I was sitting uncomfortably on a wooden stool in a room with nine other missionaries, dozens of children and a few chickens wandering in and out of the empty door frame. On my lap was a three-year-old little girl named Janet with a swollen belly. She was clinging to me wearing only a red, ripped and dirty dress. As we sang songs of worship, danced and played games Janet clung to my neck and it didn’t take long for me to cling to her. I spent a month in Malawi and the month was full of those gut-churning moments. There are a lot of Janet’s in this world; millions of children hungry, hurt, sad and lonely at this very moment. After meeting Janet and sharing an afternoon I was changed.
There have been few things I have been certain of in my life and when my feet touched the ground in Malawi for the first time I knew God had called me there. It was like I could breathe deeper and think clearer. I believe that’s what happens when He pulls you in close as he prepares you for the journey he has laid in front of you. It’s almost if he was saying, “This is your time, this is what I’ve made you for.” I never knew love could consume me so fast but I fell deep for the sights, smells, sounds and the spirit of Malawi. The country became engrained in me and the thought of sweet Janet and her reality shaped my life at home in the United States.
Fast forward three years and I couldn’t ignore God’s will anymore. Everyday I thought about Malawi and dreamed about Janet. As a kid who grew up on a farm and was surrounded crops and cows throughout my childhood I always had a passion for agriculture and God made me with desire for the nations. But I never knew what that meant for my future? I was sure I was called to do something for Janet and for children like her but I also felt largely unqualified to do so. Which is how Restore the Harvest was born a year ago.
One year in and on top conquering the necessary paperwork to become a nonprofit we’ve accomplished some, learned a lot and grew closer to God. We were able to purchase a farm in the Lilongwe district of Malawi which we have used for test plots this year and a source of employment for local villagers. We have a hired a full time Director of Field Operations in Malawi who oversees all projects in Malawi. We have conducted four different agricultural training workshops, assisted a local village in building their first church and helped five young women start a meat rabbit business.
Year one has been so good to us and we can’t wait to see how He moves in year two. I’m not sure what it will look like, but I’m confident He will lead us and provide for us.