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  • Writer's pictureCarolee Villegas

I Want to Show The Love of Christ

Carolee Villegas reflects on serving with our team in Malawi, Africa, back in Autumn 2023.

RTH Malawi Ministry Partner Ennete & RTH Mission Trip Team Member Carolee Villegas
RTH Malawi Ministry Partner Ennete & RTH Mission Trip Team Member Carolee Villegas

Oh God, You have, once again, blessed my socks off. I owe everything to You Lord. Though I don't deserve all these blessings, You keep on giving to me.

The trip to Malawi is a long one but once I am in the village, hearing the songs and seeing the dances of welcome from the women, I am refreshed. Some of the children look at us with curiosity but that all melts away when we join in games with them. It's neat to have them teach me the Chichewa language and then laugh at my total mispronunciation.

Carolee Teaching on Children's Ministry & Leadership
Carolee Teaching on Children's Ministry & Leadership

I so want to show the love of Christ in words and actions.

I cannot stop smiling as Jesus fills me with love. And I am struck by the contrast in gratefulness between these people and those I meet in the US.

I have met so many in Malawi who are grateful for even the smallest thing. The women treasured the sanitary supplies, the small bar of soap and panties that we handed out. They cheered. When we ran out, they were so disappointed. I take for granted all the riches I have.

Oh God, help me to be more grateful for even your smallest gifts.

The kids are so excited to play games, to receive a ball and a jump rope to share among the many. Their joy fills me and shows me how my small effort can reap an ocean of benefits. God can use me to help others when I submit to His direction. In turn, I find a deep-down satisfaction. The people have so little and are completely dependent on the rain to bring them food. Yet they generously shared food with us when we had installed the water well, played with the kids and shared with the women.

Carolee & Tamara standing together with RTH ministry partners

God, open my heart to share with an open hand. Help me to give up the "mine" mindset.

The other concept that the villagers taught me was revealed in the precious gift they give their children. The moms carry the babies wrapped up on their backs and the babies are able to nurse whenever they want. They have no schedule that determines when to eat or sleep. It all occurs naturally with little trauma. There is a closeness and community that we so lack in our independent lives. I need to nurture those around me with my time and focused attention.

Lord, help me to be better at nurturing, as you have nurtured me.

Carolee helping to install water well for village

And then there is the water well.

The people either have to send the women off to bring back water from some murky source or send buckets down a deep borehole that is open to animal excrement and to the ever-blowing dust. We helped them get access to a protected water source. More importantly, we gave them access to the living water of the Gospel which showed them God's grace and love through Jesus who died to make all of us clean of sin.

All is not perfect in the village. Women are not always treated well. There is still a cult of witchcraft with its evil destructive side. I understood that if I only chose to see the bright and innocent part of the community, I would not remember how evil lurks in the world and that people are so in need of a savior from spiritual darkness. Satan seeks to destroy all of us.

Carolee leading eyeglass clinic

Finally, we went to distribute reading glasses in a village.

This highlighted how much I take for granted my access to glasses and reading material. I am impressed by how God gives us food, water, eyes, and methods to connect to others through language & expression, touch, and smiles. He gives us opportunities to share His love and His gifts. We cannot hang on to those gifts but need to let go so that we can truly get His blessings.

I want to show the love of Christ so I need to continue to allow Him to use me in whatever way He chooses. Then I will know fulfillment and joy. And the really amazing part is that He uses me just the way He created me. Wow.

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