The Great Adventure: Malawi
Salama! (Hello!) This past summer I had the privilege to attend an Apostolic Youth Corps trip to Madagascar. We were able to minister alongside missionaries Chris and Sister Paula Richardson. Under the leadership of our chaperones, the Enseys, the Huizars, and Sister Clayton, we witnessed 215 people receive the Holy Ghost, twenty-three healed including two sets of blinded eyes opened and twenty people baptized in saving name of Jesus Christ.
This trip affected me in a way that can’t necessarily be put into words. My bishop used to have a saying, “Change is not a bad thing.” However, this saying always seemed to be followed by a disappointing change. This trip made me realize that change truly is a beautiful thing. If you’re thinking about going on an AYC trip, there are a few things to consider.
You can no longer be complacent.
Complacency is the biggest enemy of a Christian walk. Before the trip, I had grown complacent—with my prayer life, with the amount of time I spent in the Word of God, and in my faith. As I sat up late one night discussing callings with a few fellow AYCers, I realized I am called to more than I ever thought myself capable of doing. Our fellowship turned into a fervent prayer meeting so loud, we woke up Brother Ensey. That night I realized if I want to fulfill this calling, I cannot live a complacent life. I can no longer be happy with praying every now and then or reading my daily plan just a few days a week. There must be a fire started inside of me that continually pushes me to pray more, read more, fast more, and to fully trust God.
Comfort zones become nonexistent.
Before this trip, I was afraid to talk to a stranger. The thought of public speaking would completely terrify me. These aren’t the best qualities for someone who feels called to preach. However, going on a trip halfway across the world with about seventy strangers is a great way to break these fears. God began to break down the walls I had built up and opened me up to minister to the Malagasy people. As I prayed at the altar with some of the children and young adults, the Holy Ghost began to move and change their hearts as well as mine. There is something beautiful about praying with someone who doesn’t speak your language and hearing that foreign language turn into a heavenly one as God fills them.
I also had the honor of preaching during one of the services in Antananarivo. Speaking in front of my home church can be nerve racking, but preaching to 800 saints in a foreign country with an interpreter for the first time is a whole different level. However, when I stepped up to the podium, all of my fears and anxieties about public speaking left. The only thing that mattered in that moment was delivering the message God had given me for those people. That moment gave me a love for strangers and a burden for their souls. That same feeling has stayed with me ever since.
Your perspective will forever be changed.
I was told that the culture shock of a new country would hit me the moment I stepped off the plane. While I adjusted fairly quickly to the sight of tarp covered houses and shoeless feet, the hearts of the Malagasy people took me by surprise. The Malagasy people have such a pure joy that it’s contagious, yet convicting. On average, they make about a dollar a day yet they dance as they bring their offerings to the Lord. I get so anxious about the little things. I worry far too much about all of the “stuff” in my life that I forget what truly matters. What matters is God. What matters is my relationship with Him. What matters is my conscious decision to serve Him.
If there was just one thing I took from home from the trip, it’s this: we serve a great God. No matter where you are in this world, our God is there to meet you. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All you have to do is speak His name, and it doesn’t matter in what language.
My name is Matthew Taylor. I am twenty years old, and I’m currently pursuing a bachelors in Mechatronics Engineering at Middle Tennessee State University. I attend Church Alive in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, where I’m involved in many ministries including sound and display, CMI, Hyphen, and youth.