April 23rd, 2023
Plans changed again last night, does that surprise you? Of course, it doesn’t. Our Fathers agenda is most important, so we hold loosely to our agenda.
Today we went to a church in Stanleys village, his mother is the chief there, and I must admit it was good to see her again. I was reminded today in debrief that I haven’t been in this particular village since 2015, though I do remember the roads.
This village Ovi made a short YouTube video about. During cyclone Freddy they had to abandon the village because one of the surrounding mountains had landslides on it heading towards the village.
The church that we visited has been through much through the years. Too much to put here, but suffice it to say that God reduced the church down to almost nothing, and then a main chief stepped in because of the issues, disbanded the leaders, and returned the church to HFTF.
Today was the first time a mission team had been to that church!
It was great to see familiar faces from previous visits to Malawi. One in particular was a student from the bible college last year that first shared with me the issues the church was facing.
Oh, this was also the first time I have experience speakers in a church during my time here. But the thing that stood out to me the most was the joy that I saw on the congregation.
They have been through so much, are without a pastor, yet they were praising the name of Jesus, so loud that I am sure the surrounding houses and villages heard it. There was so much joy, so much support for each other as various groups performed worship.
We were even blessed by a song from Stanley and his wonderful wife. They sound so amazing. One of our team, Leah, even did a worship song for the church, “The old rugged cross,” simply beautiful.
As I confessed at tonight’s debrief, I was more anxious than normal about todays sermon. This church has suffered, mainly due to the past leadership, and today the plan was to do an overview of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the qualifications of an overseer.
By God’s grace I have never been one to reign in the truth of the Word of God, and, though I completely trust God, my human nature was wondering what the response would be as we looked at the characteristics of a pastor according to God’s Word, comparing it to the previous pastor.
I was simply amazed. People were leaning in, Amens were coming in. They were overly attentive, and I found that to be so promising in light of what lies ahead for these dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
They have a long road ahead of them, something we know something of. Ovi wants to return to do bible studies with them in order to dig deeper into the characteristics, so that when they do hit the point of calling a pastor, they fully understand what it is they are looking for and do not fall into the same issues as before.
It was also a joy to see our team so engaged with everyone. They are still adjusting to the time change and trying to catch up on sleep. Many did exactly what I did and went to bed Saturday night at 7 ish and didn’t get up till 6, but they are still tired, and rightfully so.
But they all displayed joy, excitement and were over engaged in everything we did today. Again, as I shared at the debrief, I was rebuked today.
Walking through 1 Timothy 3:1-7, especially in the educational manner we did, isn’t exactly a call to salvation.
Two people today came forward to receive Christ today at church! Of all the sermons I have every been blessed to preach, I would assume that salvation could come from this one, until today.
I have often quoted Willam Carey—“Attempt great things for God, Expect great things from God.” Today that quote has new meaning. I have known forever that nothing I do can save anyone, today, God reminded me that He can save in ways I never imagined. Shame on me, but I love it when God grows me.
We went out to “Kips” for lunch, chicken, and chips all around, sans two small cheese pizzas. I was able to pick up “12” insanely large avocados as well for under $5! They will make a wonderful breakfast.
Tonight, we had a wonderful homemade stew and bread from Lita, she is such an amazing woman and fabulous cook as well. Then Aimee, Jessica and I cut up the Jack fruit, sadly there wasn’t much there, and even though it was slightly under ripe, it is all gone.
Debrief tonight was done around the dinner table, everyone sharing their highs and lows of the day. Tomorrow, we head out to Mpyupyu, long drive on yet another awfully bad road due to Freddy.
We will check on the feeding center, do some visits and various other things. The first full day in the field comes to a close for the team. The next two weeks will be busy, so much to do, but yet so little time.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
Blessings in Christ,
Love reading these…feels like we’re with y’all there 🙂
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