Many of my friends know that in November of 2014 I was approached by two young women in the church youth group – they made a formal visit to me in my study – who asked whether I thought it might be possible for the three of us to visit Malawi some day. They had grown up hearing stories about the ways that God has used the people, the spirit, the challenges, and the gifts of Malawi and South Sudan to form my heart, mind, and spirit; they had seen other people who encountered God’s call in such travel, and they asked me to pray with them as to whether such a journey might be possible for them.
If you know much about me, you can imagine how thrilled I was with this question! That initial appointment in my study evolved into a series of discussions, which led to more dreaming, which involved more people, which led us into fund-raisers and orientations and great conversations with parents and grandparents and finally culminated in a gathering in our church basement at 7:30 pm on Christmas day, where our team set off for a Malawian adventure.
The original two dreamers, Carly Barnes and Katie Phelps, were joined by Katie’s sister Rachael as well as David Salinetro and Joe Connor. Our journey began with a drive to Washington DC where we spent the night in an airport hotel prior to boarding the long flight to the nation known as “the Warm Heart of Africa.” We endured a 13 hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where after a short layover we transferred to a five hour leg that led us to our arrival in Blantyre, Malawi.
Here we were greeted by my dear friend, Dr. Davies Lanjesi, along with a dozen or so members of the partnership team. Our entire group is being housed in the Lanjesi home for two nights as we adapt to the new time zone (Blantyre is now 7 hours ahead of Pittsburgh) and wrap our heads around the opportunities that await. We appreciate your prayerful support and ask God to challenge, confront, comfort, and mold us as we spend time with some amazing people in the days to come.