Climbing the Mountain in the Chitimba Area.
In this report I am re-telling a discussion and oral report our DCI Team gave during a Zoom call after they visited Kilala, a village high in the mountains along the Lake Malawi shore and Chikola, in the same area.
The Team met two elderly pastors in Chitimba and were invited to come along to visit the villages high in the mountains where they had been training leaders and where they had taught the one-on-one discipling. As they started up the mountain John, George and Caleb began running out of energy. The mountains in that area reach 3000 M, on average 1800 M above sea level. The climb was steep, and the path was strewn with rocks and narrow. The two pastors (I don’t know their names) kept on encouraging them to keep going when they begged to have a break. “Just a little further.” Was the word from them.
Pastor Rammed Mchunkha and pastor Shupa Msiska of Church Of God.
John tells us, “I was really blessed, when I met 3 old men, pastors, but especially the 2, that went to this mountain village to introduce the discipling work. These are old men…and how they managed to climb that steep mountain…it’s God’s miracle. They were climbing in front of us and I was trying to impress them because I am still young, but when we reached a certain place, and I said, “no, no, no, let’s rest”. To see a short video of the hard climb, click on the link: https://vimeo.com/436902842
John again, “I could not keep up. They said, “No, no, this is the smallest hill. Come it’s not far”. Every time we were “very close” until we finally reached the top. But I now understand why these men are climbing the mountain. The joy is at the top. They are doing it for the love of God. Because lives have been changed. I could hear on the mountains, “…. when I was not born again…. now I’m happy. I’m born again!” I’ve given my life to Christ. I’ve been changed.
When they finally reached the village of Kilala they discovered that the Gospel had never reached this place. It was too remote, and preachers and evangelists just hadn’t gone there. The churches in that area were traditional African churches, no Bible and no salvation, just the demonic, no Creator God and no Lord Jesus Christ.
John reports, “Where we went, I was blessed to find that all the churches were just traditional African churches (that don’t have the Bible). But when people speak to us, we are amazed to hear how people have come to know the Word of God. How they can quote scriptures.”
“One to one discipling is completely changing lives. They are enjoying this perhaps more than I do. It’s a new thing for them and their eyes are opened. They are so thirsty and so hungry to know more about the God of the Bible. They are planning to go to another mountain to share that Word. You see now, the mountain people are now trying to reach their fellow mountain people with the Good News. The preachers in the valleys don’t want to climb the mountains. “
“This was a genuine testimony. We could see and feel it. And I was like, WOW, God bless these old men. So that was the feeling I had. I am energetic, I’m still young, but I was struggling to get up those kind of mountains…. that is amazing! That blows my mind. And I know that these trainings we do may look like nothing is happening, but God is involved, and I’m telling you, we know only a LITTLE of how the word makes inroads and how far it travels through the one-on-one.
We only see a very little, but big things are happening. So, I was so encouraged because by the way they said it, I think more mountains will be conquered in those areas with the gospel. It’s a blessing. Just be encouraged – this work of God is going on!”
George gives his perspective, “We are really encouraged. The place, Kilala, on top of the mountains, has no road going to that place. No car can get there. But that place is so fertile. People can grow maize without applying fertilizer. But the problem is that when you grow maize and want to sell it, you have to take your bag on top of your head from the top of the mountain down to the road. It is a long distance. You cannot take much maize. You can only take a small packet because you take it on your head. So, even preachers don’t want to go there. They are not that devoted because it is too tiresome to climb the mountain. I really thank God, that by the grace of God, we went there. Of course, we were really tired. Our muscles are very sore. Our legs were shaking and shaking.”
John: “Something that caused me to cry, is what the pastor said on top of the mountain. He said, ‘I have been a preacher, I have been around. But I have never seen people in Life Groups changed as he is witnessing now through 1-1. 1-1 is really changing lives. I myself was so devoted to see crowds of people come and have big rallies. That was my big desire. But now, I don’t need it. This is what I need to be doing.’”
He carries on, “When I heard him say it and saw the work they are doing, I became convinced that these men are indeed serving God. They are not after anything else, but to save souls. And I saw the results in the people who were on the mountain. These pastors have been changed. They told me, “I’ve been a pastor for many years, but when I was taught 1-1, that’s when I knew what God has called me to do. And that’s why I will do it until I die.” And I, John, was hearing this on top of the mountain. God is changing people – not only those who have never known him, but even those who have been ministering. They have come to see a truly life changing system of reaching the lost.”
Another amazing story John told is about a Principal Chief. This is the most powerful local person, who is over all the village chiefs. John reports, “I tell you; you can’t reach a chief during an open evangelism rally…how will the chief say he needs to receive Christ during a rally like that? Chiefs don’t like that. But 1-1 brings even chiefs to their knees. And they turn to Jesus. We did not meet this chief, but we have heard much about him from other people telling us how he has changed. But how did it happen? 1-1. He was reached on a personal level and understood that he needed Christ. Once he received Christ into his life, he began loving the Bible. He also goes from place to place to share the gospel – from one house to another.
Here in Malawi, when you see a Principle Chief, women have to bow down, people have to give way. You don’t walk on the road with the Chief coming toward you. You have to step aside. This chief is going to a people’s houses, knocks on the door, and says, ‘I want to talk to you about Jesus’. This is life transforming. I, myself, (John), was so changed, touched and energized for the gospel by this story.
George: “It was on this mountain that I also really saw the impact of the work of DCI. We don’t know much, we know only a little, because the work was going on there; people are being saved; people are being discipled; people are being changed. But we did not know much about that mountain until we went there. The impact of the work – we may not know it all, but God knows it”.
Caleb: “Adding to what John has said, the leader of the group said, “Some time back there came an evangelist who preached in that village, but there were no results. Because, as evangelists do, he preached and then he went away. But with 1-1, we are empowering the local villagers. We go away, but we leave the message with them so they can continue doing the work and it is working”.
Elly: “How do you get Bibles and materials to these people? Discipleship is dependent on having discipleship material and New Testaments”.
George: “In that place there is a great need of Bibles because people do not have Bibles. It is difficult to go from this village to the main road. Bibles are sold in Mzuzu through the local Christian Book Store. This is difficult, they cannot make that trip, Mzuzu is about 250 KM away after they have climbed down the mountain. So there is a great need of Bibles and they really appreciated the New Testaments we make available. (through ShareWord Global). These 2 old men – the pastors who introduced the work there – carried Bibles on their head to that village. I don’t know if you saw the photos of these old men, these pastors, they are really old. It was so encouraging to see them at their age, doing the work that they do – going up the mountain, carrying Bibles on their heads so that these villagers can also benefit from these Bibles and help them with 1-1 discipling and learning more about the plan of salvation”.
John: “We send the Bibles to the coach of that area, and the coach shares these Bibles with the pastors and these pastors take the Bibles up the mountain. And, oh boy, it was just mind blowing! This encounter, this trip, for me was life changing”.
Kilala has birthed another group that is …3 hours climbing (that is a 6 hours total going and coming back). That’s 3 hours climbing from Kilala. These are very remote areas where the gospel has not gone before.
In the mean time we went from Kilala to Chikola, to visit another Life Group.
This trip has been a blessing… meeting new believers face to face. This village had always had some troublesome people. Now that they have become believers, they tried to testify, but their fellow believers would not give them a chance…they spoke for them. I remember one boy who stood up and, “This man – he fights! Everywhere this man went, there was a fight. He was known in the whole village for being a fighter. He was so violent. If anyone said something he didn’t like – he would fight. He was that kind of person.” And then we heard that this person is going house to house now preaching the gospel.
More lives have been changed. I tell you, if people hear him speak, if this guy can be changed through believing in Jesus, who will be exempted? So, his story has become one of the greatest testimonies in that area. The gospel of Jesus changes lives.
Another man testified, “I used to be a drunkard”. And everybody nodded their heads, agreeing with what he said. He said, “I could spend 15,000 – 20,000 MK just in one day. What I did was go catch fish and then drink. If the wife said, there is no food, she is in trouble.” But now he loves his family and provides for them.
Caleb: “I was reminded of what Paul said, ‘When I look at you (He was speaking of the people he was ministering to), you are my joy. That is why I am always going on with the gospel, because when I look at the results, I see you and you are my joy’. So, when we reached the mountain, and went to Chikola, I was reminded of the same thing, seeing how joyful the gospel was in that place. That’s what caused Paul to stay 3 ½ years at one place because of the gospel. I was very much encouraged, God is good in saving people everywhere, even in the mountains of Malawi.
Pastor Rammed Mchunkha discipling.