Well, I have passed the halfway point of my mission trip here in Malawi, Africa. I have many feelings about meeting the halfway point of this trip.
The first feeling is, honestly, excitement. The reason being is I’m ready to see my friends and family, and to eat a burger from In-N-Out. Oh, and I am exhausted. It’s the end of week four and all the emotions are sometimes overwhelming, so I am ready for a break.
Now do not get me wrong. I love Malawi. I love the culture, the landscape, the babies, and the work that I do. The culture here flourishes with happiness and kindness. I have not run into one angry Malawian. They are all so sweet and are so grateful for the work that the NGOs do here. The landscape is absolutely the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The best way I can describe it is kind of like the grasslands of central Texas but with some deserty plants and wild life (monkeys). Now in the mountains its jungle, with jungle birds and monkeys. I love the monkeys, not the baboons, those are scary. The babies are beautiful here. It kills me to see the starving babies, and the babies that are on the brink of death. I wish I could keep every single one of them. All the Malawians are naturally beautiful. The work I do is great. I love seeing the before and after stories of the babies in our program, but sometimes there are not good endings.
But the reason that I am going to be terribly sad and am going to miss Malawi is I have fallen in love with this country. I have yet to meet a Malawian that is not grateful for even a cup of rice. These people make the most of the very little they have, and I am actually somewhat jealous of that. We Americans do not have that gratitude. We take the dollar menu cheeseburger from McDonald’s for granted, while they eat boiled maize flower and sugar cane. I want what they have. Not physically, but spiritually. They have God in a way that we do not. I am striving to what they have in God. Even in the seasons where they are in pain surrounded by death, they praise God in a way that is very hard for me. It is hard for me to praise God when I am hurting or am sad, but they still do it every day. I want to be like them.
Today, three weeks from my departure, I worked in a dental office at African Bible College. I was shocked by how old and worn the equipment is, and how much lack of modern pain meds and technology that is non-existent in that office. This was my first day in my, God willing, long career as a dentist, and I was already helping extract teeth, cleaning teeth, and put a filling in because they have very few people in Malawi that know how to work on a tooth. This past school year, I had to write a senior thesis. I bet you are wondering why that just came out of my mouth (well why I randomly wrote that down), but it was about how if one experiences physical pain they could never be a truly happy person, and I was right. I saw people from the age of 5 to 40 that had rotting teeth that were in so much pain that they (the older ones at least) drank to try to numb the pain. If you know me, I HATE seeing people in pain, so today as I was helping in the healing process, I realized that, yes, this is what I am supposed to do in life.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7
Even though I know that missions is a big part of my life, I was starting to doubt if Africa was really going to be home. It is home. I just needed to see how much pain the people are in here. My hatred of pain and my faithfulness to God has convinced me to give up my life for myself and do His work here. It is the biggest step of faith I am making, and sadly it may cause me to lose some people that I love or hurt people’s feelings, but I don’t care. This is what I am supposed to do, and I am going to do it. I just need to do my part in God’s plan, and that is going to dental school and then bringing the knowledge and technology over here.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is in the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
So I guess in a way, this is my announcement that I will be an international missionary.
I am very thankful that God showed me what I am going to do when I am 18 years old. I am very impatient and thankfully he told me early what I am going to do so I didn’t have to be impatient for too long.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all has died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15