As we board planes back to America, we say goodbye to the wonderful country and warm people of Malawi. Our mission has been a spiritual experience. It has been at times vivacious, endearing, strengthening and sobering. We will be home in roughly 30 hours, but already dreaming of the next visit.
We departed from the Linde Motel in Madisi Thursday morning and ventured back into city life in Lilongwe, the capital city and home to 1.6 million Malawians. It’s bustling and crowded.
Our stay for the night was the Kiboko Hotel, kiboko meaning hippopotamus. It was a lovely hotel with a garden restaurant and patio, outdoor lounge with chess and bowo, and hot water only in the evenings. Our fearless driver, Chifundo, shuttled us to a Korean restaurant for a time of debriefing, friendship and the excitement of safari. Our team spent many hours training prior to our trip and we have become close friends in the process.
Friday morning we hit the road and within a two hour drive reached the border of Malawi and Zambia. The crossing of the border was something new to us and very interesting. As you exit Malawi, you along with your exit form and passport go into the border office for a stamp and release. Then, momentarily, without country, you physically walk to the Zambia office for a stamp and entry. The currency changes, the language changes (even if just slightly), the flora changes and suddenly within a 3-4 minute walk, you’re in a whole new world. The Zambia landscape is dotted with round, thatched homes, palmetto trees and paved roads with shoulders!
After an hour at the border and a three hour bus ride, we arrived at the safari campground only to greeted by elephants! ELEPHANTS! The evening safari was a remarkable experience
seeing only animals we’ve ever seen in zoo habitats. The next morning we started the day around 5:00 am with breakfast and a sunrise background. Every sunrise is a refreshing and beautiful reminder of God’s continual love and admiration, something experienced worldwide, America to Zambia.
The morning safari was chilly, but refreshing. Zooming off in the Land Rover chasing zebra, impala and lions. We packed our bags and returned to Malawi later that afternoon. We bargained and bartered our way through the local market, gathering goodies to share back home. Dinner was Italian and a summary and congestion of storie
s from Madisi, the villages, ZOE projects, safari and everything in between. As we circled the table, we each picked one story to share from our time missioning and training in Madisi. Stories of love, stories of hope, stories of concern, stories of a mission God created for us. As we finished with the last person, we each still had so much to share we ended with rounds and rounds of profession.
I am amazingly grateful for this opportunity to mission with the beautiful Malawian people. They have welcomed us with open arms and loving hearts. They have prepared meals for us, they have worshiped with us, they have even only politely giggled when I tried my hand at dancing. Our God is supremely strong and graciously giving, and this trip has improved our understanding of a world and culture that may be distance in mileage, but will always be close to our hearts.
I am excited to share our stories, I am excited for those who will journey here in the future, I am excited to reconnect with our American lives, knowing they will always contain a portion of Africa.
To my team mates, team leaders, pastors, family, friends and church, thank you for this opportunity, thank you for allowing me to serve on a mission close to my heart, thank you for your letters and words of encouragement, thank you for your commitment to prayer, thank you for your listening ears as we return…zi komo.