Give and You Shall Receive…

Back in the mid-80s, while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, Africa, I commissioned a local artist to create a tapestry incorporating my favorite features of the Malawian landscape – a small village, a Baobob tree, Lake Malawi, and a termite mound, all of which comprise the essence of this beautiful land. By the time it was completed, I had saved almost enough from my meager living allowance to cover the cost.

At about that time, the church I attended was asked to assist in the preparations for a city-wide revival meeting. The day before the meeting, I was helping with the setup when we discovered a shortage of chairs. There was no place to get them, except to rent them at a cost which, of course, was not in the revival budget.

That same day, I happened to have the money I had saved for the tapestry in my pocket, as I had planned to pick it up from the artist later in the day. I felt a strong message from the Lord telling me to pay for the chair rentals in lieu of the tapestry. I obediently did so and called the artist to explain the situation. I asked if she could hold it a few more months until I could once again afford to pay for it. She understood, but said she would try to sell it in the meantime. A week later, the tapestry was sold. I was sad, but at the same time relieved.

In the course of my work in Malawi, I was involved in landscaping and training landscape gardeners. One of the projects was at an Indian restaurant. The owner, Amina, and I became friends and I dined there whenever I could afford it. One evening, a group of fellow volunteers and I went to the restaurant. Just as we were finishing our dinner, Amina asked me to come into the back, as she had something to show me. I obliged. From behind a kitchen cabinet, she pulled something out and presented it to me, saying it was a gift – her way of thanking me for all the work I had done assisting her gardener with the landscape. It was the very same tapestry that I had commissioned!

Needless to say, I was moved to tears, feeling extremely blessed and grateful for such a loving and caring Lord!

Mark Schuch, RPCV, 1985-1987

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