We are so excited to be serving in Malawi. We invite you to take this journey with us. Keep the beautiful people of Malawi in your prayers, and us too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sports Ministry Leadership Training—Day One

Luke and Fostance in the morning
Practical examples outside
The ladies learning how to coach netball

The day started with a bit of confusion as the youth center did not have tables or chairs set up.  But….we made it work and ended up sitting on mats and weights.  It was not comfortable for the first few hours but we just laughed it off and went on with the morning of training. 
            I can’t even begin to explain how incredible this day was!  Fostance and I taught for about 7 hours.  There were many discussion groups, problem solving games, brainstorming sessions, and questions.  
            It was really encouraging to see all 7 Blantyre area Africa Evangelical churches represented there.  There were a total of 24 leaders from the seven churches who came ready to learn at 7:30.  We began just a few minutes late but still were able to cover everything that we had planned for the day.  The youth had a lot of fun learning the biblical foundation for sports ministry, practical examples, and then a ton about discipleship and evangelism.  The Spirit of God was truly at work in the hearts of the young people in that room.  It was an incredible time and I felt so blessed to be a small part of what God was doing in the lives of these young people’s hearts.
            The highlight of the day was when we gathered for a time of prayer and conclusion at the end of the day. We opened with a praise song and then I asked if anyone wanted to share something that they’d learned from the day. One of the football leaders named Andrew stood up with joy in his face and said, “I now feel equipped with God’s Word to teach the youth of my football team about the importance of the Gospel and now I’m ready to disciple a few boys from my team that are young believers.”  God is great!  That statement from Andrew is why we are here.  We want to light the fire of the Gospel in people’s lives to go and make disciples in Malawi.  That is why we live.  We want to see people love Jesus more, preach the Gospel with more confidence, and make disciples who then go and make more disciples.  Pray for these leaders as they go and start strategically building their netball and football teams around the multiplication of disciples and the proclamation of the goodness of Christ. 

Love you all,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sickness...meetings...ministry....and good times

Hey Dear Friends and Fam,
            We are doing well. All glory be to the Lord! The past week has been full of ups and downs. Lyzee’s horrible full body rash is gone, Luke’s tonsillitis is gone, and his thumb is healing up nicely in the cast.  Three hospital visits in six days….whew!  Glad to have that behind us!  But, God was on the throne through it all and we know that He had a reason for these small troubles.  They really are small in comparison to the millions of people who suffer from HIV and Malaria in this country.  Please pray that the Lord would spare people from death before they come to know, hear, and believe in Christ.
Pray for our little neighbor buddy Lawrence. He has been sick for over 5 days now with a high fever from Malaria that now is some sort of mouth bacteria/infection.  He’s only 4 yrs old and can’t take any food because of the immense pain that continually is plaguing him from this bacterial infection.  We hear him cry every time his mother is trying to feed him porridge.  He went to the doctor yesterday and is on antibiotics now….pray that they work quickly. 
I (Luke) have been slowed down considerably this week by some stomach bug and my arm.  But I praise God for these minor bumps in the road because I have been able to spend a lot of time with the King of the nations planning for the meetings that I have coming up with all the sports ministry leaders. I have heard back from 6 churches in the area who have appointed leaders for church-based sports ministry.  From each church, there has been both men and women who want to be a part of this.  That really excites me because women are often put on the backburner in Malawi.  This could really be used to empower them to preach the Gospel and show them that they are treasured by their Creator. They need to know that their value is the same as men because they were created in the image of God.
I am really looking forward to the end of this month and have a ton of strategic planning to do in preparation for the two all-day training days that we will do on Sat. Sept. 24 and Sat. Oct. 1.  Fostance and I are meeting several times each week with these newly appointed sports ministry leaders.  We are focusing on building relationships with them first before we do anything else.  Discipleship must be central in anything and everything we do as the people of Jesus.  So….with that in mind, we are having several of the leaders over to our house on Friday for Bible study and prayer.  This is really exciting!  There is no limit to what God can do with His people when they hit their knees and seek His face.
I am also on the preaching rotation for the local churches here in Blantyre. I had no clue that this was going to happen and I am always nervous and feel incredibly inadequate to preach. But I really feel that God is leading me to go for it. So, that means I’ll probably be preaching at least once a month.  God is faithful and has been giving me a ton of things to share from His Word.  So much of the pressure of preaching is relieved when we realize that we can’t do anything in ourselves. We can’t change anyone. But when we recognize that and then throw ourselves at the foot of the cross asking Christ to speak through us there is no telling what the Holy Spirit will accomplish.   
This last Sunday, I had a sports ministry meeting at a local church in Chirimba (northern Blantyre). On Saturday night (12 hrs before the service began), I was asked to preach the next morning. It is times like these when we really have to depend on the Lord!  I had nothing to say but, “Why not?”  I had no clue what in the world I was going to talk about but, What the heck! Why not?”   And God came through again. I spent most of the night preparing in God’s Word and He gave me something to say as I sought Him where He can be found.  I preached on the book of Habakkuk focusing on questioning God.  The Lord did it.  It was incredible.  There was only a small group of believers gathering for worship that morning but God was with us and we experienced His presence and He spoke through my foolishness.  Our God can be trusted. 
Sorry this is quite long. I have three meetings in the next two days with local leaders so pray for Christ to do great things. 

                       Eternity is a reality…..let’s all live like it.