Monday, November 29, 2004

Advent Service

The first Sunday of advent in Sweden was marked by all sorts of activities, and I took part in those around Brickeberg area, where I'm based. At the Brickebergkyrkan, our Bible study folk (The International Group) organised a service of carols, Bible readings and a short message. During the normal morning service we 'advertised' the evening function by playing two songs. I played guitar along with Walt from USA and Kevin from Canada, Viendo from Indonesia on the piano, David from Sweden on the saxophone, and on the leading microphones my classmates Angella from Uganda and Rose from Zambia. The only incident in the morning service was that someone trying to fix my loose microphone knocked off music sheets from the stand and put the papers back with wrong music on top! In the afternoon our team was invited for 'fika' at the home of one of the church's members Hans Sollerman. There I tasted 'glogg' a traditional Swedish drink for the cold weather especially during Christmas time. I didn't enjoy it much....the herbs put me off. But the cakes and cookies were great
The evening service went off very well and it was a reward for our faith in God and hard work. The church however was half-full, but our prayer was that even if one person knew Christ through the function we would rejoice just as heaven would!

I was especially glad to see seven of my other classmates in the audience. One of the persons told me earlier this year she doesn't believe in God. Another of the people who came is a Moslem. Bless the name of the Lord Jesus. The vistors stayed for 'fika' and we had a good time. Unbelievable, I will be going home next weekend! I have already started packing. God is good all the time.

Friday, November 19, 2004


joe going on a snowing Studentgatan

Snowfight at Studentgatan 32

Joe in the snowballswar

Thursday, November 18, 2004


'It's snowing!' Somebody shouted last night as we prepared to have fellowship dinner in the International Group of the Brickebergkyrkan, at Brickebacken. The four Indian girls, myself, my Ugandan classmate Angella and others rushed to witness this phenomenon we have heard about so much but had not seen before. It was fantastic to see the first snowflakes falling. I tried to call Mom again to tell her about the snow. Earlier in the evening I had told her snow could come on Thursday! The connection failed. On returning to the hostel, there was a thin carpet of snow on the ground and I felt good to walk on it. Snow..magic!! I eventually got through Mom and narrated the experience. She wondered if classes would have to be cancelled! Outside the dorm we had a snow fight. One girl insisted that I make an 'angel' print in the snow...yuk! After refusing for some minutes I yielded and made the print. I felt quite cold at the end of the snow play. Mike who some weeks ago despised God, took lots of photos and he also gave me two hats, a sweater and a polo neck-shirt! We went to bed some minutes to midnight and I woke up feeling exhausted. It has continued to snow today, it's cold--minus two degrees, but sure thing, the snow looks beautiful!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Father's Day Bash

Sunday was Father's Day in Sweden..I'm told much like the Mother's Day Malawi has..honouring your Mom and let her put her feet up for the day. The men at Brickeberg kyrkan cooked a fundraising lunch in aid of a community in the Central African Republic. We have four girls from India worshipping with us (what a blessing they are to me!) and one was sick on Sunday. Her friends gave me the 50 SEK lunch ticket she had already bought. Yeah..I did justice to the rice, chicken and icecream. The girls had grace in return for two of them won raffle prizes. 'Give and it shall be given unto you, a good measure....'

This gathering was in contrast to the dinner we were invited to at the Sveriges TV new studio in Örebro. A small lump of mashed potatoes, two pieces of beef, five fresh beanpods and some grave!!!! The Brickeberg lunch was a real solid meal with chances of 'some more'!!
A meeting with our professor today has resulted in changing my direction for my MA thesis...I will now look at how media covered the May elections in Malawi and not how public media ought to operate in a democracy. That's fine with me because it looks less involving. Snow was forecast for Örebro this week, but there is the sun up in the sky with blue skies!! Prayer point: God's mercies in transporting the
large TV and other stuff to Malawi in December. He is able, more than able.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Praise God I'm back from the trip to Finland! 'His mercies never end, Great is Thy Faithfulness' A gospel song goes thus. Our sea journey was smooth both to and from Finland and the waters calm. The ships, 'Silja Serenade' and 'Silja Europa' are fantastic..they are like floating hotels with shopping malls, swimming pools, tv, restaurants etc on board. It was my first time to travel by sea. What a blessing it was to be in touch with Eddie my brother through SMS from Örebro to Stockholm and even when 'Serenade' was leaving for Helsinki. I thought in terms of stability the ship was better than a plane! Within minutes of arriving in Helsinki, I was happy to get a call from my dear cousin and sister Chitsanzo. (In Malawi a cousin is considered as your brother or sister!!) We went sightseeing that day. Our host was the Swedish School of Social Science which is under University of Helsinki.
Monday and Tuesday were filled with crammed programmes of lessons and tours to a local paper and TV, and we also met foreign ministry officials. Mom sent two SMS! I felt so good! On Wednesday it was more hectic as we journeyed to Tampere by train. We visited Nokian village, home of the Nokia phone. I felt giddy and sick because the merry-go-round at a park was going so fast..but it was fun!! At University of Tampere there were two presentations and half of our group left by train to Turku. The others want to enjoy Finland more. At Turku we boarded 'Europa' to Stockholm, but we landed ashore 95 kilometres away from the train station. As the train arrived in Örebro, I felt so happy to be home! Yes Örebro is now like home to me. I miss Malawi but away from it, Örebro is my home. The boys in the hostel at the university seemed excited to see me back. Kiitos! That's how Finns say, 'Thank You' They are a reserved people, them Finns and it's an expensive country to live in. Viva Örebro, Viva Sweden!!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Finland Ahoy!

An SMS from my brother Eddie at 5am was the perfect tonic for this day. At 12.40pm I will catch a train to Stockholm from where I will board 'Silja Serenade' a ferry bound for Helsinki, Finland at 17.00. My class is heading to Helsinki and Tampere today to study one of the course modules in the two Finnish cities. I will be back in Örebro on Thursday next week alongside a few others. Some will remain to 'enjoy' the weekend in Tampere. Pray for me please. I'm quite tense and nervous, as I have never travelled at sea before. I phoned home last night to seek their blessings! Poor Gopilal Acharya (from Bhutan) who features in one of the photos on this blog, is not going with us. Somebody stole his bag in the second-hand clothes shop in Örebro on Thursday. The bag contained his passport, money and driving licence. Police are looking into the matter. As if that was not enough Angella Nabwowe from Uganda lost her flat keys yesterday and was crying (very distressing to me). The officials here asked for 300 crowns so that the lock is smashed and replaced. But in all things God remains good and we should be thankful to Him.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well Done Dubya..

I'm glad the candidate I rooted for in the recent USA elections George W Bush, aka 'Dubya', carried the day. I like his stand on matters of morals and Christianity. I pray for him that God will use him mightily to change America for the better. God is able...more than able. Congratulations to John Kerry for accepting defeat gracefully. That's what democracy is all about.

We have been largely free this week from classes. Yesterday we had a seminar on weblogs and their usefulness to journalists. Our session ran into trouble because some persons overrun their 20 minutes allocation which punished people following them. I presented my paper in ten minutes..I'm the quiet guy with few words..ha ha ha ha ha..

In the evening I found great joy to play the guitar in a group setting once again. The Brickeberg international group is leading worship on Sunday at the local church! I'm really sore about it because I love worship, but then I will be in Finland then. Nevertheless, I jogged from campus to Brickebacken guitar in hand, just to enjoy the worship as the group practiced...there were four guitars and a saxophone, and a number of ladies providing vocal power. I guess my time will come during Advent Service on November 30. I will play alongside the others and speak on how we celebrate Christmas in Malawi. But first I really have to work on my shyness with regard to public speaking.

I learnt on Tuesday that my Mom's former boss, Grain Msukwa, had died after a brief illness. I was shocked and sad. Mr Msukwa was a quiet character, full of wisdom and advice. Each time we met, the deceased reminded me he is waiting for my wedding day, an occasion he said he would be happy about and dance and present alot of gifts. May his soul rest in peace.

Today I went to the train company in Örebro, SJ, to collect a certificate to enable me to get discounts. I guess it's a good idea considering how pricey things are in Sweden! I also received my plane tickets to and from Malawi with lots of problems like waiting for 24 hours at an airport to make a connection!!