(Get ready for plenty of photos!)
As our team looked back on the past week at CAPA, cleaning up the campus, interviewing students, transcribing audio recordings, and accomplishing many other tasks, we were inspired by the students’ interviews and excited to continue serving the students and missionaries. But our team was also excited when Tony McCracken, one of the missionaries and CAPA faculty, and his wife Santi invited us to join their family on a day trip to visit Lake Malawi. Caleb Ayres was also going to join us!
After a refreshing sleep from those face masks worn the night prior, we woke up feeling ready to leave for the world’s 4th largest lake. Lake Malawi makes up about one fifth of the country’s entire area. The lake is also a hub for biodiversity, as it hosts the most number of species of fish than any other freshwater body of water.
The moment we left the parking lot and walked toward Lake Malawi, we were stunned by the shimmering blue water infinitely extend left, right, and into the horizon. It truly looked like an ocean. We were awestruck by the gorgeous lake as we continued toward the shore, but were also a little confused because it reminded many team members of some beaches found in the warm Pacific. Were we in Malawi, or Maui?
Once we set down our bags, we ran down the soft, sandy beach and into the water. As we splashed in the waves and swam in the clear water, many team members were taken aback by something else: unlike the waters of Californian beaches, the waters of Lake Malawi wasn’t salty at all, even though it looked like we were by the sea! We all really enjoyed our time at the country’s treasured natural wonder.
After having lunch and playing at the beach for a little longer, we set out to visit the Malawian craft market, which was along the way home. Each vendor’s stall was filled with wood carvings, paintings, bracelets, and other pretty wares and trinkets. Our team members had fun interacting with the local people and looking at their excellent works of craftsmanship. Many of us got gifts for family and friends. Once we wrapped up at the market, we continued our ride back home through the countryside.
Later in the evening, the Ayres family took us to an unexpected destination: Noble China, a Chinese restaurant in the middle of Lilongwe! Jim told us that it’s the best Chinese restaurant in the city, perhaps even the country. The decor, menu, and even the room’s scent reminded me of the restaurants I’ve visited in China. Perhaps that gives plus points to authenticity? 🙂 Aside from the furnishings and atmosphere, the food was also delicious. Highlights from dinner include dumplings, lettuce wraps, and cashew chicken. How interesting…I never would have thought I would be using chopsticks and eating Chinese food in Malawi! With tummies full and legs tired from a long day, we returned home. We prepared for church that’s tomorrow morning and were definitely ready for bed.
Although we may be physically tired from traveling today, I think we felt rejuvenated and rested. We had such a joyful time spending time with one another and encouraging one another in conversation. It was nice to see another side of the beautiful country that our CAPA students call home on this earth. What amazes me more, though, is thinking about how our rest in heaven will be so much more awesome. When we are finally, truly home in heaven, God says “He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). There, we will finally be together with Christ.
It was a blessing to marvel at God’s beautiful creation today. It was a blessing to rest and hang out with fellow Believers. It is a blessing to be saved by His grace. Today, we saw a variety of international tourists at Lake Malawi and an interesting cultural exchange at Noble China. Seeing such a mix of cultures reminded me of how small the world can be. Though we may seem worlds apart, I’m reminded that we are all humans, broken people, sinners who are in need of a savior. Praise God that we would love us so much, that we would send his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, that we may have eternal life with Him. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.
“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.”
Thank you for reading and for your support thus far! 🙂
*Disclaimer: Carissa didn’t actually see a real rhino: it was just a wooden figurine she held up to the sunset!