Our senior leader, Richard Wightman, recently visited Malawi together with a small team from the church. They spent two weeks working with and supporting the charity Hope Missions. Here is Richard’s overview of the trip, which includes testimonies of healing and salvation. God is at work in the country.
I have just spent a fortnight in Malawi which was excellent in seeing what God has been doing and building relationships there. We stayed with Alex Millington’s friends Francis and Annie Mkandawire. He runs the evangelical association of Malawi, and she runs Hope Missions, the organisation with which we are working. I first met them last year when they were staying with Alex and Sara Millington in Milton Keynes, an English couple who used to live in Malawi.
We met the group village chief from Chapsinja, Chief Chapsinja, who was the catalyst for working into the village. Apparently about five years’ ago his son or grandson had attended a youth event, and had reported back to the chief, who had rung Annie Kandewire and said: “Do you want to leave us to die in our sins? Come here and share the word of God.” The Chief is really growing very well in his faith, and has a lovely gentle spirit and massive willingness to learn. I was told that he had decided to learn English to help his communication with the Hope Missions people, and was putting himself though primary school, and had reached year 5.
The four day workshop has been a good team effort together. The plan was good, starting from Identity in Christ, leading though leading ourselves, and into recruiting training and developing teams, to finish with culture, vision and strategy for the church. The three groups – leaders, school teachers, and overcomers (recovering alcoholics doing woodwork) also worked extremely well. The biggest impacts have been in the areas of team ministry, with all engaging in ministering not just the pastor, and the virtuous cycle of healings > testimonies > faith built > more healings.
I prayed for Chief Chapsinja’s brother in law who had great pain right down his leg, which has been like that for six months. He said the pain was 10 out of 10. After we prayed the first time it was down to a 2, then a 1 and then gone altogether. He moved from not being able to flex his ankle at all to walking freely. Praise God!
I preached Sunday morning (24th) at Kuyabwa, the other larger church alongside Chapsinja. I had planned to speak on Joseph and the development of character, but on Alex’s advice went back to “Identity in Christ”, the message I had used at the first session of the workshop. Chief Chapsinja, who oversees 31 villages, was present, as was his boss the TA, or Traditional Authority, and of whom there are about 100 for the whole of Malawi. The TA holds a very powerful position, oversees 1,000 to 2,000 villages, and is such an important position that when a TA dies and is replaced by his son the President of Malawi himself attends the inauguration. The TA is attending the church in Chapsinja on an increasingly regular basis, and was invited by the Chief to the church at Kuyabwa.
As well as the usual worship, reports from children’s groups and preaching we sought to do two additional things that are new for them. The first was the sharing of testimonies. Mr Moyo came forward to repeat his testimony about healing from asthma when I prayed for him. But he had now mentally processed it further and added that he used to spend money on the witch doctors and hospitals, but now God was healing him for free; secondly there was a lady with a testimony of deliverance from the demonic; finally Chief Chapsinja came out to speak. I thought he was going to give the testimony of his brother-in-law whose leg had been healed yesterday, but what he actually said was that last night he had a pain in his chest and his wife had a pain in her side, so they each prayed for the other, and the pains both went! I really warm to him, and commended him for putting into practice that the whole church can pray and has the authority from Jesus to command healing, not just the pastor or the pastor and leaders.
We then got them to pray for each other, and most of the church leaders came out to pray for others. There was a long and very encouraging line. I was told the level of engagement was way beyond what had ever gone before.
We also had a fun morning building long drop toilets, and they really were long drops – about four metres down to the bottom, and you have to climb out using handholds in the walls! It was different and fun.