“Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (Hab. 1:5). I never think about the two summers I spent in Malawi without this verse resonating in my soul. I can still see the big smiles lighting up the kids’ faces, the giddy screams as we arrived, and the contagious joy from each Malawian. My heart swells with love for these people as I look back on my time spent in their beautiful country. I know without a doubt that God is doing an incredible work in Malawi; a work that many of us would not believe, even if we were told.
Everyone who takes the opportunity to spend time serving the Lord in a foreign country can attest to the fact that it changes his or her life forever, and I’m no different. In Malawi, I learned countless things about the Lord. Most specifically, I learned about His great power that works through us when we choose to trust in Him. God is not a God of ease or of comfortable situations. Instead, He calls us to step out of our comfort zones. God calls us to be awkward and uncomfortable, in total reliance upon Him. It is in these moments that we see His power.
Have you ever had a moment when you know you should do something, but every part of you wants to avoid the situation at all cost? This is the circumstance I found myself in during my first trip to Malawi. Every day, we visited schools and presented the Gospel message, with team members giving their testimonies.
I used to be controlled by fear. Whenever I entered a public place, I would feel sick to my stomach and faint. Because of that, the last thing I wanted to do was speak in public. However, I knew the Lord wanted me to give my testimony at one of the schools in Malawi. I battled these emotions for days, trying to convince the Lord it was a bad idea. In the end, I gave up fighting and told my leader I would give my testimony at the next school. Little did I know it would be the biggest school yet, and it would be all high school students. I’d just finished 8th grade, so as I stood in front of these precious students, my heart was beating out of my chest. I could barely breathe, let alone make eye contact with anyone. I could not do it on my own. I had no idea how to talk through a translator. But I said a silent prayer, telling the Lord that He would need to speak every word through me, because I could not get one word out.
As I finished my prayer, Habakkuk 1:5 came to mind. In that moment of surrender, the Lord revealed to me that He was doing a great work in Malawi – nothing that I could do, but that He would use me. The next thing I knew I was standing before hundreds of Malawian children, teens, and adults, giving my testimony. To be completely honest, I do not remember one word I said. Afterward, many Malawians came up and expressed how much they related to my testimony. I was awe-struck. I could take no credit for what happened. Why did I ever fear anything? Why did I ever doubt that God could accomplish whatever He wanted through me?
The Lord calls us to uncomfortable places, but I learned He will never leave us. If we trust Him and follow Him to places where we cannot walk, He will carry us for the glory of His Name, and we will experience His power in new and amazing ways.