Welcome

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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Struck down but not destroyed


This life we live in is not easy.  I know most people know that and are dealing with a plethora of things that far outweigh any trial that we currently are going through.  But this month of December has brought us many gifts of suffering.  God’s Word reminds us to “Consider it joy whenever we face trials…”  We’ve memorized it, taught it, but now I can say we are attempting to live it by the power of Christ in us. Broken vessels is what we are and we constantly need the filling of the Maker of heaven. 

Over the past week, we know many of you have been praying more than ever for our little family of four here in Malawi.  You’ve sacrificed valuable time, energy, and tears into praying for us.  And God has comforted us.   Last Wednesday night was the funeral for our friends who were killed in the auto accident and I (Luke) can honestly say that that it was the most amazing service of any sort that I’ve ever been to.  It was something straight from heaven and the Holy Spirit so led that time that every person in the room was left in awe of our great Father and of the brevity of life and the reality that this life is just the beginning.   We will never forget what happened as the service was coming to a close after 4 sweet hours.  We were singing the song “10,000 Reasons” written by Matt Redmond.  And we were watching the two widows of Lusayo and Wanangwa and we watched them break out into full fledged praise to God.  There was probably over 1,500 people in the room and every one was in awe of the Lord as we sang, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, ooohhh my soul, worship His holy name! Sing like never before, oh my soul, I’ll worship His holy name.”  Everyone, including the widows were praising God.  Then we sang “Blessed Be Your Name” and we came to the part of the song which says, “You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name!”  Again the wives were praising their King for giving them their wonderful husbands for the few months that they’d been married.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to do that if I lost Becca.  But their praise just pointed everyone in the room to a greater reality and it was beautiful.  Thank you for praying for them.

2nd ever Sports Friends Basic Training
Pastor Fostance teaching
Because of all that’s happened in the past few weeks, I have made the decision to stay back from the sports ministry training and commissioning of over 70 newly elected leaders that we’ve been working with and pouring into for the past 12+ months.  Things have not been good at home as we’ve attempted to readjust back into life in Malawi and we are all having quite a rough go.  It seems like every single thing we attempt to do goes wrong.  Our electricity wires got stolen a few nights ago so that left us without power for a few days, we’ve got a stomach bug that’s floored both Becca and I, the kids are doing well, aside from Zeke not sleeping great, but I think our parenting has not been the best over the past few weeks.   All that to say, I met with Fostance and our other 4 volunteer sports ministry trainers all day today to hash out the newly changed plan. This whole hugely disappointing time has led me to realize how capable my brothers and sisters in Christ are to do this training.  Fostance is an incredible leader and man of God.  His words to me today came as a huge blessing. He said, “My brother, you need to stay back.  We can do this.  The Holy Spirit will do great things. But you need to be with your wife and kids who are suffering.”  I really believe that something great is about to happen for the Kingdom of God in Malawi and the enemy of our souls is doing everything is his power to stop it. Everything.  But he is a chained and defeated foe because of this Baby in the manger who came for us.  Although Satan would like nothing more than for us to cancel this Basic Training and disappoint all the church-based sports ministry leaders who have been eagerly awaiting this training, we are going through with it.  Just without me.   I will still drive down tomorrow with all the set up stuff and all of our ministry trainers but then I’ll drive back to Blantyre to be with Becca, Lyz, and Zeke for the week.  Then, I hope to go down on the last day of the training to be there for the commissioning service of our new sports ministers.  So…that’s the plan but we hold it with open hands to the Lord.  We need Him to show up in a huge way and this is such a key time in the lives of so many for the proclamation of the Gospel in this land.  Many of you have given towards this training and we hope that hundreds more youth will be experiencing the love of Christ for the first time because their newly trained coach has been sent out by a local church in their village to bring them the greatest news in the world: God has made a way through Christ and He cares for them.

Coach Honest
Will you please pray for us?  We need travelling mercies as we have a SUPER packed minibus and must drive down a treacherous winding mountain road to get to the location of the training.  Secondly, pray for Fostance, Shaddy, Alice, Chisomo, and Honest as they lead and teach what sports ministry is all about.  Lastly, pray that God would move in the hearts of the participants of the training.  We want to send out strong coaches who love Christ above all things and want to be disciple-makers. 

newly elected sports ministers with their Bibles
That’s all for now.  I’m off to bed before a crazy day tomorrow.  Love you guys and hope that you’ll consider praying for us.
netball is the platform the girls will use to proclaim the greatness of Jesus

For His Fame,

Luke



Friday, December 6, 2013

Death Stings...


With heavy hearts we write to you from Malawi. This is not a typical ministry update but a call for you to get on your knees and pray.  As you might know, since arriving back in Malawi on Oct. 30, things have not been easy.  They’ve actually been really difficult and we feel that the Adversary has come hard at us to try to take us out.  It seems that every day for the past month, there has been some huge problem or circumstance that has continually worn on us and become quite difficult to bear. Each night we just lay our heads down and say to each other, “Man! When is this gonna get better.”  Despite the frustrations with culture shock, house problems, daily power outages, and brutal heat, the Lord has drawn us near and has surrounded us with many followers of Christ who have brought us meals, come and prayed with us and just been there for us. 

Just last week, our friends Lusayo and Chimwemwe Mhango and Sarah Adams came over to love on us and support us in our time of need.  They are the national directors of Young Life ministry in Malawi and are dear friends to us. Sarah is from the States and Lusayo and Chimwemwe were born here in Malawi.  All three of them are incredible and have such a servant’s heart and love for Jesus.  During our wonderful time of fellowship, they explained how Lusayo, Sarah, and the other 6 national leaders of Young Life were headed off to Zimbabwe for a few days this week to attend an international Young Life conference.  They were supposed to arrive home today but they never made it back.  Today, their bus tire popped, the vehicle rolled and Sarah, Lusayo and the Young Life leader from the central region of Malawi named Wanangwa (who we also knew well) were ushered into eternity. 

Wanangwa, Sarah, & Lusayo
I  (Luke) received this news through a text message today while I was in the middle of a ministry meeting and I just broke down and drove home immediately to be with Becca and the kids. We thought it had to be a joke.  Lyzee’s dearest Auntie Sarah who watched Lyzee several times, spent Christmas with us last year, was a key member of our Bible study on Thursday nights that we attend, and always came to meet and pray with Becca, was gone.  My dear brother in Christ, Lusayo who has had such an impact on my life and on this country since he became the national director of Young Life, was gone in an instant.

Auntie Sarah reading Lyzee and her friends a book


We’ve spent this day doing nothing but grieving the loss of our dear friends and fellow laborers in the Gospel who we loved so much.  It was so unexpected and instant that it was absolutely devastating.  Words cannot begin to contain our pain and loss.  Many many Malawian people have called us today asking what happened to Sarah, Wanangwa, and Lusayo.  They were hugely influential on so many lives here. They pointed people to the greatness of Jesus Christ and were a wonderful example of unity within the Body of Christ. 

After an awful day of mourning and crying today, our friends asked us to join them for dinner.  One thing that our friend Deborah said really hit us hard. She said, “It’s not the length of a person’s life, it’s the depth of it.” Although Lusayo, Wanangwa, and Sarah were in their late 20s and early 30s, their lives counted for the glory of Christ.  And now they see His face! 

1 Corinthians 15:17-19 says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those who have died in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

How true is this?  If that tomb was not empty, then we have no hope for the future. That would mean that Lusayo, Wanangwa, and Sarah’s lives toiling hard for the Gospel in Malawi and beyond would be a complete waste of time and absolute foolishness. 

But then Paul goes on in 1 Cor. 15:20-23 to say, “BUT Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died.  For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn…..”

Today, December 6, 2013 was Lusayo, Wanangwa and Sarah’s turn.  They passed from this world and are a present with the Savior who they’ve served faithfully. This world is not worthy of them any longer.  God is their reward and their faith is now sight.

Then, a few verses later it says, “The body that is sown is perishable,  is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in the natural body, it is raised in the spiritual body.”

We don’t have much else to say but God’s Word does so please read it and may your mind be refreshed with the brevity of this life and the urgency of eternity. 1 Cor. 15:54-58, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where ,O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Sarah Adams

God is literally wiping away their every tear and is rewarding them as we speak for their faithfulness in this life to the glory of His name.

We don’t know why these things happen but we know He who is still sitting on the throne and has already defeated the horrific pain of death.

Please pray for Chimwemwe (Chichewa for ‘Joy’) & Mphatso (Chichewa for ‘Gift’) (the wives of Lusayo & Wanangwa).  They love Christ deeply but are completely devastated by the loss of her husbands.  Also, please pray for Sarah’s family who are all back in the USA.  After your prayers for those listed above, please pray for us, we are so sad. 

Death Stings…but only for a while.

Love you guys,
Luke & Becca