This was Cherilyn W.’s third time in Malawi and the Lord continues to work in and through her experience. Below she reveals what God taught her through the beautiful people of Malawi.
As I take a moment to unpack some of the many blessings and God-ordained moments that occurred before, during and since my journey to Africa, I am blessed by this scripture: “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” Luke 21:1-4
This was my third trip to Malawi, Africa but my first ever “soul-stirring, life altering revival.” I’m not sure I can express my feelings entirely but here are a few things that stand out right now.
The people who live in Katsekera are some of the hardest working people I have ever met in my life. They wake up to spend the day working just to live another day. But, they do it with a thankful heart and a joy-filled spirit. They don’t see what they do not have; instead, they use what they do have to the fullest extent possible. What a lesson there is to be learned here! As I have closed my eyes on many evenings in the comfort of my bed, I have seen the faces of so many of the beautiful people I pray never escape my memory. I see Chauncey, coming to prepare food for us before sunlight. I see her 110 pound frame chopping wood with amazing accuracy and without as much as a sound.
I am reminded that all of our needs were met with a smile. They served us with gladness. I never heard a complaint. We never ran out of water to flush the toilet. Oh, did I mention that they built a toilet just for us? We had electricity in a guest house with bunk beds that were also built especially for us. Just thinking about the sacrificial love shown towards us makes me cry tears of appreciation and gratitude. They gave without expectation of anything in return. I would imagine that this is what “Serving with Excellence” looks like.
As I read Luke 21:1-4, I took time to ponder what my giving must look like to God. Sometimes, I give my all, but if I am going to be honest, many times this is not the case. This truth makes me ashamed. But I am grateful to serve a God who does not want me to stay in the “shame or ashamed” category but rather would like for me to recognize that as long as I have breath, I have another opportunity to get it right.
One of my most favorite experiences in Katsekera was the sewing class. I was a little nervous because I had NO IDEA what to expect. Thankfully, because of the generosity of others, we were able to provide each woman with a sewing kit that included needles, thread, threader, scissors, pins, pin cushion, buttons, and material. I came prepared to teach basic stitching techniques and how to combine pieces of material to make larger items…Well, I have to say, God was definitely in this class with us and the women had a ball. They all made infinity scarves while talking and laughing like we would do at a gathering with our girlfriends. But something else happened that I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint until later. God used this class a springboard to something bigger.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the women in Katsekera are the hardest working women I have ever seen. What this class did was give them something to do that made them excited. They were all comparing stitches and doing it deliberately and cautiously. They laughed, they smiled, and they joked amongst themselves.
Fast forward, on our final night in Africa, while we were in Zambia I rode to the gas station with Tilah, Rosalind and our driver. Rosalind and I went into a nearby store a few km from the gas station. I was intrigued by the beautiful items that were being sold but I was elated when I was told that the women in the community made all the items on-site. As we looked at each item, the women were professional and yet humble and kind as they answered all of my questions. After purchasing a few items, we left the store and God revealed a snippet of His plan and purpose for me when I asked, “What can we do to bring something like this to Katsekera?”
This is my prayer…
Precious Lord, our Heavenly Father, today, I give everything I have and everything that I am to You. I joyfully bring my possessions, my gifts and my talents to you to use however You choose. Lord, I want to honor You with every part of my being. Lord, let Your will be done in my life and in the women’s lives in Katsekera. Lord, be with us. Lead, guide and direct our footsteps so that nothing we do is in vain or with the wrong intent. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.