Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Bandas: Rutherford, Tsaihai and the family have been so welcoming and kind to Drew and I during our time here. They have made sure we are well fed (Tsaihai is a great cook!) and had everything we needed. I know that it couldn’t have been easy to have two foreigners live with you for 5 months, but that hasn’t stopped them from opening their house to us. I am grateful for them.
The students at the Bible college: Roderick, Shadrick, Leman and Emmanuel have been great students to teach during our two terms at Word of Life Bible College. It has been a privilege to be there teacher and they have been so willing to learn every day. I have learned a lot from these guys and will cherish their friendships.
The Jailosis: Maxwell, Pauline and their children Chimwemwe and Joanna have been great hosts to us during our time in Nsaru. They have made sure we have everything we need and helped us with the college and starting up the youth program. Like most Malawians we meet, I will remember them for their kindness and compassion.
Drew: I have been with Drew for about 5 months now, and it has been great to have him as a team member. We both may think differently at times, but that has helped us grow as individuals and as a team. Plus its nice to have another american around to process through our time in Malawi. He is a good Christian guy whose friendship I have enjoyed during my time here.
My family and friends: Your notes and emails have meant so much to me during my time in Malawi. Each has reminded me of how blessed I am to have such amazing family and friends. Thank you for your words of encouragement. They have inspired me.
I hope during this time you too will finds things to be thankful for. We can be always be thankful for the love God has shown us here on Earth.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thess. 5:18
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”
Monday, November 8, 2010
This past week, Drew and I had the opportunity to attend and teach at a leadership conference that Bob and Peggy Kuest put on for church pastors and leaders in Malawi. Bob and Peggy travel all around the world holding leadership conferences that are based on the book Bob wrote called Uncommon Leadership (you should check it out along with his new book Uncommon Relationships at amazon.com). I had the opportunity to teach on David, the ruler of righteousness and on the topic of boldness. Both topics were learning experiences for me. I studied about how David ruled in righteousness to his people, even when he sinned with Bathsheba. David truly was a righteous man and a leadership example we should follow.
I also taught on boldness, which is something that I struggle with. But through studying to teach this lesson, I realized that we should have no fear in anything other than God (if you have time, you should do a word study on the “fear of God” in Psalms and Proverbs, it was eye opening for me). I told the story of my skydiving experience as something I did to conquer my fear of heights. I also taught that boldness is something the apostles got when they received the Holy Spirit. We should be bold in one thing, God, and not fear anything else, for He is with us always.
I also had a chance to preach one night at the conference. I preached on Romans 8:28 and how God works towards the good of those who love him. I gave a little of my testimony and talked about the lives of Joseph, Habakkuk, and Jesus. Each one had bad events happen in their lives but each trusted God to work his good through all things. God is working good in us, even in bad situations, and that was promised to us on the cross of Christ and his resurrection. There are some days when I still can’t see God’s good in the death of my dad, but I trust it is there because of the promise of the cross.
3 weeks to go
These next 3 weeks are going to be pretty busy for us as we get everything set up for the youth program before we leave as well as getting the translation of Youth Builder ready for the 2nd edit so it can be printed soon after that. Pray that our time left here can be fruitful, not only in the stuff we get done, but also in our time spent with the Bandas before we leave. I’ll end you with some verses from the sermon and lessons I gave at the conference.
Psalms 51:16-17 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Written right after David is confronted with his sin)
Acts 4:29, 31 “Now, LORD, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God bodly.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
His hands and feet,
Friday, October 22, 2010
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
While in Malawi and Zambia, Drew and I have had the chance to go to a wedding and 2 funerals, one in Malawi and one in Zambia. The wedding was a great time with the pastor, Aston Makina, of the church Drew and the intern team had planted getting married to his now wife Lezina. The wedding consisted of the bride ushered in by children on both sides of her waving their hands. The groom met her at the door and they were escorted to the front where they sat while the pastor officiated the wedding. They exchanged vows and rings and at the end hugged each other instead of kissing because that is a very private thing in Malawi and not done in public, especially in the village. Afterwards they had a reception at a village a few miles away from the ceremony.
We also attended two funerals. The one in Zambia was for the wife of the General Secretary of the Central Church of Africa Presbytery (C.C.A.P.). The other in Malawi was for the daughter of Roderick (one of our students) who was 4 and died very suddenly. Funerals are the most important events in Malawi and Zambia, more important than Birthdays or Weddings. We could have missed the wedding and it not have been a big deal, but going to the funerals meant so much to the people, more than anything we could have said to them. Everyone goes to funerals here unless they are physically unable to. Both of the families were prominent members in their village and churches so they had about 500-1000 people there. In Zambia we had to change our plans completely so we could attend the funeral. In Malawi, we didn't have school for 3 days, with Roderick not coming back until the next week. Also, in Malawi, we drove about 10 women to Roderick's house the night of the death so that they could be with his wife and sing songs to God all night. Both funerals were sad but something I will never forget.
Prayers and Praises
- Praise God for our students, who are almost done with school and will be commissioned to go minister to churches in Malawi
- Praise God for our garden. The Maize and beans are growing great since we've planted.
- Praise God that Drew and I have not gotten very sick since we have been here
- Pray for Roderick and his family as the death of his daughter Precious happened only a few weeks ago
- Pray for the youth program we are starting in the next few weeks. We are assisting some youth with fees so they can attend schools and help some start small businesses after school. They will be working on the field we bought a few months ago using Foundations for Farming techniques.
- Pray for our students as they have finals next week and then will be moving to begin ministry
- Pray for the Leadership conference that Bob and Peggy Kuest, affiliates of NMSI, will be holding for the women Today and tomorrow and for the men on Nov. 1-5.
- Pray for Drew and I as we have only 5 weeks left in Malawi.
Thank you for the support you all have given me. I know I say this a lot but I could not be here without you! I praise God because of you all. God Bless.
His hands and feet,
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Just wanted to send you a quick update on my next few weeks here. We are almost done with our book translation of "The Youth Builder" by Jim Burns into Chechewa and are looking forward to passing it out to various bible colleges and churches in Malawi. We hope to have to book edited within the next week or two and ready for print by then. Drew and I are excited about this because it can be a helpful resource for those wanting to do youth ministry in Malawi.
On Monday, we will be starting another term at the bible college in Nsaru for the next seven weeks. I will be teaching Church history from after the reformation to the present as well as teaching the books of 1 Samuel-Esther. It will be great to see the guys again and a privilege to teach them once again. This will also be their last term before graduating and going out to Malawi preaching at various churches.
Drew and I also planted our maize seeds in the garden and are looking forward to watching it grow and begin to see the fruits of "Foundations for Farming" and show the people of Malawi the benefits of following that model. We hope to show this on a larger scale at the land near the college when the farming season for Malawi begins in October.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Pray for Drew and I as we begin teaching again and as we begin to implement Foundations for Farming ideas and resources to the youth of Malawi during their next farming season. Praise God for our time in Zambia and the relationships we have begun to build there as well as Adam and Kristy coming to Zambia/Malawi for the month of September. They have been an encouragement to me as we begin our relationship in Zambia and continue to build the relationship we have in Malawi. Pray for them as they travel back to the states on Tuesday. Blessings to you all.
His hands and feet,
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Drew and I traveled to Zambia, a country the borders Malawi, this past Tuesday to join up with Kristy, Adam and Lloyd. Adam and Kristy are part of the YouthHOPE team in Ft. Myers and Lloyd, who is a native of Zambia, is a new affiliate of NMSI and YouthHOPE. We will be here for the next 9 or 10 days in order to visit Lloyd's ministry to youth and to dream about what steps need to be taken next in Zambia. Lloyd is the director of you for Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (C.C.A.P.), so he has been working with the youth of Zambia for a while now and is connected with what their needs are.
- Please pray that our time here is effective and we are able to dream about what the next steps will be.
- Pray for Lloyd and his ministry to the youth. He is in need of a car in order to travel and be fully effective in his ministry to all of Zambia. God has blessed him with support from churches to meet he and his family's basic needs but he is also in need of funds in order to set up programs and projects to enhance the lives of youth here.
- Pray for Drew, Adam, Kristy, Lloyd and I as we travel around Zambia the next 9 days and for our trip back to Malawi after that.
Drew and I also finished up our term of teaching the students from Word of Life Bible College in Nsaru. Our time was really good with the guys and one of our last nights we held a "mock" youth meeting with the guys to show them what it could look like in Malawi. We started singing some worship songs and before we knew it there were about 15 youth that joined us!! It turned into a great night of worship, filled with a lesson on trust (including some "trust falls") and a game of musical chairs. We were all really encourage by the end of our time and feel the guys got some good ideas of what youth ministry can look like in Malawi.
I also wanted to write today about a change for the rest of our time in Malawi. We will be staying in Nsaure, where the college and demonstration is, until the end of our time in Malawi and not traveling to the village in Chichimayane at the beginning of October. This will give us time to finish the garden in Nsaru and hopefully begin to work with youth for the beginning of their farming season in November. We will also most likely be teaching another term at Word of Life Bible College, which will allow us to give the students a chance to run a youth meeting on their own. Drew and I have no doubt that they will do great! Thank you everyone for your continued prayer and support. I could not be here without it.
- Pray for Drew and I as we begin this term next month and for our continued teaching to the guys about youth ministry, figuring out how that looks in Malawi.
- Continue to pray for the Youth Leadership Conference that will take place from September 24-27
- Pray for the extended time Drew and I have in Nsaru, that we would be able to use it effectively, getting ministy to youth and Foundations for Farming off the ground here.
His hands and feet,