm’s had at one time been the training centre for Deaconesses and missionaries in the Church of Scotland and in the mid-nineties, the log books of previous residents remained in the room. I read a great many of the entries. One was a young woman in the years before the Great War she spoke of her fears. Would she be good enough for what God had in mind for her? Would she be able to do the work? A great deal of self-doubt but in the end she put everything before God in prayer. Her final note was that she herself lacked confidence but she had no such doubts in God, so happily she would go out into the world to do His will with confidence.
I have no idea where she went to serve but perusing the memorial tablet in the Chapel later I was brought up short when I saw her name listed. She had died less than three years after writing of her fears.
I too, look towards Zomba with a mixture of excitement and doubt but like her and my fellow students, I know that this is what God wants me to do so do it I will, but only because I know He is with me. Whatever my skills (and sadly for the College DIY is not among them) I can and will use them for the next six months to help His kingdom in Zomba and then on my return use the new ones I have developed to help Him here too.
- Rev Bob Milne