God is good, it is our second week, we’re onto double digits, and we are back in the swing of things! Malawi is so, so beautiful, and we are so blessed to be here. This country has grown to be very near and dear to our hearts, and, of course, the view never gets old.
Today, someone new came to pick us up to go to CAPA. Nathan! It was Nathan’s first time driving in Africa, Elliot had been driving us previously, but now it was Nathan’s turn. He used the window wipers as turn signals once or twice, but didn’t hit anyone so that was a success!
Once we were at CAPA, we started transcribing and tried to interview the last few students we had left. On our down time, we went to Preaching Lab for the M.Div. 3 students. Preaching Lab is where the students practice their preaching to a group of students and a professor, and then they get critiqued on their sermon. I loved how Pastor Dave emphasized that even though they were practicing, they were still preaching the Word of God, and Preaching Lab is still serious even though they are not preaching in front of a congregation.
Some thing that stood out to me was the critique session the pastors had after one student had talked about Colossians 3. No church or nation is perfect, and that goes for the church in Colossi, which had their minds on earthly things, as well as the church in Malawi. Some of the problems in Malawi that were discussed were the mentalities of “If I go to 5 churches in one Sunday, I can be anointed” or “If I go to the top of the mountain, God will hear me, because I’m closer to Him.” Malawi is a nation that needs the truth about God, and that’s why CAPA exists. After Preaching Lab, we had lunch, interviewed, transcribed, and waited for our car to bring us back to the Ayres house.
Bethany made an amazing meal with the help of Bridget and Ivanna. I’m so thankful for our missionary families, who serve us far beyond what we could have ever asked for. We fellowshipped during dinner and in addition, we experienced a few power outages. After dinner, we had a team meeting, and Elliot did a devotional on Isaiah 49 and we prayed for the week that is to come.
While Elliot did his devotional, I was struck by God’s great glory, and how His salvation will reach the ends of the earth, not one nation or one tribe, but the ENDS of the earth, because that will give Him the MOST glory. Here in Malawi, I am reminded constantly why our team is here. This weekend, I got to talk to one of the missionaries, and she said to me, “For the people here in Malawi, their biggest need is Christ. But for the Christians, their next biggest need is CAPA.” The teaching here in some of the churches is shallow and some aren’t gospel centered, and CAPA is needed to train up leaders who can teach others the real message of the gospel. And wow, it is such a privilege to see how God is working in these students. Even during the Preaching Lab, I can see how these pastors have studied hard and improved much. God is so faithful!
I interviewed a new student today who said, “I’ve been in ministry for 2 decades, I thought I had it all down. But coming here, I realized there’s so much more to learn.”
And again, it was a reminder to me of why CAPA is so important, not only to these pastors, but for the whole country of Malawi. These pastors are learning how to study the Bible, how to preach gospel centered messages, and how to shepherd. God is being glorified because of this seminary. Please, please keep praying with us for these pastors!
This weekend, Ivanna, Jeremy, Jeffery and I had the opportunity to go to a church in one of the villages, and it was a tangible way of seeing how CAPA is affecting the pastors and churches. One of the songs we sang was “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.” Standing there, singing with brothers and sisters from Malawi, and hearing our voices all together singing to our great God, I was in so in awe of God’s love for us, that He placed together people who were normally 10,000 miles away to sing together in one room, and that the tie that binds us is the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for us on the cross. Attending this worship service was probably once in a lifetime, and God once again gave me a bigger love for the global church than ever before.
When we were leaving the lunch yesterday, one of the brothers at the church, Hastings, said to us, “We may never see each other again, but I will look for you in heaven.” Praise be to God, whose faithfulness is reaching across continents, whose glory is spreading through the ends of the earth, and whose name we will praise together the day we see each other again! To Him be the glory!
Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Thank you so much for praying,