It’s crazy to think that two weeks ago we were in Malawi, Africa. Now that we’re back in the states and on campus we have had a little bit of time to reflect on our time and transition back into our “normal” schedule. Altogether we had four days of traveling, ten days on the ground in Malawi and for what? What was accomplished? What was the point? Is anything really different? I was ashamed to think these thoughts until I realized why I was thinking them. Satan loves to make us doubt the work God has done in our lives, and man did God work on this journey!
We were nervous. Thirteen hours on a plane is a very long time, there is no denying that. So while we were dealing with our nerves and trying to figure out what we were going to do in Africa for ten days, God was smiling down on us shaking His head because He knew there was no way we would imagine up how He was going to move that week. The first couple days were a little challenging for some of us because we had a very fluid schedule. Being student-athletes, we are used to every minute of every day being planned out based on school, basketball, eating, and sleeping. With that being said, it was hard for us to let go of our “productive” mindset. Because in all honesty, if you were to tell me to create a checklist of all the things that were materially “accomplished” while we were there, it would be a very small checklist.
Does that mean our two-day journey getting there and ten days on the ground was wasted? Absolutely not. We might not have built houses or a well (both of which are amazing things), but we got to be the hands and feet of Jesus to some of our brothers and sisters in Malawi. If you asked me point blank what we “did” on our journey, I would respond by saying we loved on kids, and mommas, and aunties, and cooks, and guards, and gardeners. We had the privilege of building relationships that we will never forget. We got to love strangers like Jesus loves them, and guess what? They sure weren’t strangers anymore. The quiet kids that wouldn’t come near us on the first day were the same kids that were writing us letters on the last day. The kids that were standing off to the side were the same kids pulling others to come join in a game two days later. Community, that is what was accomplished.
It is easy to say that I got more from this journey than I could have possibly given, and I think it is safe to say the same for my team. We learned to love each other, not on the surface, but for who we are at our core. We learned that language is not a barrier when it comes to God’s love. We learned selflessness from the kids as well as how to love unconditionally. We were reminded that as God’s children, it’s our responsibility to show others Jesus. How do we do that? Well, Alex Banks said it best while we were talking one night when she said, “Think about it, God tells us that when we pray to receive Christ that all of Jesus is within us. He takes hold of and makes a home in our hearts. But also, God tells us that all of Him is in Jesus, so when you think about it, all of God, and I mean ALL of Him, is within you.” So basically, we just have to get out of the way and let God work because Jesus is trying to shine through us. All we have to do is let Him. COME ON!! That got me pumped up!!
This brings me home, literally. This is what God is doing, this is how God is moving. Not just in Malawi, Africa. You don’t have to go halfway across the world to see God at work. He’s working right here in Nashville, TN every single day. He’s working in every single one of you reading this. If you haven’t seen Him, look around for a few minutes. Look at our beautiful skyline, or our breathtaking parks. Watch the sunset to catch a glimpse of His creation. But most importantly watch His people. There is something special happening in Nashville, TN. If you haven’t heard of “Awaken Nashville” I encourage you to look into it. Our city recently took part in some serious Kingdom work and it was incredible! Our team is working on stepping aside and letting God do the work, so that hopefully when people see us, they notice that there is something different. I am so incredibly blessed and so honored to experience this journey with the group of women I went with. However, I’m even more excited to see how God continues to shape us as we do life on this side of the Atlantic.
See you soon, or as they would say in Malawi…Tiwonana
Written by: Carleigh Short