December 29, 2012

Christmas and New Years Greetings from the “Warm Heart of Africa – Malawi.”

We are overcome with great Thankfulness for what God has done in the last month and for your prayers, love, and support. What has happened with the birth of the Greater Grace Church of Malawi is nothing short of miraculous. Ezra 8:18 characterizes what we are experiencing, “the good hand of God is upon us…”


Since our last newsletter God had done so much, we received our work permits as well as a tax clearance letter for our household goods. We spent a week in early December fixing the plumbing on the house and visiting future church members. While Pr. Albert, Pr. Belias, and I worked, Julie had the task of watching the kids and selling the car (in a foreign country). Amazingly, with 2 kids in tow, Julie was able to sell the car – what a hero of God’s faithfulness.
Bible study w Pr Belias

As we returned, our next task was to move our things. Although we had an agreement with a truck driver to add our household things to his load, he wouldn’t return our calls. After a few days of frustrating phone tag, we found out that the truck we were promised was broken down. In an act of desperation, we made a call to our friend who owns the bus company that we always use to travel to Malawi and he agreed to load our things on the next bus and even brought the bus to our house to load. As we went through the border, we realized why God prevented us from using the big truck – the border guards overly scrutinize them. Buses, on the other hand, are full with passengers so they are more lenient and didn’t even examine our things. Praise God, we made it through and the bus driver agreed to drop all our things off at our new house – an international move!
Moving day with the big Bus

The final stage in our move was to find a car in Malawi, get it registered, drive it back to Zambia to pick up Julie and the girls with our final things, and return to Malawi before Christmas. This proved to be the most challenging. The first car we called in the newspaper was the perfect one. It seemed as if it was from God, but the owners didn’t have the proper paperwork for us to change the ownership. After giving up on that car and not finding anything else, we received a call from the owners saying that they got their papers in order. Then in rapid fire sequence, we changed ownership of the vehicle and got it ready to cross the border and left for Zambia (things that normally take weeks took days).

Packed car destination Malawi!
Malawi team house
Lastly, was the icing on the cake- total Grace! The place we would like to rent for the church is a center for battered women and street children. The director of the center requested if we could do a special Christmas service for the children before we even finalized our lease agreement; so last Sunday we had our first service in Malawi. We invited the members who have been waiting for the church to start and began with 14 people! It was truly a grace service. We are excited for our evangelism program to start as well as Bible College. Please pray for us as we meet with the government officials who run the center after New Years to finalize our lease agreement of the church. We also plan to begin an introductory Bible college course, “Grace and the Finished Work”, for the month of January and begin the full semester on February 2nd. Thank you for your prayers – we see them being answered before our eyes. We love you and are thankful for you!

1st Church Service

October 27, 2012

4 memorable occasions

On our past bus trip to Malawi we announced that Greater Grace Church provided the entertainment on the bus freely; we then proceeded to show them “Fireproof “ and “Courageous” (The Christian films from Sherwood Bible Church). Fireproof was very effective. People were overwhelmed with the story of self-sacrificial love in a marriage. Many asked us for copies of the films. Our time in Lilongwe was no different, God breathed on our every word. We met with our brethren there 3 different times: two times outside in front of the Post Office and the third at one brother Clifford’s house. Each time we were amazed at people’s hunger for the Word of God. We spoke about Grace not being just a characteristic of God but encompassing His entire nature. 
Livingstone Trip
The other memorable occasion was the arrival of Pr. Scibelli for his trip here. What was particularly branding was seeing the same Clifford whose house we had visited a week earlier now visiting us here in Lusaka and experiencing Body life. Every October we do a men’s leadership conference. This year was amazing because we brought 30 men (along with my family and the Speedy’s family) to the 4-month-old Livingstone church. Clifford was sponging all the life that he could from Pr. Scibelli and the Zambian leaders.  All in all, Clifford spent a week and a half here in Zambia; but the eternal value of the fellowship…priceless.
        Church of Livingstone


The 3rd memorable occasion was on a sad note, but glorious nonetheless.  A few weeks ago we lost a young man and heaven gained him. He had conviction, focus, and divine love. God brought him home. His father died last year and he followed at only age 17. The night he died, his last words to his Mom were to keep going forward, keep attending church, go to the South African conference. He said, "I will be fine, I am going to see my Dad..." A few minutes later he stepped into eternity. His name was Zienzo Kunda. His mother and two sisters who are left behind were full of faith and so strong. The funeral was incredible; I think it was the most anointed funeral I have ever attended. Usually Zambian funerals have a lot of commotion involving drinking at the gravesite and other distractions. There was none of that. Over 400 people attended, 300 of which were his fellow students. I was amazed at what an impact his life had, and to us he seemed quiet and shy. I am overwhelmed, what a precious young man, what a Savior that transforms us.


Lastly, there was an incredible divine appointment, the kind that you have few times in your life. The world calls them coincidences, but God has a purpose for them. The other day I was with my family in the local Supermarket, and from a distance, I saw a man with a Zeke’s Coffee T-shirt (from Baltimore). I began to walk over to him and introduce myself as a fellow Baltimore native. Instantly I recognized him and my brain began a deep search from where we had met each other. Then I remembered, we were in the same Biology class in Baltimore Community College 10 years ago. Not only were we in the same class of about 30 people, but we were Lab partners as well. I recalled even witnessing to him. We exchanged phone numbers and he told me he has been in Lusaka for 6 years.  We must have past each other a number of times in the last 4 years that we have been here. I was overwhelmed because a little over a year ago Dave Petersen (a great friend from Baltimore) also met a fellow classmate that he hadn’t seen for 10 years while visiting here in Zambia. It also was a few stores over. It seems like Lusaka is haven for former classmates or even more so, that God is a God of the miraculous.

 Pr Scibelli with Callia and Poema-Oct 12

        Pastors/Wives Lunch with Pr Scibelli-Lusaka, Zambia

September 23, 2012

September Sessions

It has been 2 weeks that we have been back and have jumped right in to all that is going on here, as well as, preparing for the move to Malawi.
Upon arriving, I received the whole story of how our church constitution in Malawi was approved and it was such an encouragement of how miraculous it was. Also, I want to thank the two men who worked so hard to make it happen, Pr. Albert Ntalasha and Pr. Enock Muchindu. These men are heroes of God's Faithfulness.
We plan on making two more trips to Malawi before moving there. The first trip will be this Wednesday. Pr. Renaldo will accompany Pr. Albert, Pr. Enock, and I. We are believing God to start a bank account for the church, which can be somewhat challenging with alot of paperwork and to begin looking for housing and a room for the church. We really have it in our hearts to be in the same Community center that we have had all our previous Bible studies in.  The manager of that building is Mr. Sakala, and we are praying that space will be available there for us to start renting to have Church and Bible College. We are also praying to move to a residential area that is close to the center of town called Area 3. There is a real demand for housing in this area so we are believing God for a miracle, but the Bible says that we have not because we ask not. So we are putting these prayer requests out in specifics so you know what and how to pray and then we trust God.
Visitation is such a vital part of church life. Today we visited a precious couple in the church that has been with us since the early days of the church here. Davis and Pricilla got married at our April conference four years ago by Pr. Scibelli. They had recently moved and wanted us to see their new place. Their new place is about a mile from the biggest market in the country and Saturday is market day. It was awesome… Definitely a “TIA – This Is Africa” story.
As we approached the road to the market we found gridlock traffic about a quarter mile before the turn. We thought a dignitary was passing or a huge accident…no just City Market. There is a four way traffic light which people heed when it suits their schedule or to avoid an accident. That causes a four lane traffic jam in a two lane road. Amazingly, there are no accidents or pedestrians killed, but mini buses are cutting each other off and there is a symphony of horn blasts. After a half hour we made it through the laberinth of cars past City Market to meet Davis at a gas station around the corner of his house.
 “Where have you guys been, I’ve been waiting for you, “ he says. We just smiled and nodded. We walked into his 3 room house greeted Pricilla and had great fellowship. Oh how valuable! Talking about what God has done, reminiscing about God’s faithfulness; worth even braving the traffic of the DC beltway. After an hour, we said our goodbyes, prayed for the house (the code for we have to leave now in Zambia), and went right back the way we came, praising God, lowing as we went (1Sam 6:12).
           On our way throught Lusaka traffic and Market area..
                  Precious friends from the Church, Davis and Piscilla and son Emmanuel


  We are asking for your prayers for this precious family who just lost their teenage son tonight (sunday)here in Zambia. Their lost their father last year and this family is so precious to the body of Christ here. God has a plan. Pray for his mom Olipa and two sisters, Dorothy and Natasha from the church of Lilanda. Thank you.
                                 Zienzo Kunda

September 14, 2012

In the Footsteps of Paul...

On our way to Zambia we visited Chris' mom  in Mytilene, Greece on the Island of Lesvos, where the Apostle Paul went for a visit in the Capital City of Mytilene, Acts 20:14...
This Church was built where it is believed that the Apostle Paul preached. - Mytilene.

The Native Island of Chris' Mother where she grew up, before moving to America when she was 12 years old and moved back to about 25 years ago.
This is quite of an exceptional Island, it is about 5 miles off the Coast of Turkey near where the Church of Pergamos used to be. Rev.2:12...  We had a great view of the Agean sea with the Coastline of Turkey from the house where we stayed and from anywhere on the road on the east coast of the Island.....

                                     Downtown Mytilene

                      We can see the Coast of Turkey!

And Poema's 4th Birthday happened when we were on the Island!
    The Girls with their Yaya -Chris' mom:)

My mom (who came from southern France) met us on the way to be with us

                     Us with my mom

And Now after a long trip (about 8 planes in all) we are back in Zambia for the next few months before the big move to Malawi!

August 11, 2012

Praise Report!

  Last week God really answered our prayers... the two pastors that have been travelling with me to Malawi, Pr Albert Ntalasha and Pr Enoch Muchindu, went a 7th time to Lilongwe to finalize our church constitution. Because of the recent passing of the Malawian president, things have been tumultuous in its government administration. The church registration that we submitted was delayed because of a change of cabinet members. But after this past trip and the persistance of our pastors,

God blessed us with our approved church registration!!!

At the same time, we also submitted our paperwork for our residency permits which will permit us to live in Malawi. In all, the trip was for two weeks which also gave the oppurtunity to visit with our future church members. Pr. Albert and Pr. Enoch had a great time visiting and even having an informal church service with disciples in front of the main Post Office. We wanted to thank you all for your prayers, love, and support. God has great things in store for the precious people of Malawi. They are the treasure of that great land. We have great hope and expectation that Malawi will play a great role in reaching the whole of Southern Africa and other parts of the World.

1. The right location for the church - I really feel that we should be in the Community center at a place called "Falls". We have had all our Bible studies there. Pray that God opens the doors there for an open room. The man in charge is Mr. Sakala.

2. The right location for the team house - Area 3 is a very safe area near downtown. It would be the perfect place for us to live. We are praying for a main house with a guest wing (small house) in the back to accomodate our family and Pr. Albert and other future team members.

3. For God to raise up disciples - "peoples whose hearts God has touched: 1Sam 10:26". We already have a group of about 10 to 15 whom we have met with regularly.

4. Also pray for one couple who will remain unamed, but who we have befriended and really needs a touch in their marriage.

July 03, 2012

News from the US

I am writing you at the close of our International Convention in Baltimore. We have truly been overwhelmed with joy in this past week. For one week the Church in Baltimore with all GG Churches, missionaries and foreign nationals-that were able to come- from all corners of the world converge in one plaza and look to God for insight and inspiration.


Saturday night was a perfect culmination. The two messages that closed the conference were dripping with anointing and impetus. Pr. Morrisson and Pr. Schaller spoke on counting everything loss in life to win Christ and finding the pearl of great price which is Christ. Our hearts are so thankful to God, that we are a part of such a spiritual family. Pr. Schaller mentioned that we value our fellowship so much that we tread carefully with our words so as not to quench the Holy Spirit. As I looked at Pr. Stan Collins in Peru, Pr. Anil and Devendre in India, Pr. Veader here in Baltimore, and really everyone; I thought of Luke 3:16 where John said that he was not worthy to unloose the shoe of Christ. That is the kind of reverence we can have for each other. Each member is so sacred because they are a member of Christ's body. And Christ would tell us thank you for cloathing me or feeding me like in Matt 25:40.

 Convention 2012: "To live is Christ"

After a week like this, I have the longing for the day when it will be a heavenly convention and we will have a new fellowship that is beyond borders and geographical barries. But truly we had that same fellowship. My wife, family, and I had the great privilege of visiting the Greater Grace Church of Pretoria, South Africa, as well as travelling to the southern part of South Africa to visit some friends/workmates who are also amazing believers as well. The church there is vibrant, healthy, teaming with love and fellowship. It was a pre-convention warm up for us: Bible college classes carrying on into the night, fun times of evangelism with the sketchboard on the streets, Barbecueing and the Word 9what a combo) with litterally the whole church at Pr. Jabulani's house...amazing.

We have a eternal expectation for the rest of the summer for visiting a number of our branch ministries, working, and plugging into the Baltimore schedule. While we are here, Pr. Albert is in Kitwe, filling in for Pr. Adam Speedy, and gaining great experience leading a ministry. His uncle, Pr. Bernard is with his team getting established in the opposite direction in the south of the country really ministering to the people of Livingstone. They just emailed us that they are starting two new Bible studies in people's homes in two of the biggest neighborhoods of the city. Pr. Belias, Pr. Enoch, and Pr. Mervin are at the helm of the church in Emmansdale, Lusaka; while Pr. Tembo(Lilanda), Pr. Paul (Ngombe), Pr. Nelson (Chawama), and Pr. Martin (Kanyama) are going forward in the other four churches in the city (with their respective areas).

Thank you so much for your prayers, support, job oppurtunities given, love, encouragement. We truly get to witness the power of prayer in action. Your prayers move mountains, open doors, bring divine contacts, and deliver lives. We continue to ask for them.

Please Pray as we believe God for:

- Our church constitution to be processed in Malawi

- Our summer in the US -for the next month and a half-, travelling mercies visiting churches, our health, for the purchase of our tickets back to Zambia

- Our residence visas for Malawi

- That 2 or 3 Malawians could come for the Leadership conference with Pr. Scibelli in October

- That we would be led to God's place where He wants us to live and have church

- For our Move in November and all the details that go along with piling all our stuff in a truck and moving it into another country

God Bless You



More pics of our trip to South Africa and the churches there on the following post:)

    Poema and Callia in George,South Africa and Chris got to surf in the Indian Ocean for his birthday

We got to visit the Garden Route about 14 hours south of Pretoria on the coast of SA and also meet with some of Chris' summer co-workers who are from that area:)
Chris' birthday celebration at some friends house in Wilderness, South Africa
Beautiful sunset right outside their house
        Johan and Anita-our wonderful hosts in George:)




June 30, 2012

A Life of Surrender

Jim Elliot said it, "Missionaries are very human folks just doing what they’re asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody."
Don’t think for one second that our sacrifices are any harder than yours. there are not.
And since I view every Christian believer as a missionary, wherever they happen to live, we are just a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt our beloved Somebody.
The truth is, we all, if we are living a life surrendered to His will, have our own crosses to bear. Our own sacrifices to make. They all look different, but they all feel very much the same. And most of those sacrifices, no matter where we live on the globe are mostly made up of those small moments woven in.
Someone asked me, “What does a life of sacrifice look like? What exactly does living in surrender mean?”
I think a life of surrender means being so in love with our Savior that we willingly fling up our hands and tell Him we are willing to do whatever He asks of us, no matter what that means. And, doing it every day, again and again.

Convention 2012 at GGWO: To Live is Christ! Phil 1:21

God bless


A few pictures of our visit to the Churches in South Africa

Pr Jabu, Buyi and their beautiful children
The Greater Grace Nellmapius Church - Township outside of Pretoria

Lebo and Thloki and our girls at the Church PicNic

GreaterChurch Of Pretoria

Jako, Joh-Ann and Noah Nice

June 06, 2012

Picture of the week :)

We've been back in Baltimore for a week now and Chris brought our girls to their 1st Judo Tournament at Sensei Mike Veader's Dojo! They had a great time and won their first metals! Ha!

May 01, 2012

Lusaka and beyond...


We just wanted to say Thank You for all your thoughts, prayers, and support. April and May are probably some of our fastest months here. April marks our annual conference, which is now the seventh conference we have had. God was so faithful this year with the conference. We had our greatest number of attendees yet with close to 500 attending. Pr. Scibelli led a group from the US including Pr. Ray and Brenda Kosioleck and Craig Awad. Our sister church in Pretoria, South Africa really encouraged us by bringing 22 people by land and air. There was an amazing spirit of unity and joy as we listened to God’s Word. Another miracle that God did was to bring one couple from Malawi to the conference. Clifford and Ruth Kaliwo are brethren that we have been with for the past 2 years of visiting Malawi. Every time we visit they are right there with us and help gather other believers when we have meetings. It was truly the hand of God that made it possible for them to come and see a taste of what God has in store for Malawi. After the conference, both of them told me how they were served and treated as royalty while there were here. I wasn’t surprised because that is what happens when Spirit-filled believers serve…we are part of God’s royal family and treat each other the same. We can really see how God ordains these times of fellowship as foundational times in our lives like He did with the feasts for Israel seen in Leviticus 23.
Team Malawi

Malawi trip.  Soon after the conference closed, again we were on our way to Malawi (Pr. Enock Muchindu, Pr. Albert Ntalasha, and I); this time to deal with some errors in our church constitution before it could get approved. We knew when travelling to Malawi it would be during a very sensitive time in their history. For the past year Malawi has struggled with a budget and fuel crisis resulting in shortages of many staple commodities. It all culminated when their president suffered a heart attack and passed away about 3 weeks ago (just before we arrived). We really sensed the prayers of the church, as God gave us favor with government officials in spite of their turmoil. Thanks be to God that there was peace in Malawi as the Vice President was sworn in. Government offices were all functioning and we were able to resubmit our Church Constitution corrected. 

Prayer Requests.
-We just continue to ask for your prayers for stability for the country of Malawi and their new leader, Joyce Banda (the second woman president in Africa).
-For submission and approval of our resident permits.
-For protection and provision for our brothers and sisters in Malawi.
-For the right living accommodation of our team and right meeting place for the church
-For the details of moving our family and team to Malawi in November 2012

Pictures from the past few weeks:

                                  An afternoon at the Zoo of Lusaka with the Speedys
                                      Craig Awad with Callia and Poema

                                     Callia's 6th Birthday Party