Monday, November 1, 2010

Malawi Update!

If you are new to my blog, then you might not have known that I have been to Africa for the past two years on mission trips. Let me give you a little bit of background. For the past two years, I have been going on mission trips to Malawi, Africa with my church Simsboro First Baptist Church. The church's first mission trip to Malawi was in June 2009. We stayed for about 12 days conducting medical clinics in five different villages. On our first trip, we expected to see about 1,000 people the entire trip and planned our medicine accordingly. God had other plans. We saw about 1,000 people our first DAY!! The other four days in the villages we saw just as many, and our medicine never ran out! Talk about experiencing the Feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew14:13-20)!

Our second trip took place the last week of May through the first week of June in 2010. Again we stayed about twelve days visiting five different villages giving medical clinics. The people of Malawi were so happy to see us come back to help them! Even though we tried to limit the number of people we saw each day, it was hard to turn people away. Just like the year before, we had people lined up early each day ready to take part in the medical clinics. Of course, we never ran out of medicine. Each year we had plenty of medicine to leave behind with John and Lee Anne Campbell, the couple we were staying with in Malawi.

John and Lee Anne Campbell are a part of International Edifiying Christ Ministry with Scotty McDowell. They are administrators of a center called Rainbow Children Development Center in Malawi, Africa. This center is focused on raising orphan children from the surrounding villages in a Christian environment. We had the pleasure of staying with John and Lee Anne each year we went to Africa.

You can read more about Rainbow here. You can also see pictures from each trip at my website.

Now the rest of the story....

Each year John and Lee Anne come home to Louisiana for a few weeks. This past Sunday we were able to spend a little time with them away from Africa. They came to our church to speak to the congregation about what is happening in Africa. God is moving in a mighty way in Malawi! Witchcraft has been the norm for Malawians. That is what they grow up knowing. But God has been at work in Africa. It is amazing to see the Word of Christ Jesus sweep through the country! A revival is going on right now in Malawi, Africa! And although John couldn't be more happy about this, he believes he is being called by God to go into the desert like Philip in Acts 8:26-40. Maybe not literally the desert, but John is being called away to a foreign land in the midst of a revival in Malawi. John and Lee Anne have plans to leave for Peru at the beginning of 2011. They don't know what they will be doing, or where they will be going once they get to Peru; all they know is that they are going to Chincha, Peru.

However, before they left Africa to come to the States, a few wonderful things happened. Three village chiefs decided to turn their villages over to Christianity. But before they could do this, they would have to get permission from the main chief of that area. To do this, they each had to come up with 7,000 kwacha. Altogether it would be 21,000 kwacha which isn't quite $150, but in Africa that is quite a bit of money.

At first, only two chiefs came forward with the desire to turn their villages over to Christianity. They had been going to John's church at Rainbow. The Sunday before they were to give the money to the head chief in order to have the ceremony, John's church took up an offering that would go towards helping the two chiefs. John explained to the congregation that these two chiefs wanted to turn their villages over to Christianity, and that they needed 14,000 kwacha. John said that God had told him there would be 14,000 kwacha in the offering basket that morning. As they were getting ready to take up the offering, the third chief stood up and said that we wanted to turn over his village to Christianity as well. So now they needed 21,000 kwacha. They took up the offering. As the people discussed the ceremony, who was bringing what, what time to be there, they decided to count the money. The total came to just over 19,000 kwacha. John asked the congregation if they would agree to let the difference come out of the church's funds, and they agreed. They had the money they needed to give the head chief!

But the miracles don't end there. As they were preparing for the ceremony, a man who works with John (kind of like an associate pastor) and lives at Rainbow came to John with a problem. There was not enough sima to feed all the people. Sima is one of Malawi's main foods. It is made from cornmeal and water cooked to a porridge-like consistency. Malawians eat this with everything. This man wanted John to fix this. At Rainbow, they plant and grow their own vegetables including corn. This man wanted to go get their own corn to feed the people at the ceremony, but John said no. God had told John before to stay out of His way, so John knew to stay out of His way. Three chiefs were turning their villages, which were originally witchcraft, over to Christianity. That itself is a miracle! God would provide for His people. So the ceremony went on, and John thought no more about the sima. Later, Lucas House, who is also from Louisiana and staying in Africa to minister to the people, came to John. He told John that the people were feeding sima to the dogs because they had so much left over! Amazing!

One more thing! The head chief they had to give the money to in order to have the ceremony is an alcoholic. By 7 or 8am, the man is usually already drunk. However, on the day of the ceremony, John went to pick him up to take him to the ceremony. He was sober. John was surprised. He was even more surprised to see the chief carrying a Bible! At the ceremony, the chief spoke. He told the people that he knows they see the men participating in 'the big dance,' which is something they do at a witchcraft ceremony. He said those men are wrong. The men who are with John, teaching and preaching the Word of God. These men are right.
I'm speechless!

To have the opportunity to go to Africa two years in a row, to see what the people are like, to see their needs, hear their cry for help, see the hunger in their eyes for something true and real, to actually see the witchcraft that keeps them prisoners (yes, we actually ran into some witch doctors on our first trip to Malawi), to see all this and then hear of the impact that these godly men like John, Lucas, and Scotty McDowell are all having on these people is absolutely amazing!! And that doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I have! All I can do is praise God! He is the one to thank. He is the one to glorify.

Yes, some places in Africa may not be seeing a revival like this. Some places may still be overcome with witchcraft. But not forever.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it."
John 1:1-5 NKJV - emphasis mine.

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