The other day, I (Luke) printed out a few photos of the ministry and I came across this picture of feet and God gave me a vision.
More than ever before, Becca and I feel alive. God has done something amazing in our lives that has opened up an area in our hearts that we did not know we had. In a much clearer way that ever before God has confirmed to us why we are here in Malawi. It’s for these feet.
The photo above is a picture of the feet from the kids of our neighborhood. As many of you know, we planned on coming here to initiate a church-based sports ministry. God has done incredible things through the sports ministry and we are in awe at how much He’s accomplished over the past 10 months. Thanks for your fervent prayers. We know everything that has happened and continues to happen is a direct result of you on your knees on behalf of the wonderful people of Malawi.
In the midst of all that is going on with sharing the vision of sports ministry with church leaders, training the church youth, and setting up a network of churches using sports as a platform for the Gospel, God has done something extraordinary at our home. I travel several days each week going to different places with Fostance having sports ministry meetings. But, the kids from our neighborhood are the ones whom God has clearly shown us, “More than anything else, this is why you are here.”
From the moment we arrived in Malawi, we were a bit confused about our housing situation because it was not the setup that we had hoped for. We wanted something small and in the middle of the slum. It was not our choice but we were placed in a house with a gate and a big yard. We thought, “What in the world? How are we going to do ministry with this setup?” But, over the past few months God has especially shown us that He has us strategically here for such a time as this.
Every day of the week, a whole group of smiling faces happily stroll through our open gate ready to be loved on. Most of them come from the slum that is just a few hundred yards away. We have been praying how God might use us where He has us here while continuing to daily struggle with the thought of living where we do. But….God has opened up our eyes to one reality, “Impact these 60-80 kids who are coming to your house several times each week and you will impact the nation for Me. Make disciples of these kids and then they will go and multiply their lives into others.” So….we’ve had no choice but to embrace this word from the Lord.
|Becca with her boys|
Just last week, we were able to enter the football (soccer) team that meets in our back yard (they’ve named themselves ‘Lyzee United Football Club’) into a tournament. They had never been in a tournament before and were SO excited that we were willing to take them. We prepared a lot and then the boys did so well. I was so proud of them! It was so encouraging seeing how the Word of God is being planted in these little guys. What happened is that Lyzee United beat everyone and then made the final match of the tournament just to have it taken away from awful refereeing at the end. It was such a teachable moment as the kids were crying because the trophy was taken away from them by the referee. I gathered them around and reminded them of what we have learned about how Jesus taught of turning the other cheek and not fighting back with hostile words and acting out in anger. I told them, “We will have another chance and we will silence their lies and cheating by our play and Christ-like attitude. What is most important is that we are act like Jesus to these people who don’t know Him.” And then I was amazed at how they responded. The boys all continued to cry but they realized that there is more important things than winning and that they needed to show these people Jesus in the midst of injustice. They did and I was so proud of them. The coaches, Becca and I continued to try to plead our case before the bad ref but to no avail. The kids were watching as we showed our love and concern for them. It was just natural to fight for our boys but it went much deeper than we thought it would. After the tournament, we boarded the minibus and the kids were all singing at the top of their lungs. They had a great time. Actually, a few of them came to us and said, “This was the best day of my life.” As we pulled into our house, all the kids were gathered jumping up and down with huge smiles on their faces and God clearly spoke to Becca and I, “These are your kids. This is why you are here. Continue to teach them in my ways through word and deed and you will see their hearts transformed and them raised up to reach this nation for the Gospel.”
|One of the kids (Pempero) finishing reciting 21 verses at once that we've been memorizing|
Since that day, everything has changed. It’s like they have completely accepted us into their lives. They come over daily to talk issues of school, family, prayer requests, and just laugh. They know that when they come to our house, they will be loved. It’s like a refuge for many of them in the midst of a very hard life. More than anything, it brings me the most joy to see Becca with them. They call her “Momma” because she battled for them on that day of the tournament when she stood up to the referees and said, “These are my boys! You don’t cheat my boys like this!” God is using her fiery spunk to show these kids that she deeply loves them. When we first arrived here, we wanted to adopt one little Malawian kid but I think God has given us about 50.
Of course we continue to do vision sharing of sports ministry and continue to go out to encourage those other ministries that we’ve started since arriving here. That is also why we are here. But….God has clearly shown us that this little football/Bible club that meets in our back yard is not just a club but it is life. It is our ministry model and we long for each of these kids to be taught in the ways of the Lord in such a way that their dusty little feet would be beautiful as they are raised up to take the Gospel to the nations. Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News.” God may it be so of these precious kids! Use these feet to bring Your Gospel to Malawi and to the ends of the earth.