Malawi 2017 Team
We started out our day by taking a tour of the Passion Center and Mulunguzi Community Church. We saw where the passion kids eat and sleep. We also went out to the village of Namikango and saw the farm that Chris Weaver helped get started. The guys were out there working and teaching some members of the community who had come out how to build the compost piles with the corn husks and “chicken soup” fertilizer.
We also got to see the new community center which the Passion Center is building. Hopefully it will be completed by the end of this month. This will be a prototype for other villages to use as their church buildings. The Passion Center will use this building as a kind of recreation room/place for after-school learning to go on and also a place for meetings to be held if need-be. It will serve many purposes. It is such a huge blessing to the growth of the Passion Center. We also got to see the completed Champions Club which was opened this past year. It is a place for children with special needs to go where they feel safe and receive individual therapy and teaching. There are so many sensory items in these rooms that the interns who work here can use to work with the kids.
We got to attend a Girl’s Corner conference which was focused on purity. There were all ages of girls here and the speakers were so powerful. It was great seeing the impact they had on the girls who attended. At the same time, on the other side of the property was the Boys of Destiny conference. Jordan Payne, Bradley Draghi, Mark Poling and Jamie Dato all spoke to the boys. 1 Timothy 4:12 says “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” No matter the age, we must be an example at all times of the way God wants us to live and act.
That afternoon we had our first VBS as a team. We went out to the village of Jali (where the second Passion Center is located). We held VBS at the church out there. About 250 kids came. We shared the story of Jesus calling the disciples and made some fish crafts with them to remind them that Jesus wants all of us to be Fishers of Men and share the gospel with everyone we see. Jali has a new church plant location that is being built. We got to go see the progress of it. Right now church is being held in a bamboo hut with a thatch roof. They have enough chairs for the leaders of the church and a few of the men. The women always sit on the dirt floor on mats. The new church will be modeled after the community center at the Passion Center.
There are men out there molding and firing bricks. They get 9 cents for every 10 bricks they finish completely. So far the 26 men who are working out there have made 80,000 bricks. They need a total of 130,000 to build the church. They take such ownership in what they are doing and look so proud of what they’ve accomplished so far. The whole village will benefit when this church opens.
We went out to one of the most remote villages to do a mini VBS at a nursery school (Kindergarten age and younger). We told the story of Noah and talked about the promises that God makes to each and every one of us and how God doesn’t break His promises. The nursery school we visited is in the Community Health Network which is a group that goes out into 170 villages and teaches basic wound care. This group is able to use healthcare as a pathway to sharing the gospel with the furthest out men, women and children.
That afternoon we went back to Jali to the primary school. This school has 9 teachers for 700 kids! They were excited to see us and let us bless their kids with another VBS. We shared the gospel with them, played games, sang songs and did a craft with them. There were about 800 kids who came. The headmaster of the school was so thankful that we took the time to come and bless them. They all were so welcoming. What God is allowing us to do out here will not just bless these kids, but their children and their children’s children for many generations. We may be the only Jesus some of these people will ever see.
The first annual (yes, it will be an annual thing now) Women’s Conference at Mulunguzi Community Church. Joni Weaver, Pilira’s wife Omega, and some other women did a great job putting this together. There were over 300 women who came. The theme was “Women of Faith.” We were blessed to get to attend and worship with these women from all different villages and churches. The women on our team who are from California put together some gift bags for the women and as they left they came up to the front of church and we put a cross around each of their necks and prayed for each one individually. It was awesome!
Saturday also brought the Passion Cup finals which is a regional soccer tournament. Jamie Dato did a great job organizing this. Mark Poling shared the gospel message. There were over a thousand people there! We brought some soccer balls, uniforms and other equipment from home to the players here. At the same time, the girls had their Netball championship game. Our Passion Center girls made it to the finals so it was fun to go cheer them on. They didn’t win but they had so much fun and I’m glad we had some of our ladies and girls there to encourage them since they don’t have parents and family.
Sunday was an amazing day of worship! Half of our team went to Mulunguzi Community Church and half went to Jali Community Church. Greg Kielich preached at MCC and from what those who were there say, it was an amazing message! During Sunday school, Jordan and Bradley spoke to the youth (18 yr olds to late 30’s; anyone who is single basically) and Jamie spoke to the adult Sunday school.
The people who went to Jali started off their morning with a hike down to the river to witness 11 baptisms. They sing and praise in between baptisms to help celebrate this declaration of faith. Pastor Eric Sythoff preached and Rick Wells from Washington spoke during Sunday school. We also got to share communion with them. The Abusa (pastor) also dedicated new uniforms to the women of the church who help lead worship. It is an understatement to say that everyone had a good day. It was a much needed day of worship and rest after a full week of ministering to others. We ended our Sunday “Malawi experience” by having lunch at the ever-so-popular Tasty Bites restaurant.
We are so blessed to be serving here in Malawi. This coming week we have four straight days of VBS where we will have a couple days of 1,000+ so please be praying that many hearts will be opened to the gospel message that will be presented to them. We also will be going out and ministering to the widows later this week. We are thankful for all the prayers back home and are blessed to be His hands and feet here in the Warm Heart of Africa! Much love and blessings from Malawi!