So here I am, back in Mgona (identified as the slums). We decided to extend our ministry to midweek sessions as it would have been three months before we saw the people of Mgona again and we couldn’t have that. They had become as family to us. It brings to memory the scripture about leaving your brother in need and sending them off with a blessing when you have the means to bless them with something tangible. Our brothers are hungry and desperate for the word. How do we leave them starving for three months? So, we have opened up Wednesday to minister in Mgona and Chinsapo which means we will see the group in Mgona every fortnight. One cannot comprehend how relieving this all is. It didn’t feel right to say goodbye until July. So here I am excited to be back so soon but without a clear Word from the Lord. Days of trying out different messages have brought no peace and so here I am trusting that God will reveal all at the right time. Otherwise….
This time we are at the African Abraham Church. When I asked why that name sounded familiar, I was told that it was because they believed in polygamy. Aha! So it was but the Lord hasn’t asked us to come here and challenge that particular doctrine. In fact I wasn’t really sure why I was sent here. In the dark dusty yet clean room we find 15 people waiting for us. They wet the entire room to reduce the dust particles blowing everywhere so there is a damp smell that fills the room. One side of the room has a wall made of mud but the other is cardboard. I am taking all this in all the while asking the Father what His pleasure is to teach today. As He always does, the Spirit of God reveals the message, this is as I begin to speak by faith. Every time we come into the villages we are overwhelmed. It is overwhelming to see and sense such hunger for the things of God. It is humbling to know that you are the one that God has entrusted to give the right food out. Hungry people will eat anything. Therein lies the danger because their reception is not necessarily a mark of the effectiveness or freshness of your message.
A little boy of about two years old comes in. “I also want to pray” he says. It is the sweetest thing. After that, the word comes forth and we are on our way. The subject is truth versus fact. It is the foundation we use to establish the authenticity and the final authority of the Word of God. We are very excited to be talking about the Word as we are currently involved in a campaign to raise 1000 bibles this year. Of course we have begun with a reachable target of 100 first so that we are not weighed down. We could sit back and wait for a donor to come and help or we can begin to do something ourselves. If anyone comes in to help, let them find us already at work. The focus of our ‘bible search’ is to have Malawians help our own, so we have two targets; one for Malawians and another for people outside Malawi (because it really isn’t about WHO purchases the bibles but that we GET bibles). So far we have 65 bibles in pledges but 13 bibles actually bought and paid for. This is only after one week. I am elated because I see God driving this one to its destiny. In fact, I feel like the outcome will blow my mind!
This is the first time I get to give out the Chichewa full life study bible – we give out three. One to an eager teenager, another a lady we always see at our meetings profusely writing notes and the third to a man who always attends the meetings and then goes off to his night watchman job. We have missed him the last couple of weeks and it is good to see him again. He was attacked and wounded on his job but he greets us with a great smile that radiates through my heart.
There is no feeling like giving someone a brand new bible, especially a study bible. I remember my first study bible. I was so excited to find the concordance. It felt like magic and now here I was, years later, giving out the same experience. We talk a little about the wealth of the Word of God. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” is the word that we keep repeating.
Mrs Samiyeli is here. She is the only lady pastor I know and I have come to love seeing her. She gives me hope and lets me know that I am not alone in this place. I can sense her authority now that she is on her own turf. This is one of the first times we have had such a well rounded group. To be perfectly honest, my expectation was to find about ten women and one man. Instead we have 66 people with all genders and age groups equally represented. It is a blessing to see the young adult men and teenagers present. It is a wonderful start to the midweek meetings and we leave excited and promising to see each other in two weeks.
Tomorrow we rest (from going out) but this one of our toughest weeks. We have a women’s meeting in Mzumanzi on Friday, a weekend with the Mngwangwa leaders group and a Sunday morning service to boot. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We all can.