Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Malawi: A defining moment

For the past ten years, my husband and I have supported a ministry that helps build water wells in third world countries. Even though our feet remain planted in the United States, our hearts and love extend across the seas to people--mostly children--we have never met. 

According to Life Today, 1.8 million children die every year from unclean contaminated water. For my husband and me, this statistic is unacceptable, because providing clean water is a solvable problem. 

A couple of weeks ago, I returned from a trip to Malawi, Africa. The journey over took ten years and two days. Ten years of praying and promoting and giving to the water effort. Two days of international travel that consisted of a sixteen-hour airplane ride to Johannesburg; another 2 1/2 hour plane ride to Lilongwe, Malawi; and a two-hour van ride to Mponela (our home for 6 days). 

Our team was wide-eyed and eager to meet our new friends in Malawi. The first place we visited was, perhaps, the most meaningful experience of my whole trip. 

When we arrived at the United Methodist Church in Madisi, I saw children playing at a water-well. This would be the first, but not the last, time I would see a water well in action. I climbed out of the van and immediately walked over to the well. Several children were congregated there. One boy was washing his clothes. Five young girls were filling their buckets and placing them on their heads for the long walk home. 

Several boys were just hanging around the well, laughing and talking. I'm not sure who was more excited--me, witnessing a water well in action, or them, wishing to have their photo taken with my camera. Whichever the case, we were all laughing and enjoying the moment. 

Job 42:5 makes a statement that became true for me, "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you." Up until this very moment, I had only seen pictures of children drinking, washing and playing at wells. But on this day, I actually met the children I had been loving and praying for the past ten years. My eyes had seen them. 

After one day, the long journey to Africa had proven to be more than worth the time and effort that it took to get there.

For me, this journey to Africa brought everything full circle. And although you may not be called to travel halfway around the world to meet children and families in need, you can contribute to the solvable problem of giving children clean water. Visit LIFE TODAY to learn how you can be a part of the clean water solution!