Hello! My name is Denisa and I am part of the Hope for the Future volunteer team. We are now on day six of our ministry in Malawi and I was challenged to share some thoughts on my personal experience from this ministry.
Truth be told, I find it very difficult to explain in a few lines the richness I have found in the poorest place I have ever stepped into. It is too hard for me to describe the happiness I have seen in the eyes of the simplest and most needy people I have ever met… but it would be too easy not to try, at least for the sake of what I have seen and experienced and in the hope that a soul will believe what I failed to believe until I laid my hand on it, like Thomas.
To be honest, I came here with the thought and hope that I would change something but I ended up being the one changed. Somewhere deep in my heart, I thought I was capable and ready enough to make a change. But glory be to the One who intercedes with the Father for us, that He is a High Priest, full of mercy and compassion to the unwise and erring. And to give you a better understanding of what I am talking about, I will try to relate one of the many overwhelming stories I have experienced on the mission field, in the hope that I will not spoil the significance of the moment.
It was Sunday. I had gotten up early to get ready. As usual, I ate before going to church, thinking I’d have more energy, and got my clothes ready ahead of time, also out of habit. And now that I look back, I realize that most of my habits are related to my body. Without realizing it, I figure that if my body is fine then my soul will be easy to please. We set off for the church somewhere far from the city. The village streets are unpaved and full of potholes. When we reached the church, we were greeted with so much joy, all our brothers and sisters were singing and praising the Lord. Joy radiated on the faces of these people who had too little in the eyes of the world to be happy. Many of them went to bed in the evening on an empty stomach, but that did not stop them from singing to the glory and praise of the Lord as we have never heard before. Most of them have only one change of clothes for church and yet this does not stop them from beaming with happiness when they come to the house of the Lord.
In 1 Corinthians 1:27 God says that He has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. I don’t know how to explain the shame I felt the moment I was hit with this reality. I thought I was the happy and fulfilled one out there, after all I had no reason not to be, I had been taking care since the morning that my body was in a good state so that I could enjoy myself. Yet those whose bodies were clothed in the simplest clothes I had ever seen, those whose stomachs had been empty for some time, were singing and rejoicing in the Lord as I had never seen in a church before, and as I had never done before.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.1 Cor. 1:27
I wish I had felt this shame sooner. I am 22 years old and, looking back, I realize that my joy has always been conditioned by circumstances and yet the worst circumstances I have gone through cannot even compare to what I have seen here.
It is hard to describe the joy of the saints, of those who put their trust and hope in the Lord even when they have nothing left. It is hard to explain the works of the Lord but it is overwhelming when you encounter them.
I came here with the intention of teaching those who cannot read the Bible, but it is they who have taught me. I came with the thought that I would serve but they served me. It is precisely those who are looked upon as the weak ones who are stronger than I ever thought they could be. It is precisely those who in the eyes of the world have nothing to offer, who have given me what I could not find in the richest people on this earth.