I can’t believe that a year has passed since I first set off to Malawi on a Tearfund youth group trip. I went with eight girls from my youth group at St. Saviour’s Church for two weeks to work with Tearfund’s partner, Eagles. I could never have anticipated the life-changing impact that this trip has had on my life over the last year.
Before I went to Malawi I thought I had a good idea of what poverty was like. I had seen stories and pictures in the news and I had heard of other people’s experiences overseas. However, nothing could have prepared me for meeting poverty face to face.
Going to Malawi really opened my eyes to the world around me. Suddenly all the stories of poverty from far away countries became personal. Instead of statistics in the news, it became hundreds of individual faces.
One woman who was a real inspiration to me was a lady called Faggis.
Faggis was an old lady living in a hut the size of a small shed with her five orphaned grandchildren. We arrived at her house to re-plaster the walls in preparation for the rainy season to find her house completely empty. We assumed that she had moved all her possessions in preparation for our arrival. We soon found out that this was not the case.
Faggis’ house was empty simply because she had nothing, no possessions, nothing. It shocked our team to see someone living with so little, however what amazed us even more was what Faggis said to us later in the day. When we asked her how she coped she replied “I keep my eyes on the cross of Calvary”.
Faggis has such an incredible, strong faith in God that kept her surviving every day. Our whole team came away with a new sense of the power of God and the importance of relying on God in everything we do.
Over time I have come to realise that although we went out to Malawi to serve these communities, we actually gained so much in return.
Our supportive church…
One thing that I loved about going to Malawi as part of a youth group was having the support network of my church behind us, both while preparing for the trip and when I got back. By going as a youth group it allowed my whole church to be involved in praying and fundraising. Although only a small group of us went, it allowed the whole church to be transformed.
Whilst out in Malawi, I felt that God gave me a real heart for poverty. Since being back, this passion for change has grown in me. Over the last year I have loved speaking to other youth groups about my experiences and I have recently spent a week at Tearfund doing work experience which has been amazing. I feel that God has really set these issues on my heart and I hope to pursue these passions in the rest of my life.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV
To anyone thinking about going on a trip with Tearfund, I would really encourage you to pray about it and jump in. You will have an amazing life-changing experience and you will be transformed from the inside out.
‘Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out’ Romans 12:2 (The Message)
Find out more: Tailor-made trips for your group