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Malawi (Med) Summer 2023 - Alyssa's Story

July 19, 2023

Lipscomb Missions and Blessings Hospital staff group picture

Lipscomb students and Blessings Hospital staff

I was sitting in the Beaman library in mid-November when I received the email that I, along with three other nursing students and a pharmacy student, had been accepted on the May ‘23 medical mission trip to Malawi, Africa. I was full of excitement and a little nervous as the day we left grew closer. Looking back now, little did  I know the power of Christ I and the other Lipscomb students would witness and be a part of on the other side of the world. 

Malawi, a southeastern African country, is known as the “warm heart of Africa.” Four other Lipscomb students and I had the incredible opportunity to experience the welcoming, hospitable, and genuine kindness of their culture firsthand with the help of the Sara Walker Foundation. Our time there was full of growth, relationship bonding, and caring for others all in the name of Christ.

The Sara Walker Foundation, started by Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, honors the life of Lipscomb alumna Sara Walker. Walker was a Nashville physical therapist who passed away from cancer in 2012. In her honor, the foundation has sponsored Lipscomb mission teams to Malawi every year. 

Lipscomb students post next to the Daeyang University College of Nursing & Midwifery sign

Daeyang University College of Nursing & Midwifery

We had the incredible opportunity to participate in the surgical and medical services provided at Blessings Hospital in Lumbadzi. It was a great honor to work alongside the citizens of Malawi as student nurses. Our team was able to learn and apply a wide variety of knowledge, skills, and experiences that we will carry into our future careers.

Our trip began with a vaccine campaign in which we learned about specific vaccines related to the health and welfare of the children of Malawi. Mobile clinics allowed us to be immersed in the culture and learn about Blessings’ contribution to community health in the rural parts of Malawi. We were educated on the necessity of early malaria testing and treatment. We also learned how to communicate in Chichewa, which in turn provided us an opportunity to help educate on medication administration.  

During our last week, we assisted in the various stages of surgery and provided optimal care to each surgical patient.  Each stage allowed us to practice a variety of skills and work alongside the nurses at Blessings, as well as build relationships with the patients. We were able to assist in multiple different surgeries, such as hernia repairs, anal fistulas, hydrocele repairs, and hysterectomies, among others. Our time was full of kind hospitality from the people of Malawi and we will forever be grateful for our time in this beautiful country.  

surgical team at Blessings Hospital

surgical team at Blessings Hospital's

My favorite part of this trip was the ability to see how to actively tie faith into my passion for Nursing. Praying with patients before surgery and comforting them as they woke up from anesthesia was a simple task that left an indescribable impact that I hope to carry into my future career. On the first full day of surgery, one of the general surgeons was prompted by the Holy Spirit to wash the feet of the patients from that day. We were able that evening to wash these patients’ feet all while sharing how Jesus calls us to humble ourselves. Before the trip, Jenni Whitefield, our trip leader, encouraged us to reflect on specific ways we wanted the Lord to use us. I asked the Lord to give me the confidence to serve as a Nurse in his name. Going into the trip, I was anxious that I would not be equipped to care efficiently as a nursing student. Just as the Lord provided countless times to people in the Bible who felt inadequate in a calling, the Lord was bountiful in his guidance. As I navigated through caring for patients throughout our time, I did not once question my ability because I knew that my confidence was in the Lord.

In order to fully understand the impact of the trip, I asked my fellow peers to share a bit of their experience to encompass a variety of perspectives. 

caring for a patient

caring for a patient


“This trip meant more to me than I could ever truly express in words. When I first received the call to go to Africa, I was nervous and excited and my mind was constantly trying to piece together how this was going to work out. I was met with a lot of discouragement along the way from family and friends, but I was determined to go. I knew the call I had on my life, specifically this trip, at this moment in time and I am so thankful God saw me through. I was met with kindness from strangers, encouragement in the most unexpected places, and guidance from my team as we prepared for our journey. Once we landed in Malawi, we hit the ground running with mobile clinics where we were able to go to remote locations in order to provide much-needed healthcare. It was such a humbling moment once you pulled into the villages and saw how many people waited in the shade in order to see a doctor and get medicine they desperately needed. Some of the villages had over 150 people waiting to be served and it was such an eye-opening experience to the need they had, but my heart couldn’t help but notice how kind and grateful these individuals were despite their circumstances. My heart truly changed on this trip seeing how they responded to their day to day. I feel the people there truly blessed me more so than I ever could have blessed them. The following week after mobile clinic we were fortunate enough to assist some amazing surgeons for surgery week, and being a pharmacy student, I didn’t know exactly how I would fit in. They asked me to make all of their theater drugs (what we call in the United States the OR) and I was able to assist in direct patient care throughout the whole week. My favorite opportunity of the week was washing feet of the patients who had undergone surgery that first day. It was an idea brought by the surgeon and it was a beautiful reflection of what we had been called to do. To serve even the least of these. I can fully say that the least of those in Africa will have the most glorious position in Heaven due to their kindness and joy even when they seem to have so little. Maybe it is seen as little from earthly eyes, but they are far richer in my opinion, because they truly have seen God, and have their treasure stored up in Heaven. You can see it in the way they smile. I am just so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to witness such a beautiful picture of God on this side of Heaven. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime!” – Lexie, Pharmacy student


“My experience in Malawi was nothing short of incredible. How amazing it was to meet so many new people, lots from a different culture that it was a pleasure to take part in. Though I had many favorite parts of the trip, the one that keeps replaying over and over in my mind is the smiles on the patient's faces after they come out of surgery. Free from the burden that has been hurting them for so long, finally healed. Even the smiles out in the villages when they received the care were incredibly heartwarming. During the trip, I read and learned about the Holy Spirit and how to recognize and look for it. I saw it in action all around me throughout these past 2 and a half weeks. My eyes had been opened like never before and I have recognized it being carried over with me even now that I’m back home. I am also now so much more confident in my nursing skills which was something I was anxious about when I left. God is doing incredible things in Malawi and I’m positive he will continue to do so. I’m feeling very blessed to of been a part of this team and to be able to bring healing to God’s people from the other side of the world.” - Hope, Nursing student


“My favorite part of the trip was bonding with my fellow peers, instructors, and other mission members. There was a lot of time to be intentional and grow with the people who surrounded you. I think this trip showed me a new appreciation of life. Malawi is full of people who are appreciative of every small thing. It was very easy to be present in Malawi and feel God in my everyday life. The peace of the people was contagious and you could feel the spirit of God.” - Austin, Nursing student


Malawi Med students serve a patient

“My recent trip to Malawi exceeded my expectations! The Malawian people are some of the most welcoming and loving people I have ever encountered. The Lord revealed Himself in so many ways throughout my trip, but I would like to share one story. One day at Blessings Hospital my job included greeting patients that were being screened for surgery. This job seemed unimportant as I spoke to patients and showed them to the next room for their exam with the doctor. On that day, I met a sweet middle-aged woman named Lonnie. She traveled a distance to the hospital to see if or when she would be able to have surgery. Lonnie and I chatted a bit, laughed, and finished our conversation with a warm hug. A few days later, I saw her again when she returned for her surgery. She brought her entire family to the hospital and to my amazement, they welcomed me by name as I entered her room. Her family immediately considered me their “sister” which was incredibly heartwarming as we prayed over her for healing and God’s hand on the operation. Her children asked about America, my family, hobbies, and when I would return to Malawi again. Their genuine kindness made me feel seen and valued! The ability to openly pray and share Christ’s love with a group of strangers was very different from my other experiences at a hospital. The day that Lonnie was discharged from the hospital, she assured me that she would be back to say goodbye. 

She left the hospital along with so many other patients and I thought that was the end of the story, but it wasn’t. To my surprise, Lonnie returned to the hospital on my last day of work. She brought me the most beautiful Malawian wrap skirt as a form of gratitude and something to remember her by. Lonnie amazed me with how joyful and generous she was towards me when I was the one supposed to be caring for her. I viewed this trip as a way to serve the patients but it was their genuine selfless giving back that had the most impact on me. The reason I chose nursing is to be a light for Christ toward the weary and sick, but the Lord showed me how my patients can be just as much as a blessing to me!” - Missy, Nursing Student 


The verse that really resonated in my heart after reflecting on this trip is 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, which states,  12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so, we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts." 

Despite being 8,476 miles apart, both American and Malawian healthcare workers are part of the same body of Christ. We are all commonly providing healthcare with the same goal of sharing the hope and healing power of Christ. 

Blessings Hospital

Not a Trip
Category: Student Life