Today was our last full day here in Malawi. Yet, despite it being our 14th day, Nathan still managed to get lost on our way to CAPA. Through many wrong turns, a few bumpy dirt roads, and sudden traffic, we somehow made it to campus without losing too much time. With our stomachs full of Bethany’s delicious homemade cinnamon rolls, we were ready to take on the day.
Today, our task at CAPA was reorganizing books and reinforcing bookshelves in the library. Although dust was everywhere and I was sneezing almost every minute, I enjoyed seeing all the books and resources that CAPA provides for its students to read and learn from.
Shortly after reorganizing a few books off of the bookshelves, the Ayres took us to Lark, a cafe owned by expatriates, for lunch. The cafe seemed to be tucked away into a back alley alongside an unpaved side street. But despite standing in the middle of a seemingly underdeveloped area of land, the cafe was quite modern in design, with a modern looking interior and a generously sized playground built next door — to which the team couldn’t resist checking out.
Lark is a cafe that serves a variety of drinks and dishes that are common back in America, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee. Getting to eat a hamburger with a cup of coffee reminded me a lot of home — although I don’t think I have ever had a meal of that combination.
After eating lunch, the team quickly backtracked to CAPA to finish reorganizing the final bookshelf. Upon leaving CAPA, a majority of the team sung along to a multitude of Disney songs on the ride back to the Ayres house (much to Ivanna’s second-hand embarrassment). I also managed to snap a quick photo of the sunset on the way back.
We arrived to the Ayres residence around 5:30, and after quickly changing clothes, the Ayres took the team out for dinner. We ended up going to an Italian restaurant in Lilongwe called Mamma Mia.
It was very cool to see authentic Italian food being served in Malawi. That despite being so different culture-wise, diversely ethnic foods are still enjoyed by Malawians. The team got a plethora of pasta dishes, and overall, I was very satisfied with our last dinner in Malawi.
Once we finished dinner, we made our way back to the Ayres house. Before breaking to pack up in preparation for our departing flight tomorrow, Jim and Bethany told us a bunch of stories — including how they met, and most importantly, how God has brought them to Malawi. I found it extremely encouraging to hear how the Lord has refined each of their faiths through trials, and how their trusting obedience in God has brought them to where they are now.
Spending two weeks in Malawi and serving at the Central African Preaching Academy has grown me in multiple ways. Getting to spend time interviewing students has opened up my eyes to the state of the many lost souls in Malawi, and the major role that CAPA plays in how the Lord is using pastors in Malawi to preach the truth.
Although I am drastically different than the students in ethnic origin, upbringing, and mannerisms, I have found that our faith in Jesus Christ has brought us closer than I could have ever imagined. The students at CAPA have encouraged me in their steadfast love and devotion to the Lord, and their sacrifices to attend this school only attest to their trust in God’s provision for both their tuition and families. I looked forward to sharing life and laughs with these brothers in Christ over these past two weeks, and I will miss them dearly.
The bond that I share with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ only became more apparent as I attended Reformation Bible Church on Sunday (Almost 7 days ago). Singing traditional hymns in English and Chichewa caused me to realize that although everyone in the sanctuary hails from drastically different places and backgrounds, we share the same God — and that bond goes beyond that of blood. Being welcomed into Pastor Newtons home and sharing lunch with both him and a few RBF church members only drove that point closer to home for me, and lunch was a sweet time of fellowship and laughter.
In addition to this, listening to Jim and Bethany’s stories and watching them go about life have also been a huge encouragement to me personally. During the first week of the trip, Jim preached on Joshua 5 at CAPA’s chapel service. Through exegeting the passage, he stressed that there is no better place to be than in trusting obedience to the Lord. Through trusting in God through perplexing circumstances, in our own daily needs, and even in the little things, God can use us mightily for His glorification. Both at home and at CAPA, Jim and Bethany’s steadfast trust in the Lord serves as a great encouragement not only to me, but to everyone that they meet. The Ayres family’s ministry in Malawi is a testament to their willingness to do the Lord’s work and their undeniable trust in His provision.
It seems strange to think about going home to America after being in Malawi for the past two weeks. My time spent here has been fruitful to both my faith and my knowledge in who God is and how He works around the globe.
Although it pains me to say goodbye, I know that thanks to God’s grace, we are able to see one another again in heaven. Upon eating dinner with a missionary family the previous night, their child uttered the words “See you soon, Uncle Jeremy” as I departed. And although I am fairly certain that the child was unaware of my upcoming departure, there was truth in his parting words. We may not see each other again in this life, but Jesus has paid the price for salvation, and thanks to God’s grace, we can draw close to His throne and be reunited with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ again in eternity.
This trip has not only opened my eyes up to how the Lord uses trials to work mightily in His people in the mission field, but also has given me the resolve to run the Christian race harder.
Because of this, I’m not going to say goodbye. Eternity is coming, I know in my heart that I will see you again.
Thank you so much for your love and support,