"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
Answer to Prayer
Our team has been reduced in size as we lost one of our team members – not to death or any illness, but we willingly sacrificed him as a living sacrifice to serve the Lord at a Sola Scriptura Bible College that is in desperate need of help. In our last Mission update, we urged you to pray that God would send someone to fulfil this need; God has answered your prayers. We have released Ryno to respond to the earnest plea for help that came from the valiant old missionary who is single-handedly running this effective Bible College with its vast responsibilities and numerous challenges. Ryno was eager to respond to this need and thoroughly believed that God has called and prepared him for such a time as this.
We have currently been on this Africa Overland Mission for more than 4 months and have conducted more than 300 meetings in 6 countries including South Africa, Zambia, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, and Malawi. We have travelled more than 14,000km over a vast variety of complicated, compromised, and corrugated road surfaces and have had only one puncture. We have delivered and distributed almost two tonnes of valuable Gospel literature, Discipleship books, Bibles, New Testaments, tracts, DVDs, and MP3 discs.
We have been ministering in Malawi since 24 August and have conducted more than 150 meetings in the 8 weeks that we have been ministering in this needy, desperate, and hungry country.
Vibrant Mission Partners
We are really enjoying the ministry here in Malawi. The folk here have a deep desire to learn and are desperately grateful for everything we share with them. The Church that we are currently working with is doing a great work of expanding the Kingdom of God here in Malawi. They have a noble vision and vibrant passion for mission work within Malawi. They are especially keen on Evangelism Training to counter the insidious advance of Islam. This Church has already planted more than 280 churches in Malawi and Mozambique. The bishop of this church had attended the Great Commission Course and is thoroughly desperate for the training he received to be taught in all the churches.
Frontline of the Battle
Malawi is crucial at this time in the battle against the treacherous advance of Islam. There are many new mosques being built along the roadsides and Muslims are actively involved in "evangelism" (propagation) in many areas. They successfully motivate the local, vulnerable, and gullible people to become adherents of their "peaceful" religion by offering various rewards such as: food, business training and opportunities, education, and other such motivations. Although claiming to be peaceful, the Muslims are aggressively resisting the Church, beating and stoning Evangelists, burning down churches, and in some areas violently protesting against the sale of pork in the local market places. Now is the time that the Church must wake up and counter this sinister advance of Islam. If Malawi succumbs to this Muslim advance, Islam will be in an advantageous position to spread their dangerous false teachings to other neighbouring countries in Central Africa.
Facing the Challenge
During our time here in Malawi we have mostly gone to areas that are under imminent threat of being over powered by Islam, such as Nkhotakota, Machinga, Blantyre, and Nsanje. We have preached in a church that had been burned down by Muslims. We have encouraged the believers to stand strong in their faith. We have taught Muslim Evangelism and conducted outreaches in strong Muslim areas, and motivated, trained, and equipped the local believers to be more actively involved in sharing their faith with their Muslim neighbours.
Blantyre and Gomorrah
Blantyre is a very wicked city. Some may call Malawi a Christian country, but in the time I have spent in this city, I cannot agree. Immorality is prevalent, prostitution, though illegal, is rife, witchcraft is a strong influence and used by many - even pastors and church members, alcohol abuse is obvious as many drunks stagger the streets at night, and the strong insipid presence of Islam is inhospitably evident by the disturbing loud speakers frequently violating the air with their call to "prayer".
What is the Good News?
We had the opportunity to conduct Evangelism Training in three different areas in the city of Blantyre. The church is largely sleeping, not getting involved in sharing the Good News! These Christians are just attending church out of religious ambition, yet have no passion to share their faith with others. When we ask them what the Gospel is, they don't even know! This is a shameful indication of a lack of basic Biblical understanding. In the Chichewa language, "The Gospel" is directly translated as, "Good News". There is a desperate need for teaching the Gospel to the Church and for motivating them to take this Good News and share it with others. I have been so surprised at the joy which overcomes these church-goers when they hear and understand the Gospel.
I have been seriously disheartened by the apathy and lack of passion in the church in Blantyre - so much so that I almost gave up, wanting to just go back home and leave this city to face the imminent destruction that it seems to deserve. The only thing that kept me going on was the thought that, even if I can motivate one individual to become actively involved in spreading the Gospel, God could use that one to bring a Biblical transformation to this wicked city.
"If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live, or we die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8
We conducted an intense time of ministry in the Southern part of Malawi known as the Lower Shire Valley. Some of the locals call it hell – because of the extreme scorching temperatures that assault the body's senses. We experienced temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius! But I believe there is another reason why this place should be called hell, and that is due to the strong presence of witchcraft in this sweltering valley. There are often reports of people literally flying in order to reach and harm others; children are carried away at night by spirits and 'taught' the methods of witchcraft and there is a mystical crocodile that attacks and kills targeted individual. Shape-shifting is common as people take on the form of creatures in order to move about unobserved.
In one of the villages in this dark region, we conducted an Evangelism Workshop with the local church. We met under a tree because the mud-brick church was too small to host the Seminar. Other churches had been invited to join the program. This was great because there were a large number of folk to minister to, but the fact that we were outside opened our meeting up to others too. Even this was great because we had the privilege of sharing the Gospel to the curious crowd that had joined our meeting under the tree. But this also opened up a disturbance of the atmosphere created by the insipid, unhappy, disturbed, powers of darkness that crawled into our meeting place inciting their subjects to unsettled, irreverent, upsetting behaviour which certainly made it difficult for me to minister. I had to stop speaking on a few occasions to try to bring order back to the meeting, praying hard that God would bind up these evil forces. The young children specifically were tools of the devil in this regard.
Darkness Defenceless Against the Light
On one particular night, as we were experiencing this same frustrations while I was preaching at an open air Evangelism Crusade (which was initially meant to be an evening Bible study for the believers), I felt defeated and disheartened as I came to an end of my presentation of the Gospel. The meeting had been disturbed and interrupted on numerous occasions by rowdy, noisy, stubborn, hard-hearted, hecklers who seemed intent on mocking and trivializing the message and the meeting. I had tried to maintain order, and tried to present the Gospel clearly under the difficult conditions, but felt as if I had failed – I wanted to just give up, but pressed on persistently – almost forcing myself to continue. At the end of this meeting, I gave an unenthusiastic altar call, thinking there might be at least one to whom the Truth might have gotten through. There was one, then two. As they were coming forward, the hecklers intensified their jeering, mocking and banter, but these two came boldly forward unmoved by the ridicule that was being poured out upon them. Six others later reluctantly joined these two bold young men. I was astounded that through all the darkness of this situation, God's Light had shone through to these sincere determined responders.
Silas Freed from Prison
The next morning as I was taking my morning walk, I was cheerfully greeted by a young man with a bright face. This was a rare occurrence due to the strong powers of darkness in this area; I therefore eagerly returned his greeting. He introduced himself to me as Silas and told me that he was one of those who had responded to the Gospel the previous night. I then recognized him as the first person who responded amid the jeering and heckling. He also expressed his keen desire to have a copy of God's Word in order to help him grow in this desperately dark area. This blessed my heart immensely, and I was very pleased to give him a Bible and a copy of Biblical Principles for Africa. Silas expressed his joy of being set free by the Truth. He has just completed his schooling, and now has a desire to study to be a minister of the same Gospel that has set his heart free.
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Witchdoctor Steps Forward
In another village of the Lower Shire Valley we had been ministering for 3 days we were confronted by a similar blindness and resistance to the Gospel. The church members, including the pastor, had no idea what the Good News was and when we explained the problem of sin, they all admitted that they would go to hell if they died. They understood that their sin had separated them from God and earned them His wrath, yet they had no idea how they could be set free from this disastrous problem. On the last day of our ministry here after many had joyfully responded to the Gospel preaching – as if they had heard the Good News for the first time, a woman who was a leader in the church stepped forward in deep contrition and remorse with loud cries. She said that she has a burden on her heart that she needs to be rid of. She confessed that she is a witchdoctor, though she doesn't want to be, and she is often forced by evil spirits to do things she doesn't want to do. But this day she confessed her sin of witchcraft, and sought Christ for freedom from this bondage. We praise God for her and for the many others like her who have been set free by the Good News of Jesus Christ.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36
Much of the vital literature and resources that we have distributed and used for teaching and training have been extremely valuable in assisting these desperate and eager believers and their gratitude is evident and encouraging. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have been able to buy and distribute 72 Chichewa Bibles to eager believers who recited the Ten Commandments in order to "earn" a copy of God's Word. We have also been able to bless two pastors each with a bicycle to help them spread the Gospel further.
Thank you very much for all your prayers, encouragement, and support that you have given to make our ministry here in Malawi possible. We would not have been able to do any of this without your participation. Thank you to those of you who have sacrificially and generously given of your finances which have enabled us to accomplish all that the Lord has called us to do.
May God bless you thoroughly!
In His service - and loving it!
Missionary Field Worker
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Cape Town South Africa
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