Whoever said “Getting there is half the fun” has never traveled to Malawi from the USA. Getting there is tedious, boring, cramped, and well, not a little miraculous. I mean, really – the notion of putting all that stuff into a plane, with all of us and all the food and beverage and other supplies necessary to sustain our village at 36,000 feet for fifteen hours – well, that’s just magic, is what that is.
Regardless of what percentage of fun getting there was, that’s what we’ve done for most of the last 36 hours. After our drive from Pittsburgh to DC, we awoke on Tuesday and headed over to Dulles International Airport for a series of flights that took us from DC to Addis Ababa to Lilongwe to Blantyre. And in spite of the inconveniences that such travel occasioned, it was worth it when, after arriving in Addis Ababa, we connected with the three members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church who will be joining us in this venture. And it was sheer joy when we were whisked from the plane in Chileka onto a patio filled with members of the Limbe CCAP choir and representatives from more than a dozen congregations. It was a joy to see members of churches here – some of whom had ridden minibuses for hours in order to be present – greet and celebrate their visitors from the USA and South Sudan. And, oh, the fun of watching the South Sudanese revel in the singing and dancing of their Malawian sisters and brothers!
I meant it when I said, ndi wokondwa nda bwelaso kumudzi – “I am happy to be at home”
We came to the Grace Bandawe Conference Center, where we rested for a bit, enjoyed a few appetizers and soft drinks (along with a few more speeches), and finished the night with a team devotional led by Pastor Aaron Gordon. Tomorrow we hit the ground running as we do some banking and are then collected by our first host families. I’m happy to indicate that everyone is well and we are really feeling cared for.