Our last meeting in Lilongwe on this busy day was with Pastor Rex Umali, who is the pastor of Area 23 ZEC. It was to be a perfect example of one of the most exciting things about these visits; their complete unpredictability. Your are just never sure what you will find and how God will use it to shape you. This time we were surprised and challenged to hear this faithful pastor’s wonderful testimony.
Tired after a long day of visits we nevertheless stopped off at Namitete ZEC on our way to our guest house at Mchinji in the very west of Malawi, near the Zambia border. However our weariness quickly evaporated in the face of the cheerful enthusiasm of Pastor Masoamphambe, his wife, his family, and his leadership team.
What images will persist, I wonder, for Ruth and I as we leave Malawi and Africa? For sure there will be images of rolling seas of tea bushes, of bright lilac colored jacaranda trees, of vast planes of dusty bush, of proud exotic animals, of litter strewn slums, of mud floors and tin roofs.
However I am convinced that the truly persistent images of Malawi and of Africa will be of the faithful brothers and sisters we leave behind. Compared to our homeland we found friends materially poor, struggling with a lack of education, and adrift for the want of more of Christ’s shepherds. But we also found friends with faces shining with the love of Jesus, humble homes thrown open in wonderful hospitality, and lives where the little they did have was completely dedicated to the growth of God’s kingdom. Continue reading →
In a country where Christian church buildings are so conspicuous, our time in Malawi is giving us a real insight into the ongoing need for the gospel in the country.
As you drive at night through the Malawi countryside you are immediately struck by the physical darkness of the place as so many struggle with the expense of providing lighting for their home, and the government struggles with the expense of lighting the streets. And certainly during our trip we also had to get used to repeated daily power outages that too often plunge everybody into deep black from 6 pm to 6 am.
However when you talk to the people of the countryside you understand – beyond their physical need for light – their far greater need for the spiritual light that only the Holy Spirit can bring. Continue reading →
The last two weeks have passed so very quickly and thanks to the gracious support of our hosts, Silas and Rahab, we have learned so much about Kenya, about its people, and about ourselves.
So it is only fitting that we have spent our last day in Kenya with our amazingly hospitable hosts; back again at their lively church, and then at home with them for a family meal around their big dining table.
It is an example of their open hearted character that “family” included us, a brother, a nephew, a missionary friend, his children, and our driver! Continue reading →
Today, Wednesday, we were privileged to journey with Simon, Lucy, Silas, Rahab and their teams an hour further north to where the paved roads of Kenya finally finish and any travel – especially in the rainy season – becomes a real adventure.
We were off to a marginalised village of Turkana and Sanburu people living in those wood and mud round houses surrounded by thick thorn fences – the very archetypal African scene to westerners brought up on a diet of public service broadcaster documentaries and National Geographic magazines.
We had been forewarned of the challenges that would face us but, as ever, the full sensory experience still came as a shock. Continue reading →
Today we learned that Nairobi has the dubious distinction of having the second largest slum in Africa after Soweto. We learned this as we drove the relatively short distance from the government district, with all its well dressed business folk, to the shanty town of Kawangware.
We were faced with the usual vision of dirt roads, rotting refuse in the streets being picked over by goats, and groups of youths standing aimlessly at corners. But what we were not prepared for was how much we were going to learn about church planting in a little concrete shack sandwiched between two dingy shops, and the joy we were going to have hearing the wonderful stories of young (and not so young) men and women born-again to a new life with Jesus Christ. Continue reading →