I am not one who would be high on a list of likely candidates to do mission work in Africa. A lawyer by training, a mother by choice, an artist by complete surprise . . . in my mind nary a useful skill to offer a volunteer group as goal-oriented as I perceived Marion Medical Mission to be. But something inside me stirred when I first heard of MMM’s work. I learned more, felt more drawn to it (although exactly what I felt drawn to remained a mystery to me), and found myself applying to be a volunteer. The rest, as they say, is history.
I spent the first week doing art projects with children aged from 7 to 19 at a school for the deaf, and the last two weeks installing pumps in fresh-water wells in the remotest of remote villages scattered over the north central part of Malawi. For anyone reading this who might have the need, I am now available to drive off-road (WAY off-road) 4-wheel drive trucks for you, but only if the steering wheel is on the right and I can shift with my left hand.
The Malawian people were wonderful and warm and kind. And smiling — in the most abject poverty one can imagine, I would always find people smiling back at me. I danced with women in villages. I sang and danced to African hymns in churches. I held beautiful babies. I hiked through sugar cane fields and banana trees, up and down mountains and across valleys on foot paths no wider than 8 inches. I held chickens. I touched the faces of hundreds of children. I taught several villages of children how to do the hokey-pokey. I laughed with them always. My heart was constantly either swelling up to new sizes or breaking into little pieces.
I guess my point is this: I feel incredibly blessed by my time in Malawi. I would encourage everyone to pay attention to those tiny stirrings inside them. Don’t ignore them. Stop and look at what is happening in their lives. Stop and listen to what’s happening in their hearts. In my case I am sure it was God reminding me that he loves all his creation . . . that he knew I could help show that love. What a privilege.