July 26, 2020

Winter in Africa

It is the first time in 10 years that we have been in a winter.  We have Covid to thank for that, although we know God works all things together for good. The borders in Malawi remain closed so we see God's leading in remaining here for the summer/winter. God has definately done that. It has been great to visit the churches that have been planted around the city. Every week we have been visiting a different church of the 4 that are in the city of Lilongwe.

A very great answer to prayer has happened.  The past year has been an uncertain one politically here in Malawi.  The incumbent president had his re-election nullified because of multiple anomalies of cheating and vote stealing.  There have been a number of protests, both peaceful and violent which led us to a re-run election.  Amazingly, the contender won election and the incumbent president handed over power without any bloodshed.  It was really miraculous.  The new president is a pastor and believes that God has called him to pastor the people in his country.  We thank you for your prayers and ask for more prayers to help him deal with the Covid problem and other issues. 

We lost on of our Founding members a few weeks ago. It was a shock to us all. Jason Lambike was one of the first men we met when we evangelized at the Main Post Office in Lilongwe.  He was there at our first service and was one of our first graduates.  He was a quiet, hardworking man who loved the Word of God.  Even after his graduation he continued to come to class to receive the word.  He also was an amazing Fisher of Men.  He was always with us on the streets as we gave people the Gospel.  Our loss is Heaven's gain, as we saw an incredible turn out at His funeral.  Even though his funeral was one of the most interesting funerals I have ever experienced, Christ was preached.  Funerals in Malawi, have always been of paramount importance to the community.  Jason's funeral brought over 500 people from his neighborhood into his front yard.  If you have never been to a Malawian funeral, it is deeply moving to see all the support from the community.  We lifted up the Character of Christ as Jason would have loved and preached the Gospel of God's Love for all to hear. Many Muslims were in attendance and heard God's love.

Jason Tesso Lembike
His funeral attendance

As the Corona Virus increases in Malawi, we are still trying to have normalcy in a responsible way.  We began playing football/soccer in our community as a way of outreach.  Many of us with facemasks as we are running around, we close the game with a time of the Word. Some young people hear the Bible and are drawn to the church.  

Please pray for us, we are trying to put together a Covid compliant Graduation.  Like everyone around the world, we have had to cancel our annual conference and graduation.  We are planning to have 3 socially distant ceremonies to celebrate our 120 graduates.  Each group will have under 100 in the large room with doors shut after students and 1 guest each are in attendance.

              Area 36-Tumbwe at our church new plot - Outdoor service

Area 25 GG Church- 26.07.20

With Love from Malawi

June 27, 2020

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net...

...that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind... Matt. 13:47

This past weekend in Senga Bay,  we visited our Greater Grace sister Church, located in the middle of a fishing village right on Lake Malawi.

June 15, 2020

We don't know what to do but our eyes are on you. 2 Chronicles 20:12

This week would have been the time we would travel back to the States for a few months. It's weird to think that we wont have to pack our bags this year. I mean we have been doing this thing every year for the past 10 or so years. And its like our rhythm has been broken a second time this year. 

 Even though we will miss visiting our different churches, friends and family this year, I have to confess I will not miss the packing, unpacking, the in-between many feelings and the transition of it all. In other words, even though we are starting to freeze in this cold weather (Southern Hemisphere guys!), we are fine with staying here this season. Our life will definitely be quieter this time of year that's for sure!!

It seems that our lives here are all about reaching out and being out of our comforts and meeting new people constantly. And sometimes it can be hard and we do have to just go out of our comfort zone. It’s so easy to just be passive and be stuck in one place. I can just stay with my people, my house, my little corner, I know this and sometimes it’s hard for me to get out there too.. I like my safe quiet place. But we have been called to reach out and love people. 

In the past few months a lot has happened here with new church plants and Bible studies that we have heard a lot about. We are so excited to take this time in the next few weeks to visit them around the city of Lilongwe and around the country as well, to just encourage, minister and definitely be encouraged as well! 

So here are some pictures of the past few weeks visiting 2 of our sister churches. Next week we will be going 2 hours away to Senga Bay to visit another of our churches with the Slivas and we cant wait!

                                               Sunday morning at the new church Plot!

Below is our new church plant in Lilongwe Area 25, an area closest to the airport on the outskirt of the capital. Pr Jervis and his family started the church 6 months ago with a small team, all sent from our main Greater Grace Church in Lilongwe.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Philippians 2:13    
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

With Love from Malawi.

May 20, 2020

God’s leading and Cross-cultural fear.

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet,  and a light unto my path" Psalm 119:105

    In the days before Covid even arrived to the land of Malawi, we had been touched by it because of it touching our friends and families all around the world. Malawi was actually one of the last countries to get cases.  Our international school was closed early on even before we had a confirmed case.
There were a few conversations about whether to continue to meet as a church. When the first case arrived we decided (along with a few other international churches) to close our churches. It was such a confusing time as we didn't want to be seen as living in fear. 

  On our way to our "Dapp" outing (secondhand store) with our masks on. (We are not required to wear them and we only do it because we want to (and for the picture ;) 

   A few times we have been stopped by the police, questioning us about why we aren't wearing masks and why we were still in Malawi. It's like they have found another opportunity to stop and fine us for something because we are foreigners. It’s ok though because its never stopped us before. 
Unfortunately, we and some of our national friends had concluded that it might not be a good idea  to go in the local areas for a while because we would be seen as the ones who brought the Covid virus to the place. We haven't even travelled at all this past year outside of Malawi. We had just heard from a few of our friends also being seen as possible targets in this country and from other countries around us.
For many weeks, the US embassy had been sending us emails about health updates, and about if we wanted to leave the country then we would have to leave now. After the Malawian borders and airports closed, they gave us one last emergency evacuation US flight. If we didn't take it  we had to be prepared to stay here indefinitely.  We prayed and decided that we would stay here as Malawi has become our home and we would be safer here. And the spread of the virus has been happening at a very slow pace in the country.
Having lived in southern Africa for many years, we understand the fear that any changes can bring.  The people here already live hand to mouth hoping they will find work or food on a daily basis, and they didn't need to hear they wouldn't even be able to do so because of social distancing.  Fortunately, the Malawian government hasn't given people many restrictions. As most people could never quarantine themselves completely. We understood that most people’s fear was more about not being able to feed their families than the virus itself. 

Church Outside and Social Distance sitting on the school ground

It’s been different and hard for us. To decide what we can or cannot do. Chris' parents who have been serving with us for many years, had also decided to stay. As they are elderly, we have to limit our exposure in order for us to keep helping them with groceries and such.

Our churches have been meeting in smaller groups and some Bible studies have even multiplied during this time. We have divided our one main church in the South of the City into 3 parts which are all getting new people. Its amazing how God can turn a seeming curse into a blessing.

Bible College Students are picking up their Final Exams to take at home.

Some Prayer Requests:

-Pray for relationships, marriages and families in this time

-Pray for our marriage and children. God has brought us closer together as a family and as a team. Pray that God would continue to protect us all.

-Pray for wisdom as we are coming to the end of our 7th year in this country. 

-Pray for us as for the first time in 10 years we will not be going to the States for the summer. We are ok with it but its been a bit hard for our girls who every year look forward to Convention and Camp Life.

This is our church plot and the church building being built "pangono-pangono"[little by little] by Pastor Malrone and a church crew.

Pastor Malrone digging the well

With Love from Malawi