I've been back for over two weeks and still cringe at the thought of trying to put into words what Africa did to me. I tell people I'm still processing when they ask me how it was. I don't know what else to say. I have nearly a thousand pictures that I look at over and over again hoping words will come to me that will help me explain to others how amazing my 14 days in Malawi were.
I've decided my answer is simple. Malawi changed me. (A new phrase i've heard recently from people who traveled to Malawi with me, "gloriously ruined")
How could it not. I saw sunsets, smelt the smoky air, became friends with some of the nicest, most beautiful people. I fumbled around in a pitch dark night to watch falling stars in a sky filled with more lights than I'd ever seen (and as if the night couldn't have gotten any better, there were hippos nearby, grunting all night). I watched orphaned children sing and dance praises to God for "being on their side". I had good, meaningful conversations with new friends. I held babies and danced with children. I saw a lake that looked like an ocean, and got to sit and drink coffee and soak it all in. I hurt for those that were hungry and sick. I was encouraged by ministries like Children of the Nations, Ministry of Hope, World Vision, and African Bible College. I think my mom summed it up best when I called her from New York on our way back. "So, it sounds like you lived", she said.
I did. I lived every day. I soaked in every moment.
It's amazing how long a day is in Malawi, but how fast those same 24 hours go by here in La Mirada, California. I want to live each day, but it's so easy to be lazy. It's easier to be entertained by a movie about Africa, than to go out and be a part of the changes that need to be made in Africa. After a two week trip, it'd be easier to leave Africa in Africa. But I can't do that. I went on this trip knowing that when I returned to America I would be different. I would care about Africa. And I do. In "The Irresistible Revolution", Shane Claiborne says, "Don't let the world steal your soul. Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and deciding to do something incredibly daring with your life." I want to do that.
There are things that I want to be a part of, there are places that I want to go, and there are people that I want to meet, but I don't know how yet. I don't know how to balance it all. I still have to work and buy groceries and fill my car up with gas and all these things that seem kinda silly to me right now. So I guess I'm trying to figure things out. I guess I'm still processing...
My sister left today for Germany. She will be there for 7 months going to school. See what being an mk will do to you... we are forever travelers... forever gypsies!