24 October 2010

A Beautifully Warmed Heart


I love Malawi.

The sun feels good on my skin.

The foliage is bright with greens and oranges and purples.

The sun sets behind chez Oliver, and I am moved to do nothing but be still and stare.

And, the best of all, the people I've met here are warm and friendly and beautiful.

As my friend Miss Ruby says, it's happy here. Very, very happy here.

It's so happy here that yesterday when I discovered at 9:30 that I was in charge of training at a writing workshop for the Malawi United Methodist publications team that was supposed to start at 10-ish, I pulled on my inner "hakuna matata" and somehow (and by somehow, I mean by the grace of God) pulled together a workshop. While Kara had asked me to be a part of the workshop a while ago, I was assured that I did not need to prepare anything and that I would not be in charge. Something got lost in translation, however. But I loved everyone in it so much and had so much fun, that it lasted until about 5:30 pm! And I was still smiling as I went to bed later. Everyone just warms my heart.

Then I worshiped at Galilea UMC, where I worshiped with the Pray With Africa team back in 2008, today. I hugged Montfort and Steve, whose family hosted me two years ago, and felt like I was returning home. I sang next to Tereza (or "Ma Katumbi," because she is my Malawian mother). I hugged Daniel and Francis, new friends who embraced me wholeheartedly because they met my sister Lanecia in March. Everyone just warms my heart.

We came back to the Olivers' house, and I played cards with Carter Russell and watched a movie with him and Claire Marin. The two of them are joyous, and I've enjoyed a couple of days getting to spend time with them. Jeff made grilled cheese sandwiches, rice and tomato soup, and all five of us enjoyed a nice lunch together. Yummy. So much warmth in my heart . . .

And we ended the evening with Ma Katumbi and Lucy, the founder of the Tiwasunge community of HIV+ persons who care for one another, coming over to feast with us for dinner. I love Tereza so much. And I have never met Lucy because she was not here when we visted Tiwasunge in 2008, but she has felt close to my heart. Her love for Tereza radiates, and I am so grateful for her in Tereza's life and in the lives of so many who are HIV+ here in Blantyre. I'm not sure that she knows what an amazing example she is for people all over the world through her ministry. I was honored and humbled and happy to feast with both of them tonight. And I'm also glad that Lucy could give me a good update on Ma Katumbi, who has been quite sick lately, and I could talk with her about taking her medication. Being with them is beyond heartwarming . . . and I'll spend the morning with them. Lucy explained to me that Tereza's son wanted her to come back home with him for a little while so that he could care for her. He lives many hours away from Blantyre. She would not go, though, because she kept telling him that her daughter Ciona was coming to see her. So she delayed her trip home until next week. Love, love! Love all around . . .

So I will sleep well this evening and look forward to the ways my heart will be warmed all week in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa.

peace.

1 comment:

larouse said...

YES!
I am so happy you are home, Ciona. I know Tereza is beside herself. I can just see that smiling face right now and feel the embrace of her hug as well as Lucy's.
Also glad you have met some of my friends and I know exactly what you are talking about when you speak of the sunset & those grilled cheese sandwiches.
Please be sure to let Malawi know how much I love them and look forward to the day I can return.
My heart is warmed by your words and the warmth I feel from your heart.
I look forward to a glass of wine in the Music City were we can laugh, cry, celebrate, laugh, cry some more and laugh some more about the places God has taken us and the stories we now belong to.
Love you beautiful Ciona.