A very common question that people ask us is, “What is the thing you miss the most about America when you are in Malawi?” The top answer is always family and friends. It was so amazing getting off of the airplane and giving my mom and Dan, my step-dad, a great big hug. We even got to see some of my nephews and my sister and brother-in-law that day.
(Mark was so sleepy from traveling he slept through dinner)
It had been such a very long time since I had lived with my mom and Dan, I wasn’t sure how it would go. But it was an amazing blessing and I will treasure those 3 months. I am so glad that we got to do life with them.
We were able travel a little bit and go to Lafayette and Camp Tecumseh a few times, but pregnancy and a newborn limited our travels. We were not able to sit down with all the people we had hoped but we were able to connect with many dear friends of ours.
(Having Christmas with family a few weeks late)
Another common question is, “What is your favorite restaurant or store that you missed?” I have a hard time picking just one, but now that we are back in Malawi I would say that I miss the convenience and variety of America. I miss just being able to go to the store and get whatever you want or go to the grocery store and get what we are hungry for that day. I miss just being able to run through a drive through when it has been a long day. Or having lots and lots of options of restaurants to eat at. Just to show an example. Luke went shopping today and in 3 stores he could not find any sugar, flour, or bread. They probably will have it tomorrow but there was one time we couldn’t find ranch dressing anywhere for over 3 months. At my mom’s house we had a recliner in our room and Aaron loves to rock. Someone gave us some money and we were excited to buy one here. We looked at over 10 stores we could not find one that was not part of a set. So then we had to go to 3 different carpenters to have one made. It won’t be a recliner but it will be a rocking chair and it will take 3 weeks to get.
(These dear partners drove 2.5 hours just to see us)
Our calendar was very busy. We had a speaking engagements almost every Sunday and many throughout the week. This was a blessing to us to be able to share about our time in Malawi with so many people. We were able to meet so many new and amazing people and share our hearts with them. It was also neat to see Luke grow in his presentation and speaking ability. When you do so many of them you get pretty good by your 8th presentation.
In a previous blog post, Love Comes Softly, I talked about not really loving Malawi yet. While we were in America, I was giving a presentation to a wonderful group of ladies that made us many blankets and outfits for an orphanage here in Malawi. While I was giving the presentation and showing them pictures of our time in Malawi. My eyes filled with tears and in that moment, I realized how much I did love it here, how much this was my home, and how I really couldn’t wait to get back. I think sometimes you don’t know how much you love something until it is no longer in your life. I was blessed by my trip back to America to help me realize how very much that I love my new home of Malawi.
God has grown our faith so much on this journey. But I have to admit there are some days I wonder if enough money will come in this month. Sometimes I pick fights with Luke because I am struggling with the budget. I admit when going to America I had a few specific items that I prayed would be met by our partners. Mark is in a good school but there is a better school we felt he should attend for his academic growth but it was not in our budget. People had given so much we just didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask for more money. We were sitting down with a couple and they handed us some money and said we feel the Lord is asking us to give this amount of money to you and it to meet a specific need. It was the exact amount we needed to send Mark to this new school. Over and over again the Lord continues to meet our needs. This is just one of the amazing stories. We could share so many more. We are now fully funded for 2017, we still need to raise 20% more for 2018, but for this year our needs are met. For me, I feel like God wants me to fully trust him and then he meets my need, when I am fully content then I don’t have to trust him as much.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62: 5-6
While we were in the U.S. we were able to see Mark get baptized and publicly announce his dedication to the Lord.
We want to thank everyone so much for their amazing kindness to our family and friends while we were home. We have so many people that graciously gave to us in so many ways that we will never be able to repay. We were able to recharge now and again are raising up a hope-filled generation in Malawi that are devoted to Christ and actively sharing their faith and hope with others.