Hope in the Dry Place

Brooklyn Lindsey was an emcee and evening speaker at the USA/Canada Nazarene Youth Conference (NYC) in 2011. In August 2012, she went with a group of youth pastors and high school students to visit the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) and World Vision partner project in Mzimba, Malawi. The project is funded by Nazarene youth throughout the U.S. who participate in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine program in partnership with NCM.

In the summer of 2011, more than 6,000 high school students and leaders packed into an arena at the USA/Canada NYC.

At another NYC 16 years prior in Phoenix, I received a call to do something beyond myself: to care for others. I would never have guessed that at the same event I'd get to call a younger generation to the same thing. What will you do with the love you've been shown? Who will you tell? How will you live? How will you get involved in loving your neighbor?

I shared with the NYC community about the Nazarene 30 Hour Famine, a youth program that gives students the opportunity to fast for 30 hours while raising money for the one in every seven people who don't get enough to eat every day. The money Nazarene students raise through the program supports the Mzimba Food Security Project.

Day 1: Seattle, Washington Our team met up for the first time in Seattle to prepare for our long journey to Malawi. Teenagers and youth leaders who had caught the vision of the 30 Hour Famine one year ago were now going to see its fruits. As we boarded the red-eye flight to Washington, D.C., I said a prayer, "Please let us see the image of God in those we meet and let this image give us hope."

Day 2: Three Airplanes Traveling to Malawi was a bit challenging. Through airports and on airplanes, I started to wonder if the travel would be worth it. The Doubting Thomas of my soul asked, "How will just looking around Mzimba help anyone?"

Day 2: 2:00 A.M., Lilongwe, Malawi I prayed that God would help me make sense of the purpose of our journey. God's answer, "Wait on me."

Day 3: Mzimba, Malawi Travel to Mzimba was exciting. Driving through villages gave us glimpses into the lives we would enter into soon.

Day 4: Our first day in the Mzimba Food Security Project area, we met a farmer, Joshua Nyirenda, who had been trained by NCM and World Vision to grow crops for his village and family. In this dry place we found hope; a place where green things grow, lives are nourished, and joy blooms. Silos are full. There will be food tomorrow and the next day and the next, simply because so many came together to help.

Later that afternoon, we drove to Emazwine.

Little did I know that the Son would be setting on our hearts as we stepped off the bus into the arms of our Malawian family.

The new Emazwine Church of the Nazarene received us with singing and handshaking as they welcomed us into their thatch sanctuary. The church was planted in the community after the Mzimba Food Security Project helped them learn new agricultural techniques and provided them with fertilizer and some livestock.

While we met with the congregation there, I felt God's presence and warmth shining into my soul like something I've not experienced before. This home was also my home because of the body of Christ.

Day 5: We met with 21 local church leaders from different denominations. They meet together regularly through the Mutendere Churches Forum, putting theological differences aside and declaring their unity in Christ, to support each other as they take care of people affected by HIV and AIDS. We learned the importance of partnership, of brotherhood and sisterhood, and that even though love can be messy, it's never impatient.

Day 6: When visiting various villages, we found very generous people. The wife of a farmer who was assisted through the Mzimba Food Security Project gave us their rooster. Accepting a gift is to grasp the love being offered.

Day 7: That day, we visited rental property built by the Mzimba Church and the Mzimba Food Security Project. The church uses the funds raised through the rental property to care for the widows and orphans in the area. We were surrounded by children and teenagers singing songs that penetrated into my bones. I was changed.

We went back into the sanctuary, and the children rushed to the benches inside. I picked up a little boy, Frank, who sat crying. He settled into my lap, and for about 30 minutes, I got to bless and pray over this boy who will be cared for because churches in Mzimba, Malawi, Lakeland, Florida, and in other places say "yes" to the great call of God to love our neighbors. I wonder how quickly we could wipe out hunger and hunger-related issues if more Christians said yes.

Brooklyn Lindsey is a middle school pastor at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene in Lakeland, Florida.

Get your church involved:
World Vision's 30 Hour Famine, presented in partnership with NCM, is a hunger awareness program where youth go without food for 30 hours to raise money to support a World Vision and NCM hunger alleviation program.

During the last four years, they have contributed toward the Mzimba Food Security Project in Malawi, a project that has worked together with Nazarene congregations and the community in sustainable agriculture, fish farming, and income-generating projects that support widowed women and orphaned children.

Holiness Today, November/December 2012

Please note: This article was originally published in 2012. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.