Well, there is definitely no going back now—I am in Malawi!
My going-away party was amazing; I couldn’t have been more thankful to see everyone who came! I love and already miss you all. Thank you for everything!
My flight from Kansas City International took off at 4:35 pm on Monday, August 22, and landed in Blantyre, Malawi, at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, August 24. The local time in Malawi is 7 hours ahead of Kansas City. The trip was exhausting, but so worth it! Addis Ababa International, Ethiopia, was probably the most unorganized and confusing labyrinth of halls and waiting areas I have ever seen, not to mention that they switched our flights and added an additional stop on our way to Blantyre. Before the chaos there was a blessing. In Toronto, I was able to meet up with two other DTS (Disciple Training School) students that “happened” to be on the same flight as me. One of the DTS students was Janine, with whom the YWAM base connected me some time ago, and we had already ensured that we had seats next to one another. The other DTS student was a surprise to me. Breanna, whom Janine was connected to via the YWAM base, met us at the terminal in Toronto and ended up sitting just across the aisle from us on the plane. Having each other, especially through Addis Ababa, was a life saver!
Cool side note: From Addis Ababa International Airport, in Ethiopia, to Blantyre Airport in Malawi, we shared our flight with the Malawian Olympic Team!
Landing in Blantyre airport, I was suddenly hit with two very strong emotions; relief and fear. I was beyond relieved to be off that tiny swaying kite they called an airplane, and afraid of the giant hole I just dug myself into—that of being trapped in Africa for at least five months. After getting past the language barrier and collecting our visas, we hustled down the corridor to the street, in hopes that someone was awaiting our arrival. Sure enough, a man we now know as Charles held a sign saying “YWAM.” At the Blantyre YWAM base, I couldn’t have anticipated a more embracing welcome. The fear subsided later that day as I got to know some of the staff. Only two students had arrived prior to our coming.
Accommodations at the base are quite lovely. They include a swimming pool, garden, large treed area for my hammock, and a campfire pit. All of this is surrounded by six-foot tall concrete walls and continually patrolled by two security guards/gardeners and three dogs. The concrete walls are not a strange sight here in Malawi. Most families who can afford them have walls around their property, and dogs for security purposes. Power and water, on the other hand, can’t be taken for granted. On a good day, usually on the weekend, we have power from 5 pm until 10 am the following day. Shortage of power is causing the water pumps to be inoperable for extended periods of time during the day. In turn, that creates a water shortage and we have run completely out of water once already. Now we monitor the water reservoirs closely, throughout the day, to ensure water for drinking and cooking. We do have an emergency manual water pump on the base for drinking water, so don’t worry about us dying of thirst—maybe just from lack of showers!
This verse came to me while at a local Malawian church: John 5: 39 & 40 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” As I read it, I felt that the Lord was telling me not to get so caught up in everything that I miss the point that He is right in front of me and that I shouldn’t neglect our relationship. “If I tell you to go to Malawi and become staff, don’t get so caught up in how to achieve the staff position, for I will take care of it. Focus on Me and on our relationship. Also love; don’t forget to love! You are to be like My Son Jesus. The Pharisees were too caught up in the law, they didn’t see the Messiah right in front of them. Jesus, on numerous occasions, tried to gain their attention, but they had the deceiver in their hearts. They didn’t understand that while they were upholding the law, they were forgetting to love one another. They condemned, stoned, and banished people who broke the law, which pushed people further from Me. If you do exactly what I tell you, but you don’t share My Love while doing it, you do not truly love Me. If you love me, you will do as Jesus did. If you show anything but love, then you are showing favor to the enemy. If you fully trust in Me, I will be there for you. If you fall, I will catch you. If you are in peril, I will help you. If you are at a crossroads, look no further, I will be your wisdom.”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
1 Corinthians 13:2
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Janine (left), Breanna (right), and I (front) in a minibus, the main transportation in Blantyre, headed from the YWAM base to the market!