Construction Manager finds faith and inspiration on volunteer mission
“Work in itself is an expression of faith.”
Cody volunteered with CURE Malawi for seven weeks, managing a variety of different projects around the hospital.
“I heard about CURE through a radio talk show host named Dennis Prager. He was sponsoring CURE on one of his shows. This was about five years ago, and that was when I started following CURE,” said Cody. “About two years ago, I saw on CURE’s website that they had a facility volunteer opportunity. I was interested in that and just sent in my resume to CURE’s headquarters.”
Cody worked hard during the week but knew how to take advantage of the beauty Malawi has to offer on the weekends. “My favorite memory is going to Mulanje with another volunteer and a staff member, John Chilomoni.”
Mulanje is a town in the Southern Region of Malawi. It is well known for its beautiful hiking paths. Cody deeply desired to be a part of the community, so he was actively involved. Not only did Cody go hiking, visit a safari, and tour around the local markers, but he also organized a team of CURE Malawi’s staff members to compete together in a local soccer league.
Belonging to a community means a lot at CURE Malawi. “I enjoyed getting to see the different expressions of worship. Malawi is much more charismatic and has such an exuberant expression,” Cody shares. He reflects on the daily morning devotionals at the hospital: “Often, everyone starts with singing and ends with singing. It’s very uplifting!”
When asked what his thought process was about leaving the comforts of home to volunteer in Africa, Cody expressed, “I think my mindset going into something like this is to ask myself, ‘What am I going to do for the people?’” He goes on to say, “We come here because Christ Jesus is present in the poor. So, when we come to do work like this, we are not only coming to serve the poor, but to serve Jesus.”
Cody looked forward to not only helping the hospital and local community but learning from them as well. “I took away perspective on how fortunate I am to be in good health, to have compassion for those who aren’t, and to always recognize Jesus in them.”
One of Cody’s larger projects during his time here was working on a well to find better water for the hospital. He also worked on other projects, including installing AC units for the seminar room, X-ray room, and blood lab; painting the seminar room; painting the courtyard ceiling; building shelves for the administration room and physical therapy storage room; putting up a new sun shade for the Ameca Café; painting and remodeling the playroom; painting all of the railings; and installing a grease trap and fan in the kitchen. He was clearly a very busy man while in Malawi, and his impressive work was greatly appreciated by the staff and patients.
“I am self-employed, so I had to ask myself if I wanted to do this, and I said yes.”
Cody made many new friendships during his time at CURE. He especially bonded with people interested in the same type of work. “Anytime you get to share your work with someone else who enjoys the same type of work—it’s just a good way to interact with people who have similar interests.” He went on to say, “John Chilomoni was always interested in learning how to do things differently. I enjoyed being around him because he has a really upbeat personality, and he’s like me: when he sees that something needs to get done, he is proactive in trying to accomplish it. Together, it’s a fun team.”
Working in Malawi was a new experience for Cody since he usually works within a pretty small network back in the States. “Work in itself is an expression of faith,” Cody shared. “So yeah, the faith for me has always been pretty foundational. The faith permeates relationships.” Cody is always alert, recognizing faith in others and how God is working in them.
“If I were to encourage a person to come to CURE, I would say do it because it gives you a perspective that will make you appreciate what you do have back in the States,” Cody shares.
Cody’s big heart was fully exposed when he, along with other volunteers, closed his time at CURE Malawi by making a piñata for the children. Volunteers drew and carved an elephant out of cardboard boxes, painted it red, and filled it with local candy. The children at the hospital had never experienced the joy of breaking open a piñata, and they scrambled to grab as many pieces of candy as possible.
When reflecting on the event, Cody said, “I was inspired by seeing kids with disabilities have the courage to get up in front of everybody and hit the piñata.” He added, “They were really exposing their weaknesses, and for me, I’m really glad no one asked me to get up and hit the piñata because I wouldn’t have wanted to stand up in front of everybody, and I don’t have a disability!” It was a fun day for everybody.
Cody left CURE encouraged and inspired by the children, the staff, and the country of Malawi. He hopes to come back soon to continue expressing his faith through his work and the gifts God has given him. CURE Malawi looks forward to his return.