Dear Praying Friends,
We know that you pray for us and our ministry and we will like to thank you dearly for such an important part of your support for us because we know that consistent prayer support is hard work. How do we know that you pray for us? Because some of you tell us! But more importantly, we know because we see the results of your prayers as the LORD opens doors for ministering and as He blesses people through our feeble efforts. This can only be answered prayers because in and of ourselves we truly cannot accomplish anything meaningful. We are therefore glad to share with you some good news from our ministering during this season.
This past week, Joseph and four other men (James Bandah, Mathews Selengu, Davies Balala and Yamikani Lefani) were 2 hours away from and North-East of Lilongwe in an area known as Mvela. They successfully opened a new Chichewa Bible School Centre in this area, registering an encouraging first enrollment. Fifteen students enrolled and ten sat through to the last day of classes. Plus there was a handful of people who sat through the classes as a seminar and not for school credits. The literacy of most, if not all, of these students is low but rather than seeing this as an obstacle we decided to see it as an opportunity for the LORD to raise them to a higher level through our efforts. We also discovered that their knowledge and understanding of the Bible is very minimal so this is a challenge for us to work harder and plant the truth in them before they are exposed to the many unsound teachings flying around all over the place. The team taught two classes this time around: Methods of Bible Study I and Practical Theology I. Given the relatively shorter distance of this place to Lilongwe, we plan to send single individuals there to teach on Saturdays rather than go for week-long modules.
The team faced some challenges during the trip. There was no conducive accommodation so some team members slept with other participants in the church/classroom. Some had mattresses that the team took but others just slept on a tarp. Others slept outside in a small tent and Joseph slept in the car! Sickness was also a significant challenge. One of our new students, Dickson, left classes midway to go to the hospital for physiotherapy for an accident he recently experienced. Unfortunately for him, the night before he was to leave for Lilongwe, he experienced an epilepsy feat and so cancelled his Lilongwe trip. But he still could not continue with classes because once the feat occurs it could happen again. Another student, Ineresi, left school in order to attend to a sick child. On examination day, another student, Ireen, actually had an epileptic feat right in school after taking only one of two exams. We had the opportunity to pray for her and then take her home. Please join us to give thanks for all the victories but also to pray for the many challenges, especially for Dickson, Ineresi and her child, and Ireen.
During several evenings there the team showed the Jesus Film in four different villages. At least 1200 people watched the Jesus Film and more than 200 people said a prayer to express their faith in Christ. These statistics are modest estimates as we could not take exact numbers given that these programs were always held at night with very little lighting. Please pray for those who made verbal commitment of faith in Christ. The truth is that our two churches in the area are not yet strong enough to do proper follow up but with the Bible School established there we are sure this reality will soon change. This trip has particularly broadened our awareness of the need for sound Leadership Training and Theological Education in Malawi. Consequently, our resolve to continue to help the Grace Church in Malawi do this very important work has only been strengthened!
The team returned to Lilongwe on Saturday and on Easter we attended a great Easter Service at our Area 23 Assembly where Joseph preached on the Power of Easter from Romans 6:1-14. The Pastor of this church is James Bandah, a final year student at our English Bible School in Lilongwe and new Director of the Training Department for the Grace Church in Malawi.
Please find below some pictures that should serve as a limited window to help you understand the context within which the LORD is using us. These short videos could also be helpful. For a view of our classroom and students click MVELA. To see part of the Easter service, click EASTER.
Serving with Joy,
Joseph, Emmanuela, Princess and Sammy Parker.