Africa Mission Report 2 - Mark Samsill and College Hill in Malawi

Mark Samsill and I traveled to Malawi five years ago to visit native preachers supported by the College Hill congregation in North Richland Hills, Texas. Mark (pictured here preaching in Malawi with Brother Malik Ghambi interpreting for him) was one of the mission deacons at College Hill at the time, and is now one of the Shepherds there. We were so excited to see the work of the preachers in the Lakeshore area of Northern Malawi and in the city of Mzimba. They were faithfully preaching the Word of God in multiple congregations, planting new congregations, and were so evangelistic.  We encouraged them and were blessed to teach them. The only problem we saw was that these preachers were spread out among multiple congregations and doing all that was possible for them to do, and there was no one trained to assist them and no one being trained to take their place.

I returned to Malawi a couple of years ago to discuss with these preachers the possibility of SIBI assisting them in teaching and training preachers of the Word in their regions of Malawi.  Jerry Hogg and I discussed with them the first steps to having a ministry training school and gave them all of Sunset's courses on DVD (with the necessary handbooks).  These materials are provided by the External Studies division of SIBI at a minimal cost. They were also given portable DVD players and funds for a television to use in their studies. These faithful preachers were going to begin the process of studying these materials and when they were proficient in them, they would begin teaching these materials to young men who hoped to be preachers of the gospel.  A group from College Hill visited them that same year to encourage them and continue ministering to their needs and expand their knowledge of the Word of God. The preachers of Northern Malawi studied these materials and fopund them beneficial.

Mark and I returned to Malawi a few weeks ago to take the next step in bringing ministry training to the Lakeshore area of Malawi and the city of Mzimba.  We interviewed possible directors, discussed the role that these experienced preachers would play as the advisory board and as possible teachers of Bible classes, the location where classes would meet, the scholarships and services that would be required for the students, and the vocations that could be taught at the school that would enable our students to be self-supporting preachers of the Gospel.  It was a very successful trip and we were able to accomplish much.

I look forward to returning to College Hill and discussing with them the possibility of taking on the oversight of these ministry training schools as partners with SIBI in ministry training.  College Hill is already a great partner of Sunset and has been publicly recognized for their mission work and partnership.  I anticipate a great meeting and a continued partnership.  We have a great partner congregation working with us in Central Malawi, the Green Valley congregation in Noblesville, Indiana.  They are dedicated to ministry training in the area around Lilongwe and were recently recognized as an outstanding mission congregation at our opening chapel.  The partnership of these mission minded congregations with Sunset gives great hope to the Christians of Malawi and is good news for the Kingdom of God.

My dream is to return to Malawi sometime soon with Doyle Gilliam, a long time missionary to Malawi, and representatives from College Hill and Green Valley as our ministry training schools transition from part-time to full-time schools and dozens of young Malawians are in the classroom learning and in the streets sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ.  What a great day that will be!

I look forward to the next part of this report where I will share the good news regarding the work in the Lakeshore area of Malawi. After this, we will look at the work being done in Mzimba and then Lilongwe.  Then we will turn our attention to Botswana and South Africa. I look forward to sharing these reports with you.

By the way, if Mark seems familiar to you, you are probably remembering his picture from the mission trip we took together (with his family) to Australia this year.  Mark is one of my favorite travel partners.  Mark is also an active member of the Sunset Council and a valued supporter of the work we do at Sunset.