“Hello, Pastor, how are you?” “Ah, I’m fine Pastor, what about you?” Aha, the sounds of Pastors from all over the place greeting one another. No one uses their names. It is pastor. It is funny and I smile. There is too much excitement in the air. No one has yet comprehended what all this means. No one can, not until it’s over. We have come here, to Assemblies of God (a hall so beautiful, none of our pastors have ever seen) and there are lifted heads, taking in the beauty. I am looking around too, taking in the men of God we have brought. They are greeting each other and staying in safe huddles. Dear God, no one can begin to comprehend the impact this will bring.
Inside the room, having received a starter pack ( an NIV bible, a book on “Mixing God with Money’ and a Chichewa book kumudziwa Mulungu pa chiyambi (knowing God the Creator), there was such excitement I thought I would burst. Pastors kept coming into the room and giving thanks for being able to be there. ‘Thank you sister’. Sister didn’t have much to do with it but I understand. They were thanking those that got them here. They were thanking the ones who sacrificed for this. I was just the face they could connect all this with.
Soon we were learning. Most sat close to me (my posse). We spent the day learning from great bible teachers from several african countries as well as Malawi. For five solid days, we listened, took notes and fellowshipped. It was early mornings and late nights but it was all worth it. The minibuses had to be on the road by 5:30 in the morning and retired at about 8:00 at night. It took some maneuvering to get them all there on time. Four groups lived over 1 hour away. Another three were 30 minutes away. The rest were within twenty minutes drive. They all had to be picked and dropped with two vehicles. My heart went out to the drivers. Felix hosted two of the leaders from far off places. It was hard but the reward far surpassed what it took.
As Friday approached, the reality of 65 books begun to be real. Up until then, they were just on display in the front of the pulpit stage. Yes, if you are not aware of what I am on about, we took 103 pastors and leaders to the ‘pastors’ book set conference’. It was MK10, 500.00 for each pastor to attend. This included a meal and at the end of the conference each was to receive 65 books (bible, commentaries, dictionaries, books on marriage, money, missions and much more). 65 books!!! This is to people who perhaps only have one or two books, if they are lucky. Suddenly, a man who meets his congregation in a rundown classroom with holes in the floor will have access to books that he has never even heard of!! Milanzi, Nkhoma and Mwale were with us of course. Sometimes, because of accents I knew they had had a hard time understanding but most times they followed. The conference was for English speaking pastors.
My heart is overwhelmed. I am not sure any of what I have written makes sense. The only thing I can say is to God be the glory. God has a plan for the communities and villages we work in. He has done something that can be described as “eye has not seen and ear has not heard what the Lord has in store for those who love Him.” No one could have anticipated this and no one can say what impact this will have! All the things that seemed hidden from them are now accessible; treasures within pages worth more than silver. The cost of the books is over MK100, 000.00. The MK10, 500.00 was just the fee for transporting them.
There was such jubilation at the office (we all went back to the office after the conference was over). There were tears and much celebration. The last thing I saw was groups of pastors being dropped at points and them carrying their sack of books over their shoulders and on their heads. Aha, there is a time a man will carry katundu (stuff) on his head!
There is a light beginning to shine in the communities. The mandate of somebody cares is to cause the communities to see the light. The light is shining. God’s ways are not ours. We cannot even comprehend what will happen as a result of this. Over 100 pastors! In 13 village communities! To God be the glory!