Suzanne baptizing an infant at Viyale Church in Mzuzu

Suzanne baptizing an infant at Viyale Church in Mzuzu

They told us before we went that we would fall in love with the children. They were right.

Shortly after I returned from Malawi this year, I was to give a presentation to a group of retired teachers. I decided to end the presentation with my favorite “kid pictures.” So out of over 2500 pictures, I chose 20. They were meant to move the hearts of the retired teachers. They’ve ended up moving my heart every time I look at them.

Little girl at the market

Little girl at the market

Looking at the pictures I remember the children at the Hard of Hearing School, with looks of absolute joy on their faces at the chance to learn. At a well site, I remember the joyful smiles on the faces of children who would soon be drinking clean water.  I remember the boy I met at the orphan feeding program, and the children having fun washing dishes at another well site. I remember the little girl I met at the market; I remember the child praying; I remember the penetrating eyes of the boy at the celebration.

When I look at the pictures, I don’t want any of them to go hungry, or to get sick because they have to drink contaminated water. I want each of them to have the basics of life, to have health care, a chance to go to school, and books to read. I want each of them to know how much they are loved. And when I look at those pictures, it reminds me that I, too, am a child of God, and that God looks at me just like I look at those children — with overwhelming love and tenderness.

Little boy at the celebration.

Little boy at the celebration.

When I look at the pictures — the faces, the shy smiles, the penetrating eyes — I hear Jesus ask, “Who will feed my lambs?” And I can’t help but respond, “I will, Lord!”