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,
Saturday, August 14, 2010
We have been staying with Rutherford and Tsaihai (silent T) with their kids Chris and Choconde. We also have some of their cousins staying in the house: Esimay, Emilay and Kyembay. They are really great people and have been very hospitable to Drew and I. Chris is out of secondary school (like our high school) and is looking to go to university. Chiconde is in primary school (our elementary school) and is on break right now. Kyembay is going to school and so is Emilay soon hopefully. Esimay works in the city. Rutherford is a bishop for Grace Christian Fellowship, so he does some traveling along with Tsaihai to different churches in the area. He has also started a bible college that Drew and I have been teaching at in Nsaru, which is about 45 minutes from Lilongwe, the capital.
We have been teaching 4 guys at the college: Emmanuel, Leman, Shadrick, and Rodrick. I am teaching Acts and the book of Numbers-Ruth and Drew is teaching Speech and Church History. The guys have been very attentive to our teaching and been a great encouragement to Drew and I. The term will end at the end of August so pray that it goes well and the students finish well.
When we are not teaching, we have been working on the demonstration garden for Foundations for Farming and trying to get it set up. It has been slow coming but some youth have come to help us build the fence and really get things going. We have also been working on a soccer field for the youth in the area by setting up posts and clearing the field to play. Please pray that we can work on the garden together with the youth and really make it something special and profitable for the youth in order to help their families and themselves.
On the weekends we have been going around to churches preaching and gathering youth leaders for the conference we will be holding at the end of September in Nsaru. We have had great feedback from the pastors of the churches about the need for youth ministries and ways to evangelize to the youth in Malawi. Please pray that we can get the right people there, ones that are passionate about youth and that it will be a huge success and a great support to the people of Malawi.
Also pray for Drew and I as we head to Zambia (right next to Malawi) on August 31st to visit some missionaries there and look at potential next steps in the country. We will be there until the 8th or 9th of September.
Thank you so much for the words of encouragement everyone has sent. It has been a blessing to me and a huge support as I continue the work God has laid before me. I love you all and can't wait to see what God will do next. Blessings.
His hands and feet,
Monday, July 19, 2010
- Drew and I have the opportunity to teach at Rutherford's bible college for one of their six-week terms. We are both excited about this and would ask for prayers in diligence toward our teaching, that we would give the Malawians students the best education we can so they can expand the Gospel. Also for the opportunities to talk with them about youth ministry here in Malawi
- For the youth conference in September. That we can talk to as many churches as we can and get people at the conference who are excited and passionate about youth.
- For Foundations for Farming. Rutherford has some land we can farm on and now it is on us to begin the process and get youth excited about this new way of farming and the potential behind it.
- For my continued enculturation here. That I would trust the Bandas and Drew's advice and not try to do things my way because that's how I always do it.
- For getting to Malawi safely! I thank God for the safe travel.
- For the Bandas. They are such hospitable people and very friendly too. It has made my transition here so much easier. I will hopefully have a picture of them up soon for you all.
- For the intern team. I know I've said it before but it was truly a blessing to have the intern team here before me. They finished well and were a welcome help for the Bandas and Renfros here. Pray that the girls arrive home safely as they are in flight right now.
- For Drew. He has been so easy to get along with and has also made this transition easier for me. He picked up the language quickly so I have been able to lean on him for how to say certain things.
Thank you all once again for your prayers and support. I could not do this without you. God Bless you.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Hey everybody! I hope this update finds you well. Today is the day that I leave for Malawi to do ministry with YouthHOPE and NMSI for 5 months and I am excited! I feel like it has taken so long for this day to come but I know that God has been molding and preparing me for my time in Malawi. I know I will come back changed and I look forward to seeing how God is going to do that. I thank you all for you prayer and support and I just want you to know how grateful I am to have that as I immerse myself in this new culture for the next 5 months. Here are some prayers and praises for you all.
- My time here in Ft. Myers preparing for Malawi. It has been a great time of refreshment and learning as I prepare for the months ahead
- For my nephew Jayden. I was so thankful to have a few weeks in Orlando while my sister had her third son, Jayden. I was able to hold and spend some time with him and my two other nephews before I go
- For the intern team (pictured above) that is there right now. I am so grateful for the seeds they have planted and how they have prepared the way for me.
- For team unity with Drew as I begin my time there. That we would have time to build our relationship in order to do the most effective ministry there. That we would encourage and strengthen one another during our time there.
- For my safe travel to Malawi. That I would be able to get there as soon as I can to start ministry over there.
- For my time with our missionary families in Malawi. That there would be unity and grace as we work together serving the people of Malawi
- For financial support. I am still in need of about 1000 dollars for project money while I am over there, would you all prayerfully consider giving to me. You can go to www.nmsi.org and click on the Donate to NMSI button.
- For the intern team to finish well there and for it to be a seamless transition as I enter in.
- For the people of Malawi to be open to Gospel and to the teachings we have, even if they are different from what they are used to. That Drew and I would also be open to the concerns and questions they have and that God would bring us all to a better understanding of each other and our culture.