I don’t know what I expected from my first few moments back in Malawi. Like God typically does, He completely blew me away. Three of the most memorable moments from my first week in country…
On the drive from the airport, my team was chatting with the COTN staff we just met or commenting to each other on the unknown surroundings. I just sat by the window and stared out at the horizon – a view that is now familiar to me. But for the first time, as I watched the trees and dirt and fields rush by, I thought to myself, “This is home.
On our second day in Chilombough village, our team exited the bus into a mass of Malawian children (aka the best feeling ever). Within seconds, I found two girls clinging to my left hand and an adorable toddler snuggling into my right shoulder. As our team starting leading group games, the little girl fell asleep in my arms. I sat down to simply observe while she slept. I don’t think there are adequate words to describe the joy I felt as I watched my students laugh, play, and dance along with the village kids, as I listened to this girl’s soft snores. Seeing Flood Youth fall in love with the country that has stolen my heart and witnessing my two biggest passions – youth ministry and Malawi – collide right in front of my eyes, I don’t think Jesus could have given me a better gift.
Flood Malawi is a magical place. I don’t just say that because I interned there last summer or because it’s affiliated with my home church in San Diego. It is a place so full of grace, so full of love, and so full of the mission of God, combined with some of the most genuine, talented, and passionate people you will ever meet. It had been a year since I’d been, and I was so excited to return. My first Sunday back was one of my best days of our trip so far. So many friends I got to reconnect with, so many excited faces to see me, and so many warm hugs I had been aching for. Pastor Sean’s kids (hands down the most adorable children you will ever meet) even graced me with their presence and sat on my lap most of the service. As I type, I know I cannot adequately describe the joy that I experienced that morning – the presence of the Lord so clearly shining down into my life. The best part of it all? I lost count of how many people saw me and exclaimed, “Welcome home!”
Home. That’s where I am. I know Malawi isn’t where I grew up, it’s not where I’ve made a life the past few years, and it’s not where my best friends currently are. But it is where God has called me. It is the place that warms my heart and feeds my soul. It is where He has surrounded me with people of peace and a mission-minded community. It is, for now, where I belong. Home.