The Grace Center, Circle of Hope, Malawi by Lindsey Draper

First, I wanted to thank ONAAT for the scholarship. Without your contribution, I may have not been able to experience the Grace Center in Malawi, ONAAT tshirts in AfricaAfrica, and have my life forever changed.

On May 12, I began my travels to Malawi – after a couple long plane and bus rides, we arrived at our final destination on May 13. Despite my preparations for this trip, we encountered things we never imagined. Due to a robbery the night before, we had to change our overnight locations. Through these Lindseyunexpected hardships, our goal did not change. We were there to  provide healthcare to the surrounding village’s children. We did 8 days of clinic and saw about 600 children. We performed wellness check-ups and treated any other diseases or wounds we discovered along the way.  A common theme we discovered was malaria. We were able to test it with a rapid malaria test and treat the disease and any symptoms. It was hard to witness so many cases of malaria but I found comfort in knowing that the organization has since installed mosquito nets in the orphanage. During our days off and time not spent in the clinic, we had the opportunity to invest and love the children of the Malawi, and play lots of soccer! I was so inspired by the love and support that the children showed each other. I have been to different orphanages on other international trips, but no child captured my heart like Timmy. After careful consideration, my husband and I decided to sponsor Timmy. He is a five-year-old sweetheart whose giggle and smile can melt anyone’s heart! A sponsorship with Timmy allows him multiple meals a day and financial assistance with school and life cost. During my time in Malawi, I was also able to meet my first sponsor child, Edwin. My husband and I have sponsored him for 2.5 years and it was so encouraging for me to meet him and his mother. His mother and I were so happy to meet each other, she thanked me for supporting them and told me that she had our picture up in their house. This motivated me to continue to choose to see the value in short-term mission trips and sponsorship programs!