Dancing Lutherans

Written by Gaye Guyton

Although the term “dancing Lutherans” may normally be an oxymoron, today the seven of us were warmly included in two exuberant dancing circles. Worn dark hands clasped lighter hands drawing us into stomping, moving, joyful circles of welcome. In both the morning and the afternoon, we processed from village streets into a community meeting space wrapped in Malawian folk music accompanying the dancing. 

This was our introduction to two self-sustaining women’s groups. The first was a short walk away in Mgwayi. The women there were making bed nets until recently when their prices were undercut by Chinese imports. They are working on a new venture to launch a mobile restaurant— similar to a food truck — for people in the area who are such long hours that they don’t have time to prepare lunch. 

This afternoon, we met a group of widows in Mtsliza — young to middle-age — left penniless by the death of their husbands. Initially bereft, they retreated to their family homes until, as time went by, they came together for Bible study, prayer, and support. Realizing they had knowledge and skills, especially baking and sewing, they taught one another and now run a successful sewing business and dream of saving enough to purchase a freezer, rare in Malawi, to create frozen sweet treats to sell on hot days. 

And, always, always, there are children with big eyes and quick smiles, quietly observing or participating in the dancing and music wherever we go.


Written by Dick Shell

There is a lot of washing in the Bible. People are baptized and washed of their sins. Jesus’s blood washed us clean. And then there is the foot washing. People in the New Testament washed their feet whenever they entered a home. Mostly around Easter, we may practice that as a ceremony of humbleness and service. I was never really comfortable with that practice. But today, I washed about 150 pairs of hands.  The hands belonged to the children of Mtsiliza, Malawi. It was great. Symbolic and meaningful. I got wet and their hands got ready to put nourishing food in their hungry bodies. 

Greetings from Malawi

Written by Carolyn Shell

Today we visited a market and bought food for a family in Chilombo, a village community out in the country. Dick and I were assigned to help cook a meal for a woman with five beautiful children. We helped prepare the meal and then had time to visit with the village children. I had the pleasure to teach about 50 children the wonderful action song, “Hallelu,” which they loved. They got so excited they wanted to do some dancing games with me.  Then we started a tour of their area and I felt like the Pied Piper! Our guide, Ndaona, said there was a woman with a newborn baby and he pointed her out. He then astounded me by saying, “She wants you to name her baby. It would be good luck for the baby.” Wow,  what an honor! Dick and I agreed to call her “Sunshine.” The mother was pleased, and I was humbled.