John and George spent a long week visiting an area in the very north of Malawi. Three areas were included in this visit and the reports below tell the story. They battled with intestinal discomfort for three days and bugs that kept them from sleeping a whole night.
ULIWA, TILOLA AND CHITIMBA
We arrived at Uliwa late in the afternoon of Sunday, and we started the training Monday morning. Eight leaders attended the training. It went well, except that George and I were both sick from the first day of training at Uliwa till the third day. Pastors where really blessed with the teaching we brought, especially when we explained the spiritual gifts. Most of these pastors have never been taught on the spiritual gifts, even though most of them went to bible colleges. George taught the spiritual gifts very well. Pastors were happy to learn how they can discover their own spiritual gifts. One pastor said he never knew that one can use the hand to explain the fivefold ministry gifts in details as George did.
From Uliwa we had time to travel to different villages to hear for ourselves what God is doing in the area. We first visited a place called Hara where the work is exploding very fast. This village has many people who belong to a denomination that doesn’t preach the true gospel, like Last Church and African Church. After Mwaonje Gondwe was trained at Uliwa by the DCI team he introduced this work in his village. He deliberately targeted these local churches that do not preach Christ. Now many people have come to know Christ and are being discipled. We met with some of these people, and some of them have become Life Group Leaders.
We met Lameck Kaulanda who is a pastor of an African Church. He accepted Christ at the Life Group and after he was discipled, he went back to his church and began sharing the Gospel of salvation. Many people from his church have come to know Christ for salvation.
We also met Elizer Chawola who was a prostitute and she is a changed person now and a mother. At Hara we also found Simeon Nyirenda who was a witch-doctor (an evil spirit worshipper) who had a Shilan (a temple dedicated for ritual practices and worshipping of spirits.)
We also visited a place called Hangalawe. Here we also met people that have been transformed through the one to one and the Life Groups. We met Ellings Harawa who was such a drunkard and everybody in this area knew about him. But through the Life Group Ellings accepted Christ through his wife’s witness. She was attending Hangalawe Life Group. Many lives have been changed through the study of the New Testaments in their Life Group and one to one discipling. At Hangalawe people are doing one to one discipling in more places than we know. This resulted in the community miraculously being transformed: drunkards and prostitutes are all changed by the Gospel.
Harry started the work at Tilola and we visited this place once with him in 2016. We returned to see how the work is doing. We received many calls from there and so we were blessed to find that the work was still carrying on. Harry, who was the coach in that area had left and the leaders had not yet been fully trained at that time. We were encouraged by what we found!
We spent the whole day there, and invited all Life Group leaders and their apprentices to meet with us. Our plan was to do the Dynamic Basics together with them. We did this and George taught the Explosive Growth and the Welcome from the Leaders Training Manual. We had 18 leaders all together. Some walked for more than 20 Kilometers to attend the training. We have also appointed two pastors as our contact persons. Pastor Emmanuel Mwafuliwa will be working with the leaders that are close to where we conducted the trainings, while Matthews Kamba will be working with those leaders who lives 20 kilometers from there. This area will no longer be part of the Uliwa group, since it is too far from there. There are 9 Life groups in that area with people from different churches.
From Tilola we went to Chitimba where we had two full days of training with six pastors with their wives. This is unique of the Chitimba pastors, they always come with their wives. This works here because we only have 6 leaders right now and that keeps the group manageable.
The women are also very much involved in the ministry. The pastors at Chitimba are doing one to one discipleship both in their churches and in their community. Many lives have been impacted also due to the free ShareWord Bibles we can give them. Many Life Groups have started in this area.
During all these days we were lodging at the Kabalilo rest house. We had good rooms which were self-contained. This was a great help to us due to the diarrhea that troubled us for 3 days. The wash room was the only safe place to be. The shower also was a great help for cooling our bodies during the night for it was very hot.
One night we didn’t sleep because of some tiny flying insects that entered our rooms. These insects are edible. They come from Lake Malawi. People catch them by using a soaked winnower and swashing it through the air and the insects will stick to the moist winnower. Then they form them into a ball and sell it at the market. This is a favorite food for many people along the shores of Lake Malawi.