I sat to write a brief post about how Malawi impacted my life in 2013 and thought this was going to be an easy task, but quickly I realized that it would be easier to write a book. To express all the ways Malawi has impacted my life could go on for pages, the lessons it has me taught are countless. This summer I returned to Malawi for my third trip. They get sweeter every time. It’s always great seeing old friends, making new friends, and loving on the children God has entrusted to Circle of Hope.
While I could go on for hours about the stories and ways I was impacted in 2013, there is one that quite clearly stands out. Following a trip to Malawi in 2010, a sweet little boy was named after me. After a struggle to find a name his mom would use, Eletina decided on using my middle name, Lee. It’s incredibly sweet to know I made enough of an impact on their family that they so desperately wanted their child named after me. This summer, I finally got to meet Lee!
We were enrolling new preschoolers that day and many of them were terrified of my white skin, as I tried to take sponsorship photos of them many cried and clung on to their parents, it was rough! But when I saw Lee come up, I went and reached my arms out asking for a hug and he instantly came to me. He let me hold him, take photos with him, and give him a little gift. Of all of the kids to like me, this was more meaningful than anything I could’ve asked for. I gave him a children’s picture Bible and a few other little gifts. A few days later his dad thanked me for the book and note, saying that they read my letter every day. How precious that they found a little gift so significant! On my last day, his mom came walking up the hill with a handmade basket, a gift for me, that sealed the deal…I was going to cry the whole way back to America.
I didn’t know three years ago that what I was doing was forever making an impact on a mother’s life, so much so that she would name her child after me. This summer I was struck with the realization that we have the power to impact a life, for good or bad, through our words and actions even without knowing we are doing it. That basket sits on my dresser as a daily reminder that God can use anyone, but chooses a nobody like me to make a small impact on a life, and in return my life has been forever changed.
I guarantee God has a lesson in store for you if you are willing to step out in faith and follow him to Malawi. It isn't too late to join a 2014 team, find the application here!