Missionaries often live at the cross roads of multiple communities. Our work puts us in contact with certain communities, our socio-economic status puts us in contact with others, and our children put us in contact with even more. In Malawi, because of our responsibilities, the majority of our time is spent with the missionary community and a community of better than average educated Malawians. By far, the majority of our time is spent in those two spheres.
Saturday evening, through a friend of our oldest son, we spent time with one of the groups that we have less contact with. Our kids are pretty eclectic in their choice of friends. Many nationalities and religions are represented. We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we received the invitation to come to dinner at 8:00. Most of Malawi is in bed by then. Caleb was sure things would start by 6:00, so we held off till 7:30 and ended up being the second family to arrive. The hosts are newer to Malawi and were holding a sort of house warming. Their house is decorated by an interesting array of diverse art and Hindu gods.
By 9:00, well over a hundred adults were there, along with a dozen or so kids. We found we knew many of the guests from doing business around town. Many of them own their businesses or are the heads of the local division of an international company. The appetizers were plentiful and really good, many of Indian derivation. Dinner, a Mongolian stir-fry, was served around 10:30.
Conversation rotated around business, other social events of the weekend, politics and the upcoming elections (May 19). Our own conversations were more in depth with those we already know and at times brushed on spiritual issues as discussions about our occupation naturally lead in that direction. A different sort of opportunity to be a bit of salt and light in a community often overlooked by mission.