zm's Development Manager, reports on the recent UK visit of Church Leaders
from the River of Life Evangelical
Church in Malawi
On 23rd May leaders of the River of
Life Evangelical Church (RoLEC), one of zm's church partners in Malawi,
arrived in UK for a three week tour of Great Britain followed by five
days with... Church in Belfast.
Gift, Mvula, Dave and Justice in Southampton
Ps Mvula Mvula, Ps Justice Chiphwanya and Ps Gift Mtintha came
at the invitation of zm because we believe that partnership
is two way and that the church in the UK has much to learn from the church
River of Life
Numbering 50 churches, they have just
8 trained key leaders and grass roots training of church
members is ongoing. RoLEC believe that effective communication
of the gospel comes through faithful preaching of the
Word, combined with Mercy Ministries, such as
caring for orphans and
vulnerable children, pastors and widows
One new church in one
new district of Malawi each year
Church leaders, who love
the Lord, equipped to teach others
Every pastor trained in
a 'tentmaking skill' so he can support himself
All members to be literate
and to know their Bibles
A school with teacher:pupil
ratio down to 1:40
A RoLE church is not
officially called a church until. it has 50+ members.
Up to that point with 16 - 50 it is a preaching point
And with up to 15 members a cell group.
Ps Mvula Mvula heads up the River of Life Evangelical Church,
supported by a team of key leaders.
One of Mvula's comments was, "Yes in Malawi we
are poor, but we don't want to see poverty as a challenge that stops
us growing spiritually. We need to grow disciples in the context of
nominalism, poverty and the prosperity gospel'
Ps Justice Chiphwanya , trained as a pastor at the Evangelical
Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM) and now leads a church at RoLEC headquarters
in Blantyre. He also lectures part-time at EBCoM.
During the visit Justice told us, "Before we became pastors we were
told we would be poor but there is great joy is seeing people grow as
Ps Gift Mtintha is in charge of the
church at Nsanje, on the southern border of Malawi. He is a teacher at
the local primary school and has oversight of the RoLEC Fellowship of
Youth in Malawi, some 10,000 young people.
Having experienced a multicultural welcome at Canning Town
Evangelical Church, they moved on to visit churches in Southampton, Bournemouth
and Bridport, heading briefly to East Anglia before boarding the train for
Motherwell. During the next few days they met some of zm's
Scottish supporters, and then came south to Cumbria and on to Chester, before
travelling to York for zm staff meetings
Ps Mvula preaching at Verwood Rd Evangelical Church,
nr Wimborne Dorset
Wherever they went they shared the gospel,
reported on what God is doing through RoLEC and their vision for
Comments from the Malawian Pastors ~
'We were welcomed in a way we never expected,
we felt part of the family wherever we stayed. We worshipped in a variety
of different church contexts and came to understand something of the
UK culture and how to communicate in it.'
'We came to understand the church in UK better
and to realise that it also has needs and challenges. We will pray for
it in a different way.'
'The visit helped us to understand that through zm ,
we are partners with part of the church in UK and, though separated by
distance, we share a common goal (destiny) and unity in Christ.
Their observations on life in the UK ..
"Everything depends on money. Your context seems to have everything - where
is the place of God? In Malawi we have nothing - God please help me. What
do people do when they realise that money is not the answer? It must be
very easy for people to lose hope in the UK."
.and in Malawi
Ps Justice Chiphwanya said, 'Before
we became pastors we understood we would be poor... but there is great
joy is seeing people grow as disciples'
Ps Mvula Mvula, 'Yes we are poor,
but we don't want to see poverty as a challenge that stops us growing
'In Malawi we need to grow disciples in the context
of nominalism, poverty and the prosperity gospel'
Dave Brown writes, 'Gaius
in 3John 5 is commended for his faithfulness in supporting the brothers
in their mission, even though he does not know them personally. There
are many zm supporters
like Gaius and visits like these bring to life the people and situations
they have been praying for over many years. We need friends like Gaius
to continue to be open to receiving and learning from visitors like these.'
Zambesi Mission (zm) works in partnership
with local churches and Christian organisations in Malawi that share our
primary objective - to preach the gospel and extend and strengthen the church
of Jesus Christ.