There are no words to describe the feeling of exhaustion at the end of a long day of clinic or bouncing down the bumpy dirt roads in the back of a truck, or playing soccer in the hot sun, or worshipping at church in Chichewa, or sitting on straw mats in a village. There are no words to describe much of life in Malawi. The poverty is incomprehensible unless you’ve seen it firsthand. The sense of community in a people rich in their faith is hard to imagine. But as we sit in church, voices lifted in praise in both Chichewa & English, there is no doubt that our shared faith can move mountains, that we serve a God bigger than the disparities between us. There are no words to describe showing up to the clinic at 8 AM and seeing 200-plus people sitting there waiting, knowing some of them walked hours to be there.
It can be overwhelming to begin the task of seeing each of them, along with another 400, in a somewhat organized manner by the end of the day. There are also no words for the sweetest of moments in the midst of the chaos & feelings of inadequacy. For close to 2 years I’ve heard about Juliet- a girl with spina bifida that VIP was able to bring a wheelchair to several years ago. This year, in the midst of a busy day at the clinic, Lucy pulled me aside and introduced me to Juliet. A smiling girl now in her teens greeted me, dressed in her school uniform. She and her mother had come by to say hello! What a privilege and joy it was to meet her, to see the way her life has changed because of the work VIP is doing.
Similarly, I held a boy with cerebral palsy as his older sister was seen by a clinician, and pondered the burden his sister faces as she must carry him everywhere. Despite this, the joy on both of their faces was unparalleled. I found out that his name is Blessings, and was instantly moved to tears. We were able to bring a wheelchair for him the next day, and the weight that was lifted off his sister’s shoulders, both literally and figuratively, was visible. Cue the tears again. It is moments like these where there really are no words to describe seeing Jesus here on earth. He shows up, on the dusty roads, in a busy clinic, on the face of a smiling child or a relieved sister, and in all of our lives. Leaving Malawi grateful and humbled, with the reminder to seek Jesus, even in these uncertain times.