|Matt Simonsen and the leaders from Nsanje Boma (way down south)|
Greetings from very warm, sticky, and rainy Malawi! This is Luke writing the intro and i wanted to inform you that we are doing much better now. Lyzee, Becca, and myself have all recovered from a horrible month of health all January. We praise God that we have many people like you who actually spend time praying for us. Thank you! This update is from our most recent trip to the southern villages where we have been investing much of our time and prayers. God is doing incredible things! Fostance wrote this update because he was the one who went with our dear friend Matt last weekend to follow up and see what God has been doing in the villages through sports ministry. Enjoy the blog update from our dearest friend and co-laborer Pastor Fostance Mtolo. This is what he found.....
Fostance: We thank God for laying the foundation of church-centered sports ministry in Malawi! From the beginning, it has been His living ministry and Sports Friends Malawi has been planted on the foundation of Jesus Christ and is now supplying light and truth like never before. Now we are seeing this ministry reaching out to the unreached with the gospel and making disciples through the platform of sports. So far, we have been primarily working with the Africa Evangelical Church in Malawi and we surely can see that our supreme God is in complete control and using the leaders we’ve trained to do great things for the kingdom.
|Fostance, Becca, Lyzee, and Luke|
Just last weekend, me (Fostance) and Matt Simonsen were very much encouraged by the sports ministry leaders in our trip down to Nsanje (southern villages of Malawi). Luke was supposed to be with us on this trip but was quite sick and in the hospital so we went without him. What we found was truly a work of the Holy Spirit. Both sports of netball and football (soccer) are being used on a daily basis in their local villages as a tool for discipleship and evangelism. They are meeting as often as two to three times each week to do sport ministry. The leaders we have trained are effectively reflecting a godly character to their community and Christ is using them powerfully to transform lives. Praise the Lord for this! Even their pastors and church elders showed up at our meetings to testify how fruitful this ministry is and how the Kingdom of God is being multiplied. We give all the credit to our loving Father for giving us these passionate leaders who are sacrificing themselves daily for the proclamation of the Gospel in their villages. As we write this, we can't forget our many brothers and sisters who have invested much time in prayer for these leaders. Thank you so much for this! We will continue to follow-up, visit, encourage, and disciple these sports ministry leaders to let them know that they are not alone.
|Matt and the sports ministry leaders from Nsanje, Bangula|
This ministry is not merely a matter of talking about strategy, writing stories, coming up with cross-cultural ministry formulas and sports ministry training seminars. No, it’s primarily about Jesus and introducing men, women, boys, and girls to Him and then helping them to know Christ and grow in their faith. In this last trip to Nsanje, we found that this vision has effectively been passed on to many of our leaders and this is their focus too!
|Tengani leaders: Samu Jack is the 3rd one in from the right (black shirt)|
One of our leaders from Nsanje is named Samu Jack. He was one that we met with in September and he said, “My church does not support me in this and I can’t even get a ball. Should I just give up?” We tried to encourage him but really did not think he would continue in the ministry. But God had other plans. Soon after our meeting in September, Samu finally won the support of his church leadership and he began by going out and meeting with a few boys from his community on a consistent basis. Samu comes from a remote village called Chitsa in central Nsanje. This place is very hot and receives much sun to the point of being quite uncomfortable. Over the past few months, Samu Jack has been used by the Holy Spirit and is now seeing God at work in his village football ministry. He continues to meet a few times each week with his team and every time he’s with them, he coaches them in football, equips them in the Word of God, and then mentors them to love the Lord and seek the Kingdom first in all things. Now, because of his heart of love, many young people in Chitsa are coming to give their lives to Christ. Not only are they confessing Jesus as Lord but they are also joining the local Body of believers. The Church is expanding and the elders from his local church were there at the meeting to testify and praise God for this ministry. Samu Jack and the elders reported that 12 young people have surrendered their lives to Christ through this sports ministry. Wow! We understand that we should not focus too much on numbers but this is a reason to rejoice with our brother Samu because 12 individuals who were previously lost are now found by Christ. Glory be to God! Will you join us in praising God for what He is doing in Nsanje through this Sports Friends Malawi ministry?
|Netball in action!|
Despite the great achievements and amazing developments these leaders constantly are facing a number of challenges. Please pray for these few things below:
1. Pray for them to get full prayer and financial support from their local church to make this ministry sustainable and reproducible.
2. Pray that they would not fail to communicate effectively to their church leaders. Any Gospel ministry must have good communication with the church leadership.
3. Pray that the 25 leaders would not be discouraged. They face continual attacks from the enemy and Satan is doing everything he can to stop this work of the Holy Spirit.
|Nsanje, Bangula ladies netball community outreach|
4. Lastly, please pray for the shortage of food in Malawi. On occasion, this is a big problem in Nsanje because you certainly can’t play sports if you have not eaten in 3 days. If one is weak because of hunger, it’s quite difficult for this person to take part in any activity happening. Just for your information, especially from November-March southern Malawi faces problems of hunger and floods. Even now some of our sports ministry leaders are in that situation so please don’t forget them in your prayers.
Matt. 5:8 - "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
For His Glory,