I looked up into the night sky tonight and realized that the stars the I looked up at every night have slowly changed as a result of the rotating earth. The stars here are different, instead of the big dipper, we see the southern cross. We see the pale dust of the milky way. And the stars and planets seem magnificently closer. They are all changing, they are now in different places in the sky. I see these are representations of my time here. How in the beginning I only saw the things I was introduced to, and saw things for the first time, like the new stars above me. Now I am familiar with this night sky, and have grown to take comfort in the differences that it offers me from the skies above my head in California or the Rockies. I have been here every night, able to look up at the stars and slowly seem them move, slowly watch the world as it changes before me, but all with the comfort of seeing the same stars in the sky, even if they appear to me as differently placed. As I look into the face of my last week of ministry here in Malawi, my heart fills with a sadness that I didn't expect. This entire time most of us have been counting down the weeks until we were safe in the comforts of America, and at this point, I'm not sure the comforts of our lives in America outweigh the joys that Malawi brings me. My heart is not yet prepared to face the trials of home, which all of you have faced day in and day out this summer, as you have heard of my adventures, and kept me in your prayers, I know that you have all had struggles of your own. That you have all faced days of sadness and days of joy, days you wished you were somewhere across the world, and days where you felt completely content where you are. I have come to appreciate days that challenge my comfort and teach me to be open to explore the endless possibilities that my faith leads me to do, and I hope that you have too.
I regret to inform you all, that despite our prayers, we are not able to return to Muzu. Not even to say good-bye, or tell the children that loved us and we loved back equally or more, that we will be thinking of them, that we love them,and despite our unfulfilled promises of returning again. I know and completely trust that God knows what he is doing, and trust that the difference that we could have possibly made, has already been made. Please, keep the people of this village in your prayers, for they are in need. Of education, food, shelter, and protection of what they fear. Keep them safely in your prayers, which lay close to your heart.
My afternoons that were usually filled with Muzu, have been filled with various other activities. Last tuesday, I traveled around another village, with my leader, to take pictures of the family that she sponsors. I was an outsider with a camera, and found an easy way to make these ladies laugh. There are 5 Mothers, who had about 3 huge barrels of peanuts. They were taking the nuts out of the shells, then making it into flour. It was an incredible experience, the process is extremely time consuming and tiring. From taking the nuts out of the shells, to mashing them up in this big bowl, sifting through to get the bigger chunks out, etc, etc. We asked them how long this flour lasted them, they said, 3 days to make and it lasts 3 days. Wow. These communities share what they have, and take the needs of survival and turn it into days of laughter, joy and community. On Thursday, I took some time to go around to see what other ministries my fellow intern team has done. Two interns have taken a group of about 12 teenage girls, and have led a bible study. They shared their stories of physical abuse, and how it is important to stand up to someone, even if it is a family member. A young girl came with a story the next day that her brother in law was beating her, and she ran away to safety. She said that the two intern girls had given her the strength to make the decision to run away. Incredible. Then I walked into the room where the widows ministry was held. I was instantly greeted with a joyous song of welcoming and dancing. I went around and introduced myself to all the widows (40) of all different ages. Some in their 80's some in their early 20's with anywhere from 9 to 5 children. All trying to survive without husbands. I heard some of their stories, they were so interested in my story, and so thankful that I was able to pursue my education. Made me think, how lucky I am to be able to get an education, and it is time to take it as seriously as someone who has been given a gift. It wouldn't be right to throw away, but to cherish. So many eye opening experiences that I will carry with me all the days of my life. I thank you again for all of you who have provided me a way to get here, whether it is through financial support, emotional, or prayerful, it has all changed my life.
I will spend my time in the stars tonight,because I know my time here is limited. I am thankful that every time we want to remember God, we can just look up into the sky, think of how infinitely big it is, knowing that he can hold it in the palm of His hand. Remembering how small we are, yet he knows the number of hairs on our heads, and calls us by name. It is good, so good.
Thank you for your time, in listening to my rambling thoughts, you mean so much to me,