by Mission News
Peter Salafia, Gilbert and John Nayna and Paul Clapham will set out for Malawi on Friday 6 October. Our ongoing story will appear here.
We will be visiting a whole bunch of assemblies with Paston Nelson and several of the young people’s leaders to provide assistance where needed with general administration matters and the like. There has been significant revival since the miracle of healing on young ‘Clare’ some months ago.
Our program is as follows:
- 6th October – arrival followed shortly by Young People’s meeting
- 7th October – Sunday service in Blantyre and afternoon Leader’s meeting
- 8th October – Chikwawa
- 9th October – Thyolo and Mulanje
- 10th October – Phalombe (west and east)
- 11th October – Penpapenga, Yesaya and Salima
- 12th October – Lilongwe
- 13th October – Dedza
- 14th October – Mkalem, Lilongwe and afternoon Leader’s meeting
- 15th October – depart Malawi
It will be a jam-packed trip and one that all of us hope will be beneficial to the Malawi saints and to the four of us too! Photos will follow once we get over there so until the next update – God Bless (GB).
Friday 5 October 2012
Preparations are now finalised and we depart Melbourne Tullamarine at 3:00pm bound for Johannesburg via Singapore (3 hour layover) then from Joburg to Blantyre (3 hour flight). Arriving in Blantyre around 1:00pm their time Saturday and then straight into the Youth rally at 4:00pm!
We are taking a couple of guitars, a keyboard, 2 x amplifiers, clothes and ties (the brethren like to wear ties to the meetings!), 100 x bibles and a whole lot of enthusiasm. We are excited about the things we will see over there and what we can learn from the experience. Having Gilbert Nayna in our group who can speak fluent Chechewa is certainly going to make communicating with the Malawi folk a whole lot easier however many of them do speak English.
Next update (with photos if the technology can be handled by the author!) will be Saturday.
Saturday 6 October 2012
After 27 hours of travelling from Melbourne/Singapore/Johannasburg/Blantyre we arrived around 1:00pm local time.
We were very glad to be met by Pastor Nelson and several of the young leaders from the Blantyre assembly.
A quick trip to the hotel to freshen up and then straight off to the Youth Rally at 4:o0pm! The young people had concregated at the Chirimba assembly hall and we were all impressed by their obvious enthusiasm for the Word of God and the way the yound men presented the Word. The items were all first class and sung with a raw energy that really encouraged us all.
We also visited the assembly owned and operated maize mill which was an initiative of the Australian Mission Fund. The maize mill is a source of income for the local church and provides much needed employment and funds for the church to continue its local outreach work.
Needless to say that the entire day was a great encouragement to us all and it is hard to determine just who is really benfitting most from this visit!
Sunday 7 October 2012
We were up early to have breakfast prior to heading off to the Sunday morning communion meeting at Chirimba. The meeting started at 10:00am with a packed schedule due to the large number of visiting brothers and sisters from outlying Revival Centres that had made the trip to Chirimba. Special mention should go to the Sunday school kids who put on a great performance!
It was very humbling to be made so welcome when it is so apparent that these folks have very little in the way of material belongings. Their hospitality is an inspiration and presented us with a great sense of appreciation for the things we often take for granted back home!
We were entertained by several items followed by a talk from the bible given by John Nayna. The operation of the spiritual gifts (3 x tongues with corresponding interpretation followed by 3 x gifts of prophecy) was extremely powerful with great encouragement provided to all as a result.
There were 18 baptisms with many receiving the Holy Spirit with the bible evidence of speaking in tongues!
The Sunday communion meeting was followed by a pastor’s meeting which commenced around 3:00pm. We were able to speak with over 30 pastors from the Revival Centres in Malawi. This was a great opportunity to hear some of their respective testimonies and local issues affecting their corner of the ‘vineyard’.Many topics were covered at this meeting and a productive question and answer session followed. We concluded at 6:oopm with a commitment given by Peter Salafia that he would be back in three years with his wife Rita. This was said in response to a question from a local pastor who asked why is it that only men come over to visit when the women can also provide great encouragement to the sisters in Malawi.
Back to the hotel for dinner and a chat before heading off to bed! Another update tomorrow so until then good night and God bless.
Monday 8 October 2012
Up early to collect 133 bibles (translated in Chichewa which is the local dialect) for distribution by Pastor Nelson Mbewe to the many Revival Centres situated throughout Malawi. It may be surprising for some of us back in Australia to know that there are over 350 Revival Centre assemblies spread throughout the southern and central regions of Malawi.
Our first visist was to the Nsangwe assembly situated some 120 south of Blantyre where the elevation dropped from 1,100 metres above sea level to just over 130 metres! The temperature rose just as drastically when we left Blantyre at 22 degrees and within an hour and a half the temperature rose to over 40 degrees!
Just over 100 brothers and sisters at Nsangwe had been waiting in their mud brick hall for over 2 hours for us to arrive. Even after enduring the heat for that length of time they greeted us with great enthusiasm and made us feel very welcome indeed.
After hearing several items from the young people and a short talk from John Nayna we concluded our meeting and headed outside to watch 15 people get baptised including the village chief. The baptismal tank was a hole in the ground with a plastic sheet laid in it to stop the water from soaking into the ground!
After the baptisms the assembly folk simply scooped the water out for use on their crops or for other useful purposes. The whole concept of just pulling the plug out and letting the water go to waste is one that these folks just wouldn’t comprehend. Water is really life in this part of the world!
We then visited the Kalulu assembly who also had been patiently waiting for us to arrive. Over 35 assembly folk were there to greet us with much singing and making us feel very welcome.
Our third assembly visit for the day was to see the saints at Kabudula where 20 of our brothers and sisters were there to greet us. To get to this assembly we had to pass through the Nchalo Sugar Mill which covers a vast area of land.
The smell of molasses was overpowering and at one time not so long ago they used this product as a type of road covering similar to bitumen to stop the dust from being a problem.
Pastor John Andrews from the Bellarine assembly will be very pleased to know that we were able to call into the Marringo Tree plantation located at Chikwawa. Pastor Nelson has arranged for training and management of the cultivation of these trees to be provided to himself, Pastor Eric and Pastor Andrew Chigunula from the Lake area. It is hoped that this training will provide the necessary skills to start a small plantation crop of the Marringo Tree in the various areas where these pastors live.
Our day concluded around 6:00pm with a very welcome repreive from the heat and a cool shower followed by dinner.
Time for bed with more updates to follow. God bless and good night.
Tuesday 9 October 2012
Today started with an early breakfast as we were getting picked up by Pastor Nelson and some of the brothers around 8:30am. We headed straight to the Malawi Bible Society to purchase another 20 bibles with a quick trip to pick up 50 chorus books from across town before heading off for the day.
Our first visit was to the Kapichi Revival Centre located at Lalakani.
This assembly has somewhere around 50 – 60 Spirit filled brothers and sisters. We were entertained by some wonderful singing and following a short ‘thought’ on the Word from each of the visiting Australians. The local assembly folk were very encouraged by this and so too were we!
During the prayer line there were several folks who recieved the Holy Spirit with the bible evidence of speaking in tongues. Following our meeting the local pastor was going to make arrangements for 5 people to be baptised by full immersion. Combined with the need for us to keep moving on to our next assembly visit, the lack of water nearby and the distance needed to be covered by foot for the folks to get baptised we had to wish the local folks God speed and left with a prayer that the new brothers and sisters would be baptised that day.
We left Kapichi being greatly encouraged by the genuine appreciation that our brothers and sisters there have for the gospel.
Our next visit was to the Mphaka Revival Centre located at Mulanji some 1.5 hours distance from our first assembly port of call. This assembly is situated in the foothills of Mount Mulanji. The local pastor there is a builder and has used his expertise to help build their assembly hall. The whole area is such a contract from yesterday’s expedition down to the valley below us where the temperature was close to 43 degrees! Whilst the driving may seem to be ‘time wasted’ we actually find it very useful as we get to discuss the events that have either happened or are going to occur. Testimonies were shared by two brothers and one sister.
During the meeting a prayer line was held with several folks receiving the Holy Spirit with the bible evidence of speaking in tongues. One young brother who had received the Holy Spirit was baptised at the end of our meeting.
Our trip took us past Mount Mulanji which is the second highest peak in Africa.
With the sun setting we headed back to our ‘digs’ for the night. Up early for another 8:00am departure!
Wednesday 10 October 2012
As usual our day started around 8:00am with Pastor Nelson, his son Innocent and son-in-law Francis collecting us from our hotel in the minibus. We left for the Msema assembly some 2.5 hours drive from Blantyre to where a congregation of nearly 50 brothers and sisters were waiting to welcome us.
We were warmly greeted by Pastors Joseph and Mkota. Pastor Joseph is the local pastor at this assembly and Pastor Mkota is the zone pastor for this area.
Following the meeting we held a pastor’s conference with over 30 pastors and leaders from surrounding areas attending.
This conference was held to provide the local pastors and leaders with an overview of how the work in Malawi is a part of the ‘bigger picture’ church.
Many topics were covered by Gilbert and John Nayna, Paul Clapham and Peter Salafia all being asked by Pastor Nelson to speak on specific subjects.
The pastors and leaders were pleased to have had the opportunity to speak with the Australians and the whole meeting was of great benefit to all involved.
We concluded the Pastor’s conference around 3:30pm and were back home by 6:00pm. It had been a long day with another early start tomorrow. We leave Blantyre and head down to Lake Malawi for a rest day.
On the way down though we will be calling in to visit the Penpapenga, Yesaya and Salima assemblies.
With the sun setting low I say goodnight and God bless until tomorrow.
Thursday 11 October 2012
Today we leave Blantyre and head off to Lilongwe which is a 3 hour drive away to the north. We took a detour and visited the Chikande assembly which is located some 3.5 hours north east from Blantyre. It was hot and after leaving the bitumen highway it was very dusty.
The local pastor there is Pastor Lexona who is responsible for some 50 folks. On the way to Chikande we picked up Pastor Chimkombero who looks after another assembly in the area.
During the entire trip with Pastor Nelson we have been accompanied by three youth leaders from the Chirimba assembly. These young men have been ably assisting us by translating our talks and they have been clearly enjoying the opportunity to visit other young folks at the different assemblies on our trip.
After the meeting there were four baptisms. These folks had either just received the Holy Spirit during the prayer line in the meeting or several days earlier.
Our brothers and sisters at Chikande were very excited to see us as if we had done some great thing to come this far to visit. In a way we can see that point however it is us who are simply overawed by the diligence of the saints here!
Our understanding of the desparate shortage of water in Malawi is very limited. In Australia we would simply turn a tap on and fill the baptismal tank, baptise the individual and then let the water go down the drain.For a baptism to occur in Malawi it requires around 150 litres of water. To achieve this several of the women or girls will need to walk for up to 4 hours round trip to the water pump to fill a 15 or 20 litre container.
The water is then carried back to the church and placed into the baptismal tank. This couuld be a hole in the ground lined with an old tarpaulin or several sticks hammered into the ground with heavy duty plastic tied to the sticks in such a way as to make it water tight.
Once the baptisms have been performed the water will either be used to water some crops or given to the animals to drink.
We then headed off to the Yesaya assembly some 50 minutes drive from Chikande to meet Pastor Luka who looks after around 40 – 50 folks. They are in the middle of extending their meeting hall and when we arrived the roof was yet to be added.
Due to a funeral being conducted in the local village we were only greeted by 30 or so folks which was still a great thing to see. The heat was at times quite overwhelming but the local assembly folks still smiled at us as we spoke to them about the work in Australia.
It is truly amazing to see the joy in their faces when they live every day in such trying conditions. This whole trip has been an eye opener to us all and will cause us to truly appreciate just what we have back home.
At the conclusion of our little gathering Pastor Nelson presented Pastor Luka with a new bible. To understand the significance of this it is necessary to understand the value of this gift. A bible in Malawi costs 2,100 kwacha (the local currency unit). This is equivalent to $7 or $8 Australian. The average Malawian worker 9,400 kwacha per week so to own a bible is a large expense indeed!
- After saying goodbye to pastor Luka and the saints there ast Yesaya we headed off to our digs at Lake Malawi a further hour and a quarter away. The lake is fresh water and literally takes up one third of the country.
Tomorrow is a rest day (well earned!) and we will recharge our batteries in preparation for the final two days of our sojourn.
Good night and God bless.
Friday 12 October 2012
Our party left Lake Malawi fairly early so that we could arrive at Llongwe to give us time to meet with Pastor Bikiel (Central Zone pastor). Leaving Lake Malawi behind wasn’t that easy but we knew that our brief reprieve from the heat was always going to be just that – brief!
We arrived at Llongwe around lunch time and parked at a local shopping centre. The money changers were positioned close by and it was interesting to watch the locals and not so locals carry out their ritual. The car pulls up, the money changers peer into the window, foreign currency is given and exchanged for kwatcha – the local currency.
This process is carried out in many areas whether in the city or suburbs it doesn’t seem to matter.
We then headed off to our accommodation where we will be staying for the next three days. It seems crazy but we are already at the tail end of our brief sojourn here in Malawi.
Pastors Nelson and Mbeki joined us for lunch which allowed us to learn even more about the work here in Malawi. It cannot be stressed enough how much this trip has benefitted from having both Gilbert and John Nayna in the group. Gilbert’s ability to speak fluently with the pastors and assembly folk generally has allowed us to learn so much about real day to day issues affecting the work.
After our meeting with pastors Nelson and Bikiel concluded they left with arrangements in place to collect us in the morning for the 1.5 hour drive to Dedza where we will attend a meeting. Following this we will then conduct another pastor’s conference with Pastor Nelson and the pastors from the Central zone.
No sunset picture tonight. Afterall it is a rest day! Good night and God bless.
Saturday 13 October 2012
Our day started in the usual way, up early, shower, meet up with the others for some prayer, breakfast and discussion about the forthcoming day’s events. For some of us though it just seems to be getting a little too much! John Nayna has been giving it all he has got over the last several days so I guess he deserved his nanno-nap this morning 🙂
We had planned to head off around 9:30am however there was a shortage of diesel fuel (these types of things can happen overnight apparently) so Paul Clapham and the brothers from Malawi spent over an hour looking for a service station that would accept enough of a bribe to fill our mini-bus up. That’s the way things are done here otherwise we would have spent the whole day stuck here at the motel.
Leaving around 10:30am we headed off to Dedza to visit the Chimbiya assembly. Driving anywhere in Malawi is a constant cross between the 21st century and another time. You will overtake modern day semi-trailers hauling who knows what from who knows where whilst seeing a young boy on a home made cart with two bullocks in front heading off to market.
Our driver has an excellent ‘third eye’ or something like that as he can manouvre around cyclists and pedestrians at speed madly honking the horn to warn others of his position. It all seems to happen seamlessly and one is left wondering what would happen if ………..?You cannot help but wonder how someone from our ‘world’ would survive in this type of situation.
Our journey to Dedza took around 1 hour and 20 minutes. We already had pastor Bikiel with us and when we arrived were greeted by local pastor Luka Moyo and zone pastor Davison Bonogwe. We were entertained by a rousing chorus session and several items of which the Sunday School kids were very impressive.
The Sunday School items were followed by three testimonies, ministry from the visiting Australians, the spiritual gifts and a prayer line. During the prayer line several people received the Holy Spirit however due to the local water hole being stagnant arrangements will have to be made to baptise these folks another day some kilometers away.
Pastor Nelson impressed on the assembly the need to have a baptismal tank ready and filled with water every Sunday. The water could then be used to keep a vegetable garden going during the dry months.
Following this meeting we asked all the young people to stay behind so we could speak with them about issues that were of concern to them. We provided them the opportunity to ask questions and Gilbert Nayna ensured that all repsonses were translated into their native tongue.
After the young people had left we then met with over 2o pastors and leaders to discuss doctrine and offer them the chance to ask questions also. This proved to be a very positive session with all agreeing that they had gotten a great deal of benefit out of this process.
At the conclusion of this meeting pastor Nelson presented 11 pastors and leaders with their own new bible. Assemblies represented at this meeting were Chimbiya, Chitimbe, Mphunzi, Kakolo, Chinkhali, Dedza, Hinda, Tsabango, Eliya, Mulima and Kaphala.
We headed home to ponder on the day’s events. Over dinner we discussed the things we have seen and heard over the past several days. This has certainly been a jam-packed tour of the work here in Malawi with one day to go.
With the sun setting on another productive day I will say goodnight and God bless.
Sunday 14 October 2012
Today will be our last day to spend visiting the saints here in Malawi. What a whirlwind visit we have had. Seeing and hearing so much in such a short time has been both rewarding and draining!
We will spend the day at the Mkalema meeting some 50 minute drive out of Llongwe. We arrived there and were greeted in the usual way by people happy to see us as though we were doing them some great favour.
The meeting began with introductions and a welcome from pastor Bikiel – Central zone pastor. The large crowd also included a contingent from across the border in Mozambique. At least a dozen folks had made their way to Mkalema to see us and be part of the meeting.
We were entertained with several items ranging from the Sunday School kids, the Youth choir and other performances. Following on from this three people were asked to give their testimonies and it was exciting to hear how the same gospel that we heard is being preached half way across the world here in Malawi!
Short talks were given by the visiting Australians and it would be fair to say that we were encouraged just as much by the testimony of the saints here as we think they were by our talks. It was very exciting for us to see 22 baptisms in the river only 300 meters from the hall. Some of these folks had just received the Holy Spirit at the meeting we had attended whilst others had come to be baptised.
After the meeting concluded we had the opportunity to speak with the youth group which is around 100 + strong. Gilbert Nayna was able to spend a solid 20 minutes encouraging this group of young people who are the next generation of spirit-filled representatives.
The opportunity for questions and answers was provided and several of the young people took this up by asking sound and reasonable questions. These were no different to the types of questions we ourselves had growing up in the Lord so it was again comforting to see that these young people are no different to any others. Francis and Innocent presented a soccer and netball to a boy and girl representative of the youth group with the reminder that these gifts are to be used for outreach.
When the young people’s gathering had finished we met with around 30 pastors and leaders for a session on doctrine and general house-keeping of the church. It was pleasing to see so many of these dedicated men listening intently as the bible doctrine was expounded to them. Many of these things have obviously been taught to them previously however it was good to remind those who already know these things whilst at the same time providing encouragement to those pastors and leaders that may have only recently been appointed. At the conclusion of this meeting a questions and answer session followed which proved to be very informative all round.
Presentations of new bibles were made by pastor Nelson with 20 bibles being handed out to pastors of surrounding areas. Bibles were also given to the Mozambique pastors to assist them in the work in their own country.
In addition to the Mkalema assembly we were at today the following assemblies were also represented:
Mozambique – Kalikonewe, Hhamanbe, Nthunda, Nkhonda, Kalibzipiri, Chigumukire
Llongwe Zone – Kantotma, Chikalipo, Msunza, Kalolo, Chimsolo, Chiputu, Ndaula, Katola, Maliwa, Msundwe
Chigwilizano Zone– Mwatsele Our day concluded around 5:30pm by sharing a meal with pastors Nelson and Bikiel and also Francis, Innocent and Armonue.
The sharing of testimonies and bible stories was very encouraging and reinforced our view that the work here is in good hands. No sunset pikkie today due to cloud cover as the November rains are due anytime. Other pictures will be added tomorrow when we arrive in Jo-burg due to the extremely slow wifi here in Llongwe – sorry to all of our readers on that one! With the sun setting low (you will have to take my word on that) I bid you all good night and God bless.
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