LakePoint, Ga. - Lipscomb's Volleyball team completed a mission trip to Malawi, and several student-athletes shared their experiences through daily recaps. Read the final recap and all previous recaps below.
Malawi Final Day: Sunday Church
Sunday morning was the start to our final full day in Malawi. Some people decided to watch the incredible sunrise again, while others took time to sleep in and rest. We departed for church, this time accompanied by the medical team. The walk to church was more familiar this week. We have grown used to the sights, sounds, and smells of a Malawian village. Walking was one of my favorite parts about this place. Long walks allow reflection, observation, and humbling realizations.
Each walk I went on I had the opportunity to have a deep conversation with one of my teammates or someone new. Waving and smiling to people as we walk through the village, brings everyone so much pure joy. It's incredible to see just how powerful it is to simply wave and say hello to people, even complete strangers.
Arriving at church this week was different, because it felt more comfortable, as if we were part of the community already. The Church of Christ service was packed with people, both Malawian and American. The sermon was given by Wes, the administrator for 100x and leader of the medical team, and he discussed Matthew 23. This chapter emphasizes the tendency for Christians to say one thing and do something contradictory. We connected this message to our trip and how we will use what we have learned and experienced to show others at home God's immense power and love.
It is our responsibility to not just talk about our experience and tell stories about how much we served and loved on the people in Malawi. We must live out the love and spirit that we encountered and show people with our actions. My favorite part of church is hearing the congregation sing their hymns. It is the most beautiful sound. The passion and grace that they worship with is intentional and inspiring. Even though we did not understand the words, because it was in Chichewa, we undeniably felt God's presence.
One reassurance of the significance of the work the surgery team is doing here is when a few doctors and nurses had to rush out of church and head back to Blessings Hospital for an emergency C-section. The mother had been in labor for almost two days, and it was not moving along like it should have. The baby ended up being born naturally, and the mother and baby are healthy. The courage and strength of the surgery team is amazing, and I'm thankful to have gotten to be in communion with them for a few days. Their work and willingness to serve is a clear sign of God guiding and acting through individuals.
As we departed church, we made our way to the Lumbadzi market. There are probably 100 different stands selling fruits, vegetables, clothes, and other essentials. We stopped at the fabric shop, which is a 5x10 hut, filled with the most remarkable fabrics. Each pattern seemed to tell a different story, and they all exemplified the essence of Malawi and Africa. Next, we had to make a trip to get "chips" across the street before we headed back to Mtendere. On the way back, our group ran into a funeral procession. We had to reroute, but the extra mile walk was not a burden, because we were able to see more sights and people.
After lunch, we sat on the porch with some of the kids. I learned that we could be doing absolutely nothing, and we all have the best time. The sincerity of the relationships we built are rare. In the evening, some of our group went to watch Ronald and Francis play soccer. The walk to the game was not long, and the kids always walk along and we follow. Today, you could tell the Mtendere children were beginning to realize that we were leaving soon. Even though we did such amazing things this week, it is easy to feel guilty for leaving them. I know we will all miss them very much. Some of the kids were writing notes to us, and we gave them some in return. They treasure those little things more than anything. They carried them around at all times, and even though the English and grammar was not correct, the genuine love behind the notes were absolutely beautiful.
I personally became close with a 12-year old girl, named Ethel. She was quiet and a little shy like me. We could sit together, not say much, and still experience an immense connection. As it got closer to leaving, she would not take her eyes off of me. I realized that it was because, unlike us, she would not have a picture to remember me by. Her note to me was so sweet, and I know she meant every word of it. I can not say enough great things about the kids at Mtendere. They are polite, funny, sweet, smart, talented, and completely invested in God. The teachers, housemothers, administrators, and staff they have to support and love them are the most amazing people too.
Our purpose on this trip was service to the people of Mtendere, but I believe we received much more from them in return. We ask for prayers as we say our goodbyes and depart for our travel journey back to the United States.
Written by Morgan Elmore