When I went away to college from San Diego, California to Spokane, Washington, I was looking for a new experience and expecting adventure. It is true that my experience at Whitworth shaped me more and my faith deepened. I also found amazing friends there; some who I have lost touch with and others that have remained close despite the distance.
When I came to Malawi, I came looking for a new experience, hoping that it would deepen my faith and I was also expecting adventure. All these things I have certainly found. I have also formed friendships that may fade with distance and time, but I am sure a few will remain close, despite the distance.
In both cases, going away has taught me that home will always be home. There will be no other place where I can enjoy the ocean that I grew up near my whole life. The ocean that I visited daily as a child. The ocean where my husband proposed to me. The ocean where I spent the fourth of July almost every year, playing over-the-line with friends. There will be no other place where I spent countless ours playing soccer starting from when I could kick a soccer ball. No other place where I took my first step, said my first word, squished mud between my toes for the first time, broke my first bone, had my first win, my first loss, took my first photograph, had a broken heart for the first time, considered the value of life for the first time, encountered Jesus for the first time…
When I left San Diego to step into this new adventure, I knew I would miss all the people and places that hold so many memories. I also know that new memories would shape up in Malawi. They have, good and difficult ones.
God has taught me a few things, or reminded me of lessons I continue to learn again and again. God has taught me that God will give the strength to live my faith actively each day. God has also taught me that when I fail, there will be grace and mercy for me. I have also learned that any good fruit that grows in my midst has not much to do with anything that I have done, but has only to do with how much God has done. I just happen to have been nearby to see it happen.
Yes, I will miss our friends in Malawi, and yes, I am looking forward to going, home.