Zambesi Mission

 2019 News Stories
October 2019
“This (conference) is our Bible College!”


How would you prepare to preach or teach if you had no Bible and no study books? It might be possible to borrow someone else's Bible, but in Malawi hardly any preachers possess study books or commentaries or have access to the internet,- which we take for granted.

Salima Conference July 2019

The Challenge
This challenge led zambesi mission to introduce the concept of a ‘Bookset Conference' in 2003. Former zm mission worker Abraham Folayan explains: “They were initially aimed at pastors from the Zambezi Evangelical Church (ZEC), most of whom have very little literature resources to help them in their preaching and teaching ministries. This week-long training and refresher programme was focussed on the pastor's personal spiritual life and ministry skills. It provided opportunity for interaction with other pastors for mutual encouragement and challenge”.


The Three Conferences
The conferences zm organised this year at Salima, Limbuli and Zalewa have proved to be some of the highlights of the year so far. Abraham and Ruth Folayan were invited to return from Nigeria to Malawi to help with the teaching programme. Abraham continues: “Today this scheme has widened considerably and works through the growing and influential pastors' fraternal groups located in several small towns and bringing together pastors from many churches and ministries. This is particularly important for those working in rural areas, many with little or no structured system to train their pastors. The bookset conference becomes the one-time opportunity to receive a little formal training exposure to what Christian ministry is like outside their own small enclave. The value of these conferences, which have also been extended to include church elders can not be overemphasised”.

The Salima bookset conference in July had 125 participants from 41 different church denominations. zm's Field Director, Simon Chikwana wrote: “It was evident that some of the pastors were in ministry although not well prepared from the fact that 13 pastors gave their lives to the Lord! The conference was important to all the participants with one commenting: ‘This conference is our Bible College because some of us have never been to a formal Bible College.' At the end of the conference the participants were committed to go and make disciples”.

Simon Chikwana, zm's Field Director at the Salima bookset conference - July 2019

The Limbuli (Mulanje) refresher conference, also held in July, was due to take place a year after the 2015 Bookset Conference, but was cancelled because of zm's financial concerns at the time. Simon Chikwana reported: “True to the call, the Mulanje people organised themselves within a short period and managed to get together a group up to 99 participants drawn from 21 different denominations. Due to the length of time since the Bookset Conference 40% of the participants were new. However, the testimonies from those that participated in 2015 came out clearly. It had been a great challenge to the participants. Since the conference their unity has improved. They have organised themselves to start a youth fraternal with the mandate of discipleship among the youth. This has already become a tool to reach out to the youth in the area. The churches have started dealing with issues of tradition and culture. Preaching has improved significantly and individual churches are experiencing growth due to the increased commitment of the pastors and leaders. Those who formerly did not have the courage to reach out to Muslims have been empowered and could testify that they now find it easier to do so. Those who came for the first time were equally challenged by the word of God. Over 40 people recommitted their lives to the Lord”.

Connex Ijalasi at the Salima bookset conference - July 2019

The Zalewa bookset conference in August, was a last minute replacement for the Nsanje conference. It was attended by over 105 leaders, a mixture of pastors (33) and church elders (72) drawn from 30 different denominations. As is typical in Malawi, particularly in rural areas, over 80% of the pastors had never received any formal theological education. Almost all of the pastors and leaders came from indigenous churches which do not have a system of training and equipping elders. These are sometimes steeped in animistic culture and tradition, whilst simultaneously leading churches. Twenty people who travelled long distances to attend the conference slept overnight in the church. Simon described this as “commitment at its highest level”.

One of the many Bible study, prayer and discussion groups

The Teachers
The conferences are held in partnership with J-Life Ministries with help from Connex Ijalasi. The team and their teaching subjects were as follows:

Abraham Folayan – Walking with God, Mission and Evangelism, Pitfalls of a Christian Leader

Ruth Folayan - Understanding Islam

Connex Ijalasi – Disciple Making Process, Christian Leadership, Cost of Discipleship, A leader and his vision

Simon Chikwana – Preach the Word

Gift Mphongolo – Culture and Tradition

Synoden Mulamba - The Church

Victor Zuze – Christian Marriage
The teaching team at Salima
(Left to Right) Victor Zuze, Abraham Folayan, Ruth Folayan, Gift Mphongolo,
Connex Ijalasi , Simon Chikwana, Synoden Mulamba


The Impact?
Over 2,900 books (excluding Bibles which were provided to every attendee) were distributed. We are very grateful to Banner of Truth, Christian Books Worldwide and Muriel Stonelake who provided us with commentaries and other study books in English and Chichewa. We were also able to distribute the Chikondi Chenicheni (True Love Waits) book that was translated and printed by Malawian Christian worker Sky Gausi with support from the UK organization Lovewise.

The Salima Conference participants with their booksets


in giving thanks to God for these events and all the lives affected during the conference
in prayer that the pastors and leaders will be able to effectively convey to their churches the truths they learned.


 2019 News Stories

Zambesi Mission is a registered charity in England & Wales (1165004) and in Scotland ( SCO46748)