Day 6: Reflections, reminders, and praises

This morning, we gathered as a team and spent some time sharing our thoughts on our time at CAPA so far. We went around in a circle, and it was so good to hear about the ways in which everyone was learning or being encouraged through their interactions with the students at CAPA. After, we split off into smaller groups to share prayer requests and pray for one another.

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Richard, Josephine, and Amy praying together

We then headed down to the chapel building to attend chapel, which every student is required to attend. Pretty much everyone who was at CAPA was present at chapel, so it was a full room! During worship, it was so wonderful to hear all of the students and faculty singing together, and for the last song, singing over and over again, “How wonderful is your name, O Lord.”

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Worship time during chapel. Everyone has such beautiful voices! 

For the rest of the day, we continued to interview students and transcribe the interviews while munching on our usual supply of snacks. I think we fully acknowledged sometime today or in the past day that we might eat more snacks that we really should.

In the evening, we headed to the Temples’ home for dinner. Before we ate, some of us attempted to do flips in the front yard. The rest of the evening consisted of eating, good conversations, playing with the Temple children, and lots of laughter. It is always a joy to be able to spend time with them and their families, and I am so thankful for their warm hospitality and kindness towards our massive team!

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Elliot in the process of completing a flip. 
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The middle of an intense fishing game 

In reflecting on my own conversations with the students at CAPA and the trip thus far, something that stood out to me was how humble these students are. To me, these men are so admirable. They have all made sacrifices to be studying at CAPA, to learn more about God and His Word and to be better equipped to preach. Yet, in pretty much all of my conversations, these men attribute everything to the Lord and nothing to themselves. They praise God for His providence in their lives, and seek to direct all glory to Him.

Like these men, I pray that I and the rest of the team would be praising and thanking God for everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. Nothing is accomplished because of our own ability or wisdom. God is the one who is orchestrating everything, and He is a God who works in our lives in specific and unique ways, no matter where we are on the globe. He truly deserves all praise and glory, and worship during chapel made me think all the more about the day when the we, as one church body, will be in heaven, singing praises to God for all of eternity. But until then, I pray that we would continue to strive to bring God all the glory that is rightfully His in all that we do!

 

Bridget Lee

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Day 5: Classes and interviews continued

We continued our interviews with the students this morning before they started class. Elliot drove the CAPA van full of most of the team, and Caleb squeezed in the front like Mr. Incredible.

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Caleb crammed in the front middle seat

Most of us have pretty much adjusted to the time difference and have been resting well at night. Some guys (in beds) think they sleep even better than they do back home. Some guys (in tents) don’t.  But overall, everyone on the team seems well rested and ready to serve! Ivanna was well-rested enough to even write a rap about our team during our down time. I would include the rap if the file weren’t so big. Ask any one of us to see it if you get the chance. I’m sure Ivanna would be flattered!

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Ivanna loves to rap

We usually have our window to interview students after their breakfast and lunch breaks. When we are not interviewing students, we spend most of the day in our break room transcribing our interviews. We will hopefully finish editing our interviews for the Masters of Divinity third year students soon and upload them on the website for you all to be encouraged by the work God is doing through CAPA!

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Team working in our break room

Jeremy also started taking pictures of the seminary students that will go with the interviews of the students on the CAPA website. Barring a couple minor ailments with some of the team, everything has run smoothly, and we are on schedule to finish interviewing all the CAPA students by the end of next week.

Interviewing the students and asking them about the work that the Lord has done in their lives has unsurprisingly been very encouraging. Two things in particular have struck me in my conversations with them.

First, I have been encouraged by their pure dependence on God through prayer in all things. After working and becoming busier as I have received more responsibility, I have always felt pressed for time in much of what I do. It has sadly been a lot easier for me to simply get the work done, especially when it comes to preparing for Bible study. I am very grateful for Professor Tony McCracken who teaches at CAPA in how he taught that when we come to study the Bible, we should be praying before we read, while we read, and after we read.

Second, I have been encouraged by the students’ pure pursuit of the Lord. Even though they are going to school to grow in their knowledge of scripture, they are focused on becoming holy men of God who please God. Their pure focus is on pleasing God and knowing Christ. Praise God for the work that He does in our hearts to cause us to love and glorify Him!

Nathan

Day 4: In which we start classes and interviews

When you’ve been on this trip four times, what do you write home about? “Today was CAPA’s first day of classes! Our team met the students for the first time, had Mrs. Manda’s nsima (a Malawian staple of boiled and beaten cornflour), conducted our first interviews, and went to the Mandas’ house for dinner.” Which is true, and we did all of that:

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We got to sit in on orientation for the bachelor’s students and hear about God’s commands for how a pastor ought to be and behave.

We started interviewing the students to ask them about their testimony of faith in Jesus Christ, why they decided to come to CAPA, what they’re excited about and lessons they’ve learned while they’ve been here. I think this year we can set up a whole process for us to record, transcribe, edit, and upload the interviews while we’re here. I’m pretty excited about that! Hopefully you guys will get to learn about the students right alongside us.

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But if I talk about things that strike me this time around, it’s remembering the incredible hospitality of all the different missionary and host families that take care of us here. They go out of their way to serve us in every way imaginable, and in some ways unexpected. One of our groups had to wake up early–5:30 AM early–and breakfast was set out on the table for us so that we could pack it for ourselves and eat it at CAPA. Later during the day, when we opened our snack box, we found all sorts of different snacks that had been purchased at the grocery store. (We probably could have rationed those better–but they were so good!)

It’s hearing the warm sound of students laughing, joking among themselves, or sitting in class and being amused by a teaching illustration.

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Most of all, it’s realizing what a high standard the students are held to. As I listened to the bachelor’s students go through orientation, I heard exhortation after exhortation that the pastors needed to live holy lives, and that they conduct themselves in a way that honors God. They were expected to come to class and clear any absences beforehand, instructions that would make any American college student indignant. They were expected to hold to a zero-tolerance cheating policy. They were expected to take their seminary training home to their wives, and to shepherd them so that they could both grow together in their knowledge of God and His word. And they were expected to learn from God’s curriculum at the same time they pushed themselves in school curriculum, to stretch themselves and to grow in their personal lives and not just in their knowledge. These are steep demands, but for this high calling, very necessary. I was thankful to hear of such lovingly placed commands so that these students will finish their study at CAPA not only as better scholars, but as those who reflect Jesus Christ more brilliantly.

It reminds me that even though I’m not a pastor, I cannot be “studying the Bible over here and fooling around with sin over there.”

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When we were at the Mandas’ house for dinner, Gideon described for us the spiritual condition in Malawi and how in their poverty, many are drawn to the prosperity gospel in their poverty, and in their desire for knowledge and security, many are drawn to false prophets claiming to have a word from God. But he also spoke of the stories that encourage him and give him hope, of students whose denominations prohibited them from coming to CAPA but now invite them to preach at their leadership meetings, of student-pastors whose staff say that they see a change in their life and preaching.

So would you pray with us that God would grow the students in holiness, that their studies would help them be better scholars and preachers, but also husbands and fathers and men who glorify Him better? Would you pray with us that as their preaching improves, they would be living examples to their congregations as those who have been transformed by God’s word? Would you pray with us that God would uphold the faculty and staff at CAPA as they devote their lives to this task?

And of course, as you have been doing, would you pray that our team would be undeterred by physical discomforts and spiritual temptations in these two weeks as we serve the faculty and students? We are so grateful for your prayers, for all of you who have reached out to us by email and Facebook to tell us that you are bringing us in prayer before the Lord! We could not do this trip without you. We are thankful for the church body both here and at home who help us serve and glorify our God.

Elliot

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Day 3 in Malawi: CAPA, here we are!

Hello, hello! Amy here!

It’s day 3 in Malawi and it seems as if we have enough stories to last us through the entire STM, but we’re just getting started! Yesterday, Carissa posted about a few of the crazy awesome adventures we’ve had from eating mice to attending International Bible Fellowship church to walking through open air markets so make sure to give that a read if you haven’t already. She also mentioned that eight members of the team went to eat at the McCracken’s place last night! The other seven of us headed over to the Mullin’s home where we stuffed our faces with Ashley’s amazing rice enchiladas and corn bread alongside some pineapple Fanta (with sugar cane) while Caleb zapped some mosquitoes away. We also found ourselves sharing about our thoughts on future mission work, Malawian culture, and Korean BBQ!

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Although the photo is a bit blurry, you can still see how excited Caleb is to be using the mosquito/fly zapper. Left to Right: (Top) Elliot, Richard, Jeremy, Caleb, Chris, Ashley (Bottom) Amy, Grace, Josephine  🙂

Today was a little different from our previous adventures!

We started off the day bright and early where we split up into two groups. Half of us headed to directly to CAPA where we set up classrooms and sorted through some books to give to the students for their upcoming classes.

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Piles and piles of books for the students.

The other half of the group traveled to Dave and Amy Temple’s home to prepare books for the CAPA library. If you ever need tips on laminating, labeling, or binding, I’m sure these people would be able to help!

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More books! Left to Right: Kandace, Grace, Josephine

Then the two groups met together for lunch with Malawian snacks before we sorted through the library and put away books, swept and mopped the chapel, set up a couple classrooms with desks, chairs and projectors, and registered a few students who came “early”.

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PB&J’s, dried mangoes, fruit, chips, random expressions on people’s faces, and much laughter.
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A slowly growing collection of books.
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Hmm. . . the hand is back.
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Horrible back-lighting because photos are not my forte, but lovely people all working together in the CAPA library with crates of books for students.
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Pre-chapel completion. :O Look at Georgie, Jeremy, Samantha, and Nathan hard at work!
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Pure joy after completing the cleaning of the chapel (look at ’em shiny floors). Left to Right: (Top) Nathan, Georgie, Josephine, Bridget, Carissa, Caleb (Bottom) Amy, Kandace, Samantha, Grace, Richard, and Jeremy.

After finishing up at CAPA for the day, we loaded up the multiple cars that it takes to transport a 15-person team and headed over to Spur for a burger dinner.

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Can we fit 15 people into the one CAPA van? Not really, but we tried!

The night ended with some amazing conversations and a team meeting where we all tried incredibly hard to stay awake and focused to prepare for another busy CAPA day! We start tomorrow at an even earlier time than today, so look forward to reading about all of those adventures!

So much has been happening over the last few days, and although it may seem as if there hasn’t been much time to learn or reflect on much, it’s impossible to ignore how God has been hard at work on my heart.

Months prior to our arrival at the Lilongwe airport, I had been praying and talking to people about what it means to humbly and joyfully seek first the glory of God by serving and submitting to the missionaries and the leadership while in Malawi. There were days where I felt that I completely understood the concept and had full (and foolish) confidence in my ability to serve in any way that I was called to at any cost. On the complete opposite side, there were days where I felt terrified (also foolishly) even thinking about having to take shorter showers. As we drew closer and closer to our departure date, the Lord graciously revealed the sin hiding within my thoughts which leads me to my main reflection: fighting for holiness is a difficult and constant battle, but it’s not impossible.

Choosing to be humble and to be loving and to be servant-hearted and to be dying to self is not a simple decision that I get to make once and that’s the end of that. It’s a continuous mindset built off the truth of the gospel that is preached to myself daily and stored up in my heart at every moment. I had many moments that were outside of my normal, comfortable routine like cleaning cobwebs and walking with stomach pains and lifting heavy objects (yes just heavy things in general), and many times I failed to joyfully submit to the requests of those we came to serve in the attempt to satisfy my fleshly desires. Yet, there were times of humble contentment and joyful obedience that came following moments of recognition that Jesus Christ came and humbly submitted to His Father’s will to the point of death, even death on a cross so that He might redeem us. There were times of praise and thanksgiving that came following moments of recognition that I’m not on this ministry trip for me, but I’m on it because I want to learn to love and encourage my brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives to Christ abroad. Yes, it’s not easy to do everything with a selfless attitude, but we know that the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit rests in those who put their faith in Him and desire the glorification of God above all else. Honestly, nothing else but the grace of God can explain how I’ve been able to be so genuinely happy that I’m here in Malawi fighting the hard and never-ending battle to be holy as God is holy!

I’m so looking forward to being able to share more with many of you in person when I return, but until then, please be partnering with our team in prayer as we strive to daily be more like Christ and encourage others to be more like Christ.

  1. Please be praying for health and strength as some of the team members are feeling a little ill.
  2. Please be praying for the missionary families who are all starting to take on loads of work with the upcoming school semester (and some of which are hosting many of us).
  3. Please be praying for the hearts of the students at CAPA to be transformed and encouraged by the truth of the gospel. Please also be praying for the teachers that they would wisely present God’s word to their students.
  4. Please be praying for a smooth first day of interviews tomorrow, and that we would present ourselves living testimonies of God’s grace and power.

Thank you so much for all of your support, and I’ll see ya’ll stateside!

Much love (from all of us),

Amy Junus

Day 0-1 – Arriving at Malawi

DAY 0

Greetings from Malawi! Thank you for all your prayers of safety as we are all here including ALL the luggage/supplies!

IMG_0101landing in Malawi

We made it safely after a few long days of traveling. Some plane ride activities included drawing competitions on the airline touch screens, dubbing the voices on the movie they played, and honestly a lot of sleeping (or trying to)! Despite some discomfort, we grew closer as a team and bonded in our close quarters. Personally, I was encouraged by everyone’s attitudes and easygoing of directions. From transporting 1500 lbs of textbooks to wearing the same clothes for three days it would be easy to complain, but everyone’s behavior was God-honoring and we could still enjoy each other’s company by the end 🙂

IMG_0088here everyone’s waving to my mini hand in the Ethiopian airport…Elliot didn’t participate 😦

Right when we got off the plane, we loaded the items we brought for Central African Preaching Academy (CAPA) up and started driving. In our delirium, Jim Ayres thought it would be the perfect time to introduce us to a seasonal snack…boiled mice. Yes, actual mice. Without thinking too much I took a bite out of the top half with the fur, bones, teeth, and whatever else goes into a mouse went into my stomach. Our WHOLE team tried some and got a unicrying experience we’ll never forget.

IMG_0102thanks Jim #gottem

DAY 1

Our team graciously being hosted by Jim and Bethany Ayres house and Matt and Rachel Floreen. We awoke Sunday for church and fellow-shipped with other believers at International Bible Fellowship church. Pastor Matt Kopp preached on Galatians 3:28 about unity in Christ, “…you are all one in Christ Jesus“. He talked about Christ being the standard and that only when people strive for Christ-likeness will there be unity with one another. It was refreshing to start our week with encouragement and exhortation from the Word of God to be of one mind. Especially as we start our long weeks at CAPA, we are reminded that adhering to God’s Word is the most important standard and looking to Christ instead of merely thinking about ourselves.

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After lunch we traveled to the Lilongwe Market and contributed to making a rickety bridge…more rickety. For dinner the group split up and we went to two different missionary families for dinner. We learned more about their experiences here in Malawi and their testimonies in how they were led to this specific ministry (also a shout out to Mrs McCracken’s brownies).

We have been incredibly blessed by each missionary family’s hospitality to our huge group of UCLA students thus far in opening their homes, feeding us, answering our questions, and generally putting the gospel on display in their love. As we start the main part of our ministry trip tomorrow, please pray for out team:

  1. Pray that we put one another before ourselves despite fatigue and other stresses throughout the day.
  2. Pray that we put Christ on display clearly in our testimonies.
  3. Pray that we follow the leader first without creating discourse.
  4. Pray that setup would go smoothly tomorrow.
  5. Pray for the students as they start their semester on Tuesdays
  6. Pray for the missionary families as classes are starting and they’re hosting large numbers of people.

 

Thank you all so much for praying and supporting our team as we start our trip! We love you all. In Christ,

Carissa Carns

(on behalf of Team Malawi 2017)

Meet the Team: Bridget, Carissa, Jeffery, Ivanna

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Bridget, Carissa, Jeffery, Ivanna!

Bridget Lee

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Hello! I’m Bridget, and this upcoming fall, I will be entering my junior year at UCLA. I am currently majoring in psychology and attempting to pursue a minor in statistics. I enjoy running outdoors, listening to Christmas music year round, waking up early without an alarm, eating snacks from Trader Joe’s, and visiting national parks with my family. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents, and I never really doubted that God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for sinners. However, in my arrogance, I did not acknowledge that I was a wretched sinner myself. I thought that I was a good person who was fine without a Savior because I attended church events, memorized all my Sunday school Bible verses, wrote Mother’s and Father’s Day cards, and always turned in my homework on time. I stubbornly refused to believe that sin was a reality for me and my own attempts at righteousness were futile. It was not until middle school that God graciously opened my eyes to see the gravity of my sin and my depraved state and brought me to repentance. Since then, God has been changing my prideful, self-righteous, and rebellious heart into one that seeks to love Him, His Word, and His people more.

Throughout college, God has especially taught me so much about the richness of the gospel and the joys of the fellowship in the body. As God grew my love for the gospel and His people, I started to think and pray about missions. God graciously extended the opportunity for me to join the Malawi STM this summer, and I am looking forward to seeing how He will use me and grow my love for the gospel and the global church. I am so excited to serve alongside, fellowship with, and learn from my fellow brothers and sisters in Malawi! Praise God that He is building and growing His church both locally and globally! Please pray that we would be a loving source of encouragement to the missionaries in Malawi and students at CAPA and that we would serve humbly and wholeheartedly unto God’s glory! Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Carissa Carns

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetBonjour! I’m Carissa (the white one), and I’m going into my third year at UCLA as a History major with an English minor *shoutout to endless papers*. I liked this picture because it shows #1: I don’t know how to take a serious picture #2: Yosemite is the best #3: I like having fun 😀

I was born in Boise, ID (yeah, where the potatoes are) and moved to LA when I was 5 so my dad could attend The Master’s Seminary. I liked growing up as a pastor’s kid, I thought it was fun to be at church all the time (mostly to hang out with friends and get in trouble since I went to great lengths to be funny). I am blessed God allowed me to have great parents who love the Lord and strove to raise us up in the Word. I never doubted who God is, but obeyed His commandments out of fear for Him and His wrath. It was not until around 7th grade when I truly understood the gospel and had a heart change concerning how I lived and my motivations. I had been squandering the grace of God and not truly living in light of Christ’s death on the cross for my sin.

As both my parents were Bruins (and sister and grandma…), UCLA was a great choice (plus in LA – the greatest city in the world). They were involved with Grace on Campus as students (in the ‘80s), and coming to this ministry my Sophomore year blessed me immensely. The UCLA campus is a huge mission field and taking advantage of that through sharing the gospel to strangers, classmates, and building up fellow believers is a rare blessing. As Christians we are called to spread the gospel to all nations and I fulfill that command in a different way this summer. The Lord opened the doors which allowed me to go to Malawi and aid his servants there. I’m excited to see how the Lord will use us across the pond. Please pray for us as we cultivate humble hearts for serving the missionaries and students, not to go on this trip with any semblance that it’s about us. Pray we be a blessing not a burden and look to Christ’s example and rely on the Spirit. Thank you all so much for reading, praying, and supporting our team! Love you all!

Also, fun fact: my dad will also be teaching the pastors at CAPA while we’re there 🙂

Jeffery Yan

IMG_4186_6x5Hi! I’m Jeffery and I’ll be entering my junior year at UCLA, with a major in Computer Science and possibly a minor in Statistics. Some things I enjoy include hiking, kayaking, reading, playing board games, and organizing things with spreadsheets. By God’s grace, I grew up in a home with Christian parents who faithfully brought me to join in worship with a local church every Sunday, and continually exemplified to me what it meant to serve the body of Christ. God worked in my heart from a young age to increase in faith and love for Him, but it wasn’t until my early in high school where I came to a heightened realization that the wages of my innate sin was death, but that Christ on the cross paid that debt for me. Since then, my love for Him has increased all the more and along with it my love for the church and for those still lost. In the words of the hymn writer Isaac Watts, “We long to see thy churches full, / that all the chosen race / may with one voice and heart and soul / sing thy redeeming grace.”

One evening in early March during the Shepherd’s Conference, Amy and I were talking briefly to Jim Ayres and Dave Temple when Jim encouraged us both to join them in Malawi for the coming STM trip. Though the trip was not much on my mind before that time, I realized that I was indeed available to go if I had the desire to. And after some more thought and prayer regarding the opportunity, you can now see that I do desire to go as a manner of meeting the needs of our missionaries! I am excited to meet and serve the church in Malawi and hear the many stories of the students at CAPA who are aiming to love God and others faithfully through progressing in their studies. Please be praying for us that we would recognize the privilege it is to go on this STM and be preparing ourselves even now so that God will orient us from the heart to humbly, sacrificially, and joyfully serve the church and students in Malawi.

Ivanna Tang

media-20170801Hello! My name is Ivanna and I am a soon-to-be sophomore at UCLA studying physiological sciences. I enjoy playing the piano, eating ice cream, hiking, making lists, and crafty/hands-on projects and activities.

I am grateful that my parents started bringing me to church at a young age. While I did not fully understand the severity of sin and God’s saving grace, it was at least a start. Over the years, God worked in my heart to make me realize that I was a sinner who needed a savior. With encouragement and wisdom from church aunties, in about 10th grade, I decided to accept Christ as my Lord and savior. I am still sinful, and prideful, and constantly running away from God. But with His great love, He is always bringing me back.

One night near the end of winter quarter this past year, GOCers were having ice cream together. Whilst indulging in ice cream, Elliot asked me if I wanted to go to Malawi, and he and my small group leader tag-teamed to convince me on why I should go on an STM. One of the reasons was to understand the global church better — and what better way to get to know the global church better than to go there and serve. I am very excited to be going to Malawi (in already less than a month!) to meet and serve the body of Christ there, the students, and the missionaries. Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, support, and prayers! Please continue to pray for us, that we would be humble and joyful as we serve and work diligently for His glory!

Meet the Team: Richard, Amy, Josephine

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Richard, Amy, and Josephine!

Richard Liang

Richard HeadshotHi! My name is Richard, and I’m a rising senior studying Science and Public Health at UCLA. I enjoy exploring the outdoors, helping out my mom’s daycare, and trying new food places while meeting up with people. I grew up in a loving Christian home in the San Francisco Bay Area and came to know Christ in middle school. However, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college where, under the guidance of many patient, loving older brothers-in-Christ, I began to take my faith (and sin) more seriously. Through the years, God has been graciously changing my heart: from a heart that was narrowly focused on pursuing career, to a heart that wants to pursue and honor God. One such turning point was hearing Dr. Steve Lawson preach on Romans 11:36, where the Apostle Paul exhorts, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

I’m looking forward to this opportunity to serve the missionaries, their families, and the students in Malawi. Up until this year, I’ve always had excuses for not going on an STM trip; but in the past year, God has shown me that the Great Commission doesn’t stop in the comforts of my neighborhood—it extends to all nations! Praise God for this chance to honor Him in the context of His global church. Please be praying for our team, that we may constantly hold a high view of God as we strive to be humble servants, just as John 3:30 says “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Amy Junus

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Hi Everyone! My name is Amy Junus and I’ll be entering my 3rd year at UCLA this upcoming Fall. I’m currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Psychological Biology (a.k.a. Psycho-Bio), with the hopes of continuing my education to become a nurse practitioner. The list of things that I love and enjoy is practically endless and seemingly randomly bizarre, but I will make an attempt to show you a bit of who I am. I love listening to and playing music (anything from Saint Saëns to Whitney Houston), standing in the freezing cold with a million layers on (so the wind bites at your face but your body stays warm), drinking boba with friends (I’m not picky as to what type), and standing at the edge of tall hills or mountains (to look over the edge at how beautiful everything is). Yet as much as I love everything I just mentioned, God softened my hardened, prideful, and sinful heart and gave me a heart of flesh that was repentant and eager to obey and love Him and His people more than anything else. In that moment, when I was a junior in high school, my Heavenly Father saved my soul and defined who I am as a child of God.

During the Spring quarter of my first year, Elliot randomly came up to me at Grace Community Church and asked me if I wanted to go to Malawi. Up until then I hadn’t really given much thought to going on a ministry trip or what ministry was, but through that encounter I found myself joining the CAPA home team. It was through my service in the CAPA home team and trying to answer challenging questions about our call to the Great Commission that God graciously grew my heart for missions and for the church in Malawi. When God provided the time to go this Summer, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so very excited to meet and serve, in person, the people that have filled my prayers for the past year. I’m so excited to learn from the amazing missionaries that God has sent to support the church in Malawi. I’m so excited to see how God has grown the church in Malawi. Please pray that we would humbly be a source of encouragement and joy that are willing to serve in whatever ways the missionaries need and see best. May we take every opportunity to glorify God’s name and sing his praises with the global church in Malawi. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support so far!

Josephine Wang

MalawiBlog

Salutations! My name is Josephine, and I am a rising senior at UCLA. I enjoy making new friends, eating ice cream, making new friends while eating ice cream, large dogs (samoyeds and bernese mountain dogs are my favorite!!!), and engaging in activities that pump up my adrenaline (I went skydiving this summer and it was so much fun, hehe). Although I was raised in a Christian home, I did not acknowledge the wickedness of my own heart or my need for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior until my first year of college. Despite the fact that my immediate family members are Christians, the hurt and brokenness that I felt from them (and I’m sure I gave off as well) caused me to resent and run away from the church for the first eighteen years of my life. However, praise God that through my pride and stubbornness, He nonetheless pursued me relentlessly, called me His own, and made me a new creation in Christ.

The word that immediately comes to mind when I think of Orange County, the area I grew up in since I was three years old, is comfortableComfort is a state that I catch myself gravitating towards in so many circumstances, and before hearing about the STM to Malawi, I genuinely thought that UCLA was an ideal and sufficient field for evangelism for me. This is because is there a large need, people are willing to converse, and of course, it’s an environment that I find very comfortable. When I first heard about the opportunity to go to Malawi, I did not really think twice of it because I was planning on taking a summer course and I wanted to rest a little bit before starting class again. However, I still prayed about it, not really considering it to be a possibility that I’d ever go. The Lord graciously revealed to me during this time of prayer that the Great Commission is not an option or something I am only called to do as a believer when it is convenient or comfortable; rather, it is a command that is meant to be obeyed out of the joyfulness of my own heart. The missionaries that we are going to serve in Malawi are so admirable to me. These people have submissively given up their careers, their communities, their whole lives, their comfort (are y’all catchin’ my drift here? Ok good because I didn’t italicize it five times for nothing), all for the sake of furthering the gospel. The mentality I had prior to joining the Malawi team confined God in so many ways. I did not realize how my desire for comfort created such a limiting perception of God, and it was by no means biblical. I want to go to Malawi because I want to respond to the love that the Lord has shown me through joyful obedience and a worshipful heart and have high expectations of the ways He will move. I desire to serve the missionary families in any capacity that I can, and I am so excited to learn from them, as well as the seminary students my team will be interviewing. The condition of my heart that I strive for is not one that I will be able to accomplish on my own, though, so please be praying not only for my heart, but for each and every heart of the members on this team! Thank you all so much for your support; we would not be able to function as a unified body without your love and prayers. 🙂 ❤

Meet the Team: Jeremy, Kandace, Nathan, Georgie

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Jeremy, Kandace, Nathan, and Georgie!

Jeremy Wong

Hey friends! My name is Jeremy Wong and in the upcoming fall, I will be entering my junior year at UCLA. I am currently studying Economics, with the goal of potentially pursuing a finance-related career. My hobbies include photography (both digital and analog), hiking, and playing guitar. I enjoy making coffee, spending time with friends, and trying new foods. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents who stood firm in their faith. Yet despite this, I refused to believe and surrender my life to Christ at a young age. It wasn’t until moving churches prior to entering high school that I began to grasp the horrendous nature of sin and where that placed me in the sight of an eternal, righteous God. Grieved at my sin, and awestruck at the price that Christ payed for me on the cross, I turned to repentance and was brought to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. Since coming to college, God has blessed me immensely with fellow believers whom I can care for and run alongside, as well as many opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel.

Over the course of my time at UCLA, God has grown my love for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, both here and abroad. I loved hearing the stories of missionary families at ECHO meetings, and how God worked in their lives to bring them to where they are now. From seeing how God has worked through the prayer of His people and how He continues to sanctify across the globe through His son, I grew extremely excited to have the opportunity to serve in Malawi. Please pray that God would use us to further support and encourage the missionary families. Additionally, please pray that we would prepare our hearts to serve humbly and selflessly.

Kandace Mok

13422333_10210033817788463_7087753529954045719_oHello there! I’m Kandace (the short girl with wavy hair), and this past June, I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics. I really love ice cream, Disneyland at night (and in the day too! but especially at night), puzzles (they were a great distraction from schoolwork), Maltesers (it’s not the same as a Whopper), going to aquariums (the touch pool is my favorite), and stuff animals (pretty sure I have way too many). But above all, God has given me a love for Himself and His people, and He has saved me beyond my comprehension. What an awesome God we have!

Two years ago, I went to Malawi, and had the privilege of being able to interview students at CAPA, meet and serve the missionary families there (who also served us so graciously and lovingly), and help the seminary by varnishing shelves and moving their library. Since then, God has given me a great heart for this country, and I find myself thinking and praying about them constantly. I am so thankful that He is giving me the chance to go back! One of the biggest challenges for me was deciding to go on this trip, especially since I am in the middle of job searching. But God is forever faithful, and I trust that God will use this team and this trip for His eternal glory. Please pray for our team! We thank God for you!

Nathan Lai

Hi, I’m Nathan. Malawi fun fact #1: llamas do not exist in Malawi. Malawi fun fact #2: I can’t say that for sure because I’ve never been to Malawi. Since I like to gauge how old I am and what life events have happened ever since I last saw that llama that’s in the picture there with me, I graduated from UCLA with a Civil Engineering degree one year before I met that llama and have been working for two years at a structural engineering firm since I last saw that llama. I grew up in the Bay Area and was blessed to be born into a Christian home and church family, through which God has extended so much grace to me. I remember being a kid who disrupted the Sunday School lesson by talking and joking around because the lesson was boring to me. I also remember complaining to my parents about everything from the food we were eating to the bumps in the road while driving and solely looking after my own needs. Even though I did all these things in direct opposition to God’s glory, He saved me and did not leave me to my sins. God used the Sunday School teachers and parents who I sinned against to teach me His word and through it, gave me life.

God has taught me over the years about the goodness and depth of His grace and love for me as well as all the nations. It is the kind of grace and love that I would never be able to find in myself or anybody else on earth, and it brings an overwhelming feeling that my life that all the praise I could ever bring God is not enough to match the glory of who He is. I am so thankful to see our missionaries spread God’s glory over all the earth and am glad that we as an STM get to help and encourage them. Please pray for our humility and selflessness during our trip, so that we may be refreshing and not a burden to our missionaries and the church over there. Please also pray that in our time overseas, the missionaries would be encouraged in the love and fellowship we share in the family of God. Thank you all for your support and prayers!

Georgie Mathews

Howdy, I’m Georgie, I’m a rising junior at UCLA where I’m currently attempting to learn Electrical Engineering. I was born in India and moved to Southern California at the age of 3. I was raised in the church as a pastor’s kid and went to a Christian school all my life. In fact, the photo of me above was taken in Rio de Janeiro the summer before my freshman year on an STM from my school. I was part of a team that teamed up with a local church to put on VBS in a few of the favelas of Rio. I like this photo for a couple reasons. First, it’s too blurry to see what I then thought was an awesome chinstrap. Second, it brings back fond memories of those precious kids. Third, and most significantly, it is a very solemn reminder to me of the lengths that I have gone, the great striving done, all in vain, to offer nothing more than false worship. I was not saved then and at the time I thought that among other things I did, going on the STM would boost my status with God, would make up for my lack of obedience, would somehow atone for my sins. I obviously did not understand the gospel, and it was only near the end of my freshman year at UCLA that God so graciously bought me to repentance through the testimony of a UCLA alumni (my awesome teammate Carissa Carns’ dad).  Day by day, God cultivates in me greater love for Him and obedience to Him.

This past year, God has helped me better understand what it means to fulfill the Great Commission in the station and season he has ordained for me. I was foremost convicted that the Great Commission is a command not a suggestion. It seems obvious, yet so often I viewed sharing the gospel as something that I could do if I had extra time or if on an Uber trip lasting longer than 10 minutes. What I now understand is that God has ordained a way for me to advance the gospel at any given time and he always provides the means to do so. This summer, I knew that there was nothing forbidding me from going on an STM and that I was able to serve. Based on all that God had been teaching me, I knew that I could be used by Him this summer to advance the gospel abroad and was sovereignly led to serve on the Malawi STM. I’m so unbelievably stoked for all that God has planned for our team in Malawi. I look forward to serving and fellowshipping members of His church abroad and look forward to learning from them. Pray that God would daily cause our love for Him to abound. Specifically, pray that that love would overflow to the missionaries, seminary students, and all those we encounter on this trip. Pray that he keeps us humble and that we keep Him at the center of our gaze. Finally pray for CAPA and pray that God would continue to sustain and encourage all those involved financially, physically, and spiritually. Thank you for all your prayer and support.

Meet the Team: Grace, Elliot, Samantha, Caleb

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Grace, Elliot, Samantha, and Caleb!

Grace Ye

Grace
Hello hello, my friend! My name is Grace Ye and I’m a soon-to-be second-year at UCLA. My current field of study is English, but, God willing, there will be some expansions made upon that field; i.e., I hope to cultivate an accounting minor as well, but we’ll see how that goes. I grew up in a Christian household, which I always thought was unremarkable; but lately, as I look back at my life – and even as far back as my parents’ lives – I am able to see the miracle of my salvation. Though my natural inclination was oft to run as far as possible from the goodness of Christ, God graciously placed saving influences in my life to ultimately bring me to Him.

This past year at UCLA, God has opened my eyes to the true reason why we remain on this earth: We exist to spread the Word to peoples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). It is easy enough to understand, but in earlier years, my sinful heart did not truly grasp – and was perhaps afraid to grasp – the true extent of this calling. But this past year, the Lord has been gracious to pour even a drop of His inexhaustible love for the lost into my own heart, and has also opened this extraordinary opportunity to serve the people in Malawi. While in Malawi, I hope to serve both the missionaries who have dedicated their lives for the purpose of the Great Commission, as well as the students of CAPA, as they carry out their own callings as preachers in their native country. I look forward to learning from the missionaries’ examples, serving alongside and getting to know my fellow team members, developing friendships with the people in Malawi, and seeing God’s work on a global scale. Please pray that my heart will be in a posture to serve with right motivations, and that fellowship among STM members, CAPA students, and the missionaries be sweet and edifying for all parties involved!

Elliot Kang

Elliot_2Hi! I’m Elliot, and I just graduated from UCLA for the second time (I did both a bachelor’s and master’s in statistics). I like hanging out with friends, reading, good movies (plot, emotional investment, and/or cinematography are key), fountain pens, photography, and on occasion, baking. I don’t like wearing basketball shorts or sweatpants, poor grammar and/or punctuation, when people don’t say what they mean, and when my friends think that Korean food consists of soondubu and Korean barbecue. I was saved in the middle of my freshman year, and not long after that, God used the chapter on missions in Desiring God to make me think about His plan for being glorified in every corner of the earth (Ps. 96:1-3; Is. 42:6, 49:6; Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 5:9). I have been looking for ways to support missions and missionaries to be obedient to Him, and because I want others to know and have the joy that I have in knowing God. This Malawi trip is an opportunity to do just that.

This will be my fourth time going to Malawi on a short-term ministry trip, and my third time leading the team. My favorite part of going to Malawi is watching what God does year by year. Last year, I heard students talk about what they had learned during their first year in the Master of Divinity program, and they spoke of areas of growth from loving their wives sacrificially, to becoming better preachers of the Word, to worshipping God for what He is doing in Malawi through CAPA. (You can watch short video clips of Stanford, Medson, and Maya talk about those things at the CAPA website.) I’m also excited to visit the missionary families to hear how God is growing them as they serve in Malawi! I love hearing their stories of how God has proved Himself trustworthy and faithful through life’s trials, and I learn a lot by listening to their decision-making process, whether that’s about why they came to Malawi or how they chose their spouse. (And I love watching them parent their children!) Thank you for your prayers and support! We wouldn’t be able to serve without you.

Samantha Leong

Samantha yeah

Hullo!  I’m Samantha, and this fall I will be a sophomore, majoring in physiological science.  I take pleasure in singing, ballet, tacos, bodies of water, the sky, and the color blue.  I grew up in a Christian family that faithfully went to a Bible-preaching church, and I attended a Christian private school from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  With this background, I accumulated a lot of knowledge but failed to understand what it really meant to be forgiven by God.  Out of His grace, God showed me the wonderful truth that His forgiveness does not depend on my attempts to obey Him but solely on Jesus’ perfection.

This past year, God has also shown me the wonder that is the unity of the Church.  Through conversing with other believers and observing their lives, I’ve seen how marvelous, unique, and valuable it is.  When I heard of the opportunity to serve missionaries, I was immediately interested in Malawi because my home church supports one of the missionary families there.  It is exciting to be able to participate in God’s work in His Church, which spans the globe.  Please pray that we would be humble so that we can be used effectively by God to serve and encourage; pray also that this trip would increase our love for God and for His people!

Caleb Ting

Cropped for STM

Hey there!  My name is Caleb Ting, and I will be entering my sophomore year at UCLA this coming fall.  I am currently a psycho-biology major joyfully pursuing the pre-med route (yes it is possible).  I only wear basketball shorts/sweatpants and I have terrible grammar, but somehow Elliot and I get along.  I love playing basketball, or any other sport for that matter, eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, spending time with friends, and learning about various heresies in order to defend the Gospel.  By God’s grace I grew up in a Christian home, where my parents diligently raised my brother and me in accordance to Scriptures. Though much of my life consisted of me attempting to run and hide from God, He mercifully humbled me.  Before my junior year in high school, I was brought to repentance and to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.

This past year, God has shown me the the joys of fellowship, and the gravity and depth of the Gospel.  Growing up in a Christian home did lead to a numb heart towards the message, and the saving truth of God became head knowledge rather than heart knowledge.  However, God showed me that the Gospel was His power to save (Romans 1:16-17) and that, only He could save those who have heard the Truth.  The very phrase “power of God for salvation” had me in awe!  God began opening doors for me to learn more about missions through ECHO meetings, and I became very excited to see how the Gospel was shared around the globe.  I saw the Malawi STM as a door opened by God, giving me the opportunity to serve His kingdom and to grow my love for believers abroad.  Please be praying that I serve selflessly and wholeheartedly for the Lord, and that I praise Him ceaselessly for the saving work that He is doing in Malawi!