Dave Brown, 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.
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 in Malawi.
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 disciples”.
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.
Wherever they went they shared the gospel, reported on what God is doing through RoLEC and their vision for the church.
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 spiritually’
‘In Malawi we need to grow disciples in the context of nominalism, poverty and the prosperity gospel’
Dave Brown writes, ‘Gaius in 3 John 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.
River of Life Evangelical Church
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 RoLEC 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.