Myles and Ruth MacBean (zambesi mission’s Church Development Partners) embarked on a five-week tour of the more remote north of Malawi between 3rd May and 6th June 2016. During this period they travelled 3,821km from their base in Blantyre! Their journey took them to five different centres in the north – Mzimba, Mzuzu, Rumphi, Karonga and Dwangwa.
Their objectives were to:
- Understand the different culture, geography and circumstances of the Zambezi Evangelical Church (ZEC) in the north of Malawi;
- Encourage ZEC in the north and demonstrate the commitment of ZEC and zm to the church in the north;
- Take the opportunity to directly train people as a back up regulary training and supporting trainers;
- Allow Myles the opportunity to trial the concept of a Preach the Word training programme, with a view to expanding it more widely within ZEC. Preach the Word is a two-day seminar designed for pastors and elders who want to refresh their understanding of the biblical principles of preaching.
Myles and Ruth felt that they achieved their planned objectives during their ministry tour. They found that the Sunday school training carried out by the accompanying Children For Christ Ministry (CFCM)team was very well received, as was the Preach the Word training. The turnout and commitment of ZEC women leaders to the training sessions was particularly positive.
Myles and Ruth wrote: “It was heart-warming for us to meet with such a committed ‘remnant’ of faithful disciples within ZEC who appeared dedicated to being trained to better partner with the Holy Spirit to transform their communities and their church for God’s glory. The tour reminded us that God is in control, He will work in His own way to bring about His own plans, and that so often he chooses to work through that which from a worldly perspective is a weak remnant to advance His Kingdom. It was also truly humbling to experience the love, hospitality, care and gratitude of the people for the little that we were doing in service to them “.
Myles and Ruth noted a number of economic, cultural, geographical and in particular spiritual challenges that face ZEC churches in the north. But there were also a number of wonderfully encouraging highlights from their visit.
- In one location they met a ZEC student on placement from the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM). He had received CFCM training whilst at EBCoM. Myles and Ruth observed that “he had clearly done excellent work as a Sunday school teacher and modelled high quality teaching for the resident Sunday school teacher to learn from “.
- Myles was particularly impressed by the potential of the women who attended his Preach the Word seminars. He said that “many of them were primary or middle school teachers by profession. They generally turned out in greater numbers than the men, appeared very committed, and often appeared better equipped to learn – even continuing to take notes while breast feeding a hungry toddler “.
- The churches were also very encouraged by the fact that ZEC and zm were making the effort to help the north. Myles explained how similar the north of Malawi is to Scotland. One young elder thought that the Preach the Word programme would really help ZEC to maintain its unique position as a major African-led church that is still grounded in the Word. There were, he said, many churches in Malawi but most had drifted well away from the Word.
Please join with us in praising God for all He achieved during this tour and pray for the fruit He desires in all the lives involved.