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.”
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