Very Welcome to Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa

As we walked down the stairs that led from the airplane to the tarmac, the warm Malawian sun hit our faces and the breeze swept through our hair. This is a warm time of the year here, so the fleeces that had been with us for our air-conditioned journey thus far were removed promptly. I was planning to change into a skirt and more appropriate attire so that when we met our church I would feel less like an outsider. I’m not sure if it would have made a difference. I felt so very welcome as soon as we met our church family here. After we made it across the landing strip, the group of travelers formed a blob and made our way to the passport check. I noticed that in just the few years since I had come, they had built rectangular boxes where the employees checking passports were located (This used to be a desk and a chair). Our eyes searched over and around the blob of people surrounding us, for a familiar face. Finally, as we neared the boxes, we could see through the glass encasement that Vasco and a group of elders stood waiting to meet us. My smile remained fixed on my face as we continued through. We were met with smiles, handshakes, hugs, and all of my anxieties quickly melted away. We were home.

These men helped us with our luggage and moved us quickly through the next checkpoint. Then we met the Women’s Guild. They were singing a welcome song that filled up the airport entrance. I felt humbled and safe with them, quite unworthy of the blessing of both their presence and beautiful song. We shook more hands and met more smiling people. From there, we entered a car and our luggage was carried to a minibus to be carried to the next destination. After we had our seatbelts on and were settled, we found out there would be a reception at the church with more women and some men to greet us. We also found out that the house was not ready for us, that the church was finishing up some repairs, so, for the duration, we would be staying at a hotel near the church.

When we arrived at the church, they greeted us with more singing and we all entered to the band playing music. The service included greetings from various elders mingled with more song, and prayer. This welcome reception lasted just over an hour. Afterwards, we were taken to manse number one, where we were served dinner together with many members and elders from the church. The food was delicious and I was pretty hungry by this time. During dinner, I talked some, but I was having a difficult time trying to think, after the thirty-two hours of traveling. Noticing that the sun was lowering in the sky, one of the elders made known it was time to travel to the hotel where we would be sleeping. As we entered the hotel reception area, I was humbled once again. I was beginning to expect that the generosity and kindness of this day would continue as we learn to live in this community…

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5 Comments

Filed under adventures, environment, Malawi

5 responses to “Very Welcome to Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa

  1. Glad to see that you arrived safely!! We have been praying for you and are so happy to hear that things are off to such an encouraging and uplifting start! We so enjoyed our time with you, and again were so blessed that you decided to make the trip all the way up to Leicester to see us. We will continue to uphold you both in prayer. We love you!!
    Ally & Simon

  2. Mom

    You paint a wonderful word picture for us! Your welcome seems just as Vasco (Davidson?)predicted. Talked to your mom tonight about your skype contact today. We continue to pray for a smooth transition. It is mindboggling to know that our prayers for you are in harmony with those from our brothers and sisters in Africa.
    Love,
    Mom

  3. Suzy

    Hi love,
    So great to hear you landed safe and are all smiles. Keep posting, Matt and I will be reading!
    Love and hugs
    Suzy Marinkovich

  4. The boys and I have been praying for “Miss Hailey & Mr. Dave” at bedtime. We won’t stop! 🙂 Sarah

  5. Sarabeth

    Hailey, I got teary eyed as I was reading how wonderfully you were welcomed and how you felt safe with the people. I am soo happy to hear that! Joel and I will be praying for the things on your prayer list. I’m glad you were able to visit just two weeks ago, it helps remind me to pray more.
    Blessings!
    Sarabeth and Joel Templin

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