In Malawi the people are very warm. They are loving to strangers even to the strangest of them (I'd say we're pretty strange, white people riding in a bus through their front yards, stopping to take pictures of their rows of corn and compost piles.)
Every place we have gone, we have been received with love.
What I noticed in every area was that the people treated each other just as lovingly. The children hold hands. They carry each other. They look out for the smallest.
Boys hold boys hands. Dads and sons. Middle school, high school, college, and the youngest.
Girls hold girls hands. Mothers and daughters. Sisters and friends. There doesn't seem to be a cut off age when closeness becomes inappropriate.
I respect and admire this about the Malawi culture. It's rare and wonderful to see.
Really, this week has been about holding hands with each other.
Organizations partnering together, churches partnering with churches, youth ministries with teenagers, teenagers with teenagers, farmers with farmers, communities with communities, putting our differences aside for the cause of Christ.
If we could just forget ourselves long enough to say yes to the way of Jesus.
It's important to be found holding hands in the love that binds us instead of competing and being unable to meet each other at the intersection of human need. Why do we let walls of division creep in muffle the important conversations and work?
The number of churches who have come together to meet the needs of the Mutendere area after the World Vision and NCM development program is finished.
They are holding hands.
Inspired. Encouraged. Edified. Ready to share what we've learned...not so much with words, but with an extended hand of love, friendship, understanding, and willingness to set self aside.
I can't wait to hold my daughters' and husbands hand. My friends and my colleagues. I hope that I'll hold hands with our church and community in a way that says, we are also holding hands with Christ.