I thought I could share an update letter we recently sent along with some pictures and more information about a couple of exciting developments.
When Living Hope church began, we prayed that God would help our church mentor missionaries for Africa from Africa.
God brought Newton and his wife Vanessa to our church as answer to those prayers. Newton was trained at Christ Seminary and is in the middle of a two year internship at Living Hope, after which we are asking God to help us send him back to Malawi to plant a biblical church in one of the major cities there.
This month we are taking our first exploratory trip up to Malawi to meet with various pastors, visit different potential locations, pray, and try to get a better idea of how we can serve Newton as a church. We also will have the opportunity to teach at a couple of conferences, but that’s a bonus. This trip is primarily about coming alongside Newton and trying to discover how we can be of help and encouragement to him.
I wish I could tell you how exciting this is for us. We know Newton. We have ministered alongside Newton. We have been taught by Newton. Newton is deep. He is a theologian. He is a servant. This is a godly man and we get to be a part in helping him serve Christ. Wow. I was reminded of the importance of this kind of work as I read a recent article in World Magazine.
Listen to what the author says,
“Malawi is missionary country. The financial capital of the tiny southern African country is Blantyre, named after David Livingstone’s birthplace in Scotland. Over three-fourths of the population identifies itself as Christian, and Christianity has been a part of the country’s culture since the mid-1800s when Dr. Livingstone landed here. Malawi’s Presbyterian Church is pervasive and respected. Approximately 3 million Presbyterians live in Malawi, compared to 2.5 million mainline Presbyterian churchgoers in the United States.
Yet 15 percent of Malawi’s adult population has HIV/AIDS. Homosexuality is very rare here; AIDS travels through promiscuous sex in a society where wives are expected to be faithful but husbands often have multiple partners or more than one wife. Why has its heritage of church teaching failed to inoculate the country against a disease that is spread primarily through activity forbidden in Scripture?
Fletcher Matandika, founder of Ministry of Hope, said the church has done a good job of evangelizing but a poor job of discipling. “Christianity here is a mile wide and an inch deep,” he said. “Tradition, superstition, and lack of education exert a powerful influence on people. You can have a crusade and ask people to accept Jesus and most of the crowd will raise their hands, and then the next week it’s as if nothing happened. We need to move beyond just telling people about Jesus, we need to develop people who are spiritually mature.”
Will you please pray with us for our trip that God will open up opportunities, help us meet the right contacts, enjoy Him and be of service to others? Will you also pray for our family as I leave with Newton, Andre, and two of my oldest daughters on November 25 (36 hours in the bus!) and only get back ten days later! Will you pray that this will be the beginning of planting a strong church in Malawi that plants other churches, raises up leaders, changes families and impacts an entire nation for Christ!
Anyway, there’s more to report. I hope to be able to tell you a little more about Nickson and seminary, a recent trip to Senekal where we able to almost double a church building in a day (I love living in Africa!) and also what’s happening with the baby home (get the keys next week! Yeah!)- in the next update!
P.S.Here is a link to some pictures from our recent trip to Senekal:
And here is a link to some pictures of what is happening at Living Hope:
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