Carol and Cayce met Greg and me (Kevin) in Atlanta prior to our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. During a five-hour layover we divided up group duties. Cayce will handle the finances. Greg will be the photographer (or historian as my wife’s sorority called it) and I got “blog duty.” This my first entry thanks to some help from Cayce, Carol and Greg.
Thanks to a long layover I think we all got a bunch of steps in. My personal total exceeded 15,000 steps 😀!
Why people do trips like this is always an interesting question so I asked my fellow travelers. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and the Church of the Resurrection has partnered with the local Methodist Church for years to develop churches, build capacity among folks both inside and outside the walls of the Church, help with orphan empowerment programs, provide health care, dig water wells and facilitate training on various topics identified as critical by the Malawi UMC. Our broader team focuses on economic empowerment, that is creating sustainable jobs.
Greg and I are specifically focusing on using local drillers and maintenance companies for the wells. Longer term we hope to help create orchards, organic gardens and other economic benefits centered around the church’s water initiative. We realize these kind of changes are slow and require developing strong local relationships – especially to spur on the sustainable efforts we hope to see. This trip is one small step in the process.
Why we go from a personal level may be harder to explain. We all felt a fairly strong nudge that this was something we were called to do. Part of the trip is clearly to serve as a catalyst to provide long-term development in Malawi but it also includes being a catalyst to encourage other Resurrection members to get involved.
Personally, I find that expanding my horizons and moving me out of my daily comfort zone somehow seems to bring me closer to where I believe God wants me to go. Cayce says these trips can be “transformational” for Resurrection members and our Malawian brothers and sisters. That’s a big motivation for him as he strives to be a catalyst for the “ministry of presence” with God’s help relying on the power and the movement of the Holy Spirit.
From my vantage point it’s so easy to become complacent and drift from my sense of gratitude and even purpose in life. Can a trip like this provide a “reboot” on my life so I come back more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient and kind? Can I develop a clearer connection with God on where I should specifically focus my time, energy and resources back in the US? I have been on previous mission trips and they’ve certainly given me a strong kick in the right direction and hopefully made me a marginally better person. Will this trip have a similar impact?
Greg noted similar hopes for a transformational experience. Coming from a region of abundance to a place more dependent on accessing basic daily needs, helps bring to life the need each of us have, to rely on God in every circumstance. On a side note, Greg has learned there is a mischievous side to Cayce that requires constant awareness to help ensure he (or anyone else in our group) does not become a victim of Cayce’s “Tom Foolery”.