The last two weeks have been a flurry of activity over two continents and three countries. It’s hard to believe that just two Sundays ago I was saying goodbye to my family in Dulles International Airport in sub-freezing D.C., and just last Sunday I was saying goodbye to old friends in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in tropical Nairobi. This Sunday, I will be worshipping with my Malawian brothers and sisters in the Southern region of Malawi, my new home.
I always find the weeks leading up to international travel stressful. There are a thousand small tasks to be accomplished, a thousand jobs to wrap up, and countless people to say goodbye to, all while mentally preparing to leave one culture and enter another. It was particularly stressful this time, as I’ve grown rather accustomed to spending time with my new(ish) niece and nephew on a regular basis. There is a great weight of anticipation and anxiety arriving at the first airport in D.C. There is anticipation of new things to come after the long journey, and the thousand small jobs waiting on the other side. There is anxiety for things and people left behind, and for the people and experiences waiting on the other side.
Despite all those swirling emotions, however, arriving in Nairobi always feels so good. Nairobi is the first place in Africa that I could call home, and it forever feels like coming home when I land there. The familiar Swahili and smells bring back countless memories, and the hustle of the city with its perpetual gridlock is somehow comforting. It was so good to layover there for a week. I spent time with my missionary friends and saw how the team is doing, celebrating their achievements and the growing ministry there. The week flew by quickly as I prepared my things and shipped them via cargo plane ahead of me to Malawi. I spent time with the Kenyans I worked with at MoHi, and visited some of my favorite restaurants as well.
Arriving in Blantyre last Sunday was new and exciting. A new country full of foreign smells and a language I do not understand offered a backdrop as I navigated customs and immigration towards my new teammates. This week has been spent reestablishing my friendship with Ryan and Justine Hayes and their two children, and forming new friendships with Ben and Becca Hayes and their three children. I have also been learning more about Namikango Mission and its current and future ministries.
As this first week in Zomba comes to an end, I am starting to get settled into the work here, as well as beginning to work on Chichewa, the language here. It has been an exciting few weeks, and I am excited to continue getting settled here in the next weeks and months.