Africa Mission Report 3 - The Lakeshore of Malawi

We have been working with 4 gospel preachers in the Lakeshore area of Malawi.  If you are looking at a map of the country, you will find the Lakeshore area to be the far northern area of the country near Lake Malawi, around the city of Karonga. While this area is poorer than most other areas of Malawi, it is beautiful and pleasant and the people are very friendly and considerate. I am always happy to visit our brothers and sisters in this area of Malawi. 

The four gospel preachers pictured are David Gondwe (kneeling in blue shirt), Percy Kasambara (sitting on steps with tie), Machson Mhango (standing in center), and Hawkins Nyrienda (in jacket).  These 4 preachers preach in 15 congregations and use bicycles to travel back and forth between congregations. They would plant even more congregations, but they are finding it difficult enough to minister to the ones that they have already planted. They have sought to train young men to preach and teach, but are excited to have a ministry training school from Sunset to do this so that every congregation will have a preacher and so that more congregations can be planted.  They have been studying SIBI materials for the past 2 years to help them in training the young men who seek to be preachers, but know that much more must be taught if these young men will become full time preachers.

We discussed a possible location in one of the church buildings (the one with electricity) and discussed a possible administrator and the classes that will be taught.  The preachers are very excited.  I will be meeting with the College Hill Church of Christ leaders to talk to them about sponsoring this school and assisting us in this effort.  The need is great, the time is right and we need to all work together to provide qualified preachers, teachers and church leaders for this area of Malawi.

The preachers pictured were very happy to hear of our plans to provide vocational training in Malawi.  In addition to teaching every book of the Bible, ministry training skills, leadership, preaching and evangelism, we will be teaching all of our students to learn a skill that their families can use to support them in their ministry.  As students, they will be given scholarships and will receive assistance with meals and housing if needed.  They will also receive classes in a trade (chosen to allow them plenty of time for ministry) and will be equipped to support their family through this business.  In the Lakeshore region, they will choose one of the following trades: fishing, pig keeping, poultry keeping, carpentry, masonry, irrigated farming or simple mechanic skills.  During their years as a student, they will be trained in one of the areas and will ultimately be equipped with the necessary equipment to begin a small business of their own that will be maintained by them and their families.  Rather than seeking and depending on foreign support, they will be taught autonomy, giving, and stewardship.

We have seen the inherent dangers of dependence on foreign support, and hope to offer our students a way to be self-supporting and independent. The preachers in Malawi who have spent most of their adult lives on support are the first to see the benefits of this and have asked if they might also receive such training and a chance for independence from foreign support. 

Mark and I were blessed to see souls added to the kingdom while in the Lakeshore area (one baptism pictured below).  Our brothers there are very evangelistic and do a wonderful job of teaching the lost and modeling evangelism.  They will give us an endless supply of students for our school.  I believe that this school will become a very important and fruitful school in the Sunset family of ministry training schools.  I look forward to telling you about the opportunity in Mzimba in the next report.