As we closed evangelism on the first Monday of the Year, we walked over to our “office” (Our “office” is one of the cul-de-sacs of post office boxes. There is an ankle high stoop where people are sitting throughout the day. This is our board room for our staff meeting. Often we are asked where our office is located, I usually tell them its the biggest office in town. It is comical, that we have sometimes 10 church members all seated around with one or two extra people that automatically become guests. Occasionally a hand will go up and it is one of the visitors making a comment, which usually is pretty good). Little did we know when we started brainstorming, it would result in our busiest January ever. January usually is busy since it is a month off of Bible College, it is when we squeeze a lot of what we cant do on the weekends of classes. First was our annual Baptism/Church Picnic/Volleyball tournament. What a great opening of the year, new disciples and older believers making a public declaration of their faith in Christ.
Next we thought, although it is short notice, wouldn’t it be great to do a Marriage Seminar? We had been talking about Marriage on our nationwide radio program and had been getting more feedback than any other topic, so we decided to translate that into investment into our churches. What we have become more aware of is the rampant divorce rate in Malawi. Despite being a Christian Country, Malawi struggles with an extremely high divorce rate probably resulting from people not having the money to register their marriages. Since marriages are easy to get into (agreement from both families = marriage), they are easy to get out of as well. Most couples have never exchanged vows in a church in front of a Congregation. As the Seminar came closer, we thought that because of the short notice we would have low numbers. Nope! Record turn out: More than 20 couples came. It was so refreshing: each table was a group with a spokesperson addressing questions that we all dropped anonymously in a box when entering the room and picked at random. We heard questions, some simple, some very gritty telling of people’s sincere problems. It was such a memorable time, we decided to have a Marriage related event once a month.
Another exciting breakthrough that took place was with the Sliva Family. They have been here in Malawi for almost 3 years. Matt is preparing for Ordination, and Lisa helps immensely with the ladies. They approached us with the desire to help plant a church in a neighboring city. Amazingly we had a vision to plant a church in the lake-front town of Salima, a place where we had done an evangelistic-crusade last year. Pr Scibelli as well as others visited that crusade, and he promised that at this time next year we would have a church. “Speaking those things that are not as though they were.” - Romans 4:17. Well it is happening: we had an amazing trip there, so many things came together. Contacts from every corner came together for the first Bible study. The Sliva’s plan to travel to Salima bi-monthly. Its about 1 1/2 hours away by car.
Lastly was Bible College registration. Always a fun and exciting weekend. We had 34 new students and 82 students total on our first registration with another on the way. We are expecting to have over 200 students with many returning students coming for the first day of class and registration. Pray for us as we add a new English class to fish hook students that want to come to Bible college but don't have a high enough level of English. We are using some of our graduates to teach a 6 month Biblically themed English course required before attending normal classes.