Faith Like An African

The blood sun sets over the African planes as a convoy of cars bump along the Malawian dirt roads.
Red dust fills the air and curious faces watch this procession of Mzungu’s (white people) from the side of the road. Some are children with their pet goats, some men baking bricks or selling rat – o – stick (that’s the local cuisine, a braai’d rat served on a stick.)

Victory Cluster Missions group is up in Malawi for the 8th year running. Joel and Jackie Wells, an American couple, have a huge heart for Malawi and have been taking groups into the country annually.

Joining them were 11 wide – eyed Dutch nationals. Two of them younger than 4 years and another two older than 65 years, proving that age is never an excuse.

Completing the team were 12 faithful servants from various parts of South Africa. Jefferies Bay, Somerset East, Craddock, Fish Hoek and Paarl.

With such a diverse group of people there was an obvious tension, thank goodness for our mantra supplied by Pastor Hennie, “Thou shall be flexible because the flexible can bend but won’t break.”
This got us through a lot, from culture shock to team dynamics, and before we knew it we were laughing and building relationships not only within our team but also with the locals.

Our adventure began in Senga Bay on the great Lake Malawi.
We camped right on the lake in paradisaical settings learning about the Malawian people, their country and their culture. Realising that their culture isn’t wrong but just different and God uses these differences to his ultimate glory.

Lake Malawi - Senga Bay

With a heavy heart we left the Lake and travelled to the country’s capital, Lilongwe. By now we were fluent in Chichewa.  (By fluent I mean we could ask, “How are you doing?” “Muli bwangi?”)

In Lilongwe we set up camp in the middle of a game reserve with the sounds of a lions roar and hyena’s laugh putting us to sleep.

Sanctuary Lodge - Our Camp Site in Lilongwe

Our trip was a three fold mission comprising of a Pastors Conference, Village Ministry and the construction of a church building.
Our team connected with a local pastor, Pastor Canaan, and he identified for us the villages with the greatest needs.

Malawi is one of the most evangelized countries in the world but sadly the people haven’t been discipled therefore the Pastors Conference was a chance for 5 of our team to really thicken the knowledge of 40 of the local pastors.
Jackie Wells and Annere Pieterse put together a study guide going through each book of the bible and our team went through as many books as was possible with the pastors.
It was amazing to see how the Holy Spirit gave the team insight and wisdom into each book and the ability to give the pastors sound knowledge on the book considering they only had about five minutes to prepare each lesson.
There is hope that next year the team can finish the whole bible with the Pastors.

Paul with two village chiefs

A large portion of our group went into the villages. These villages are extremely rural but also very beautiful, clay and mud huts hidden amongst banana trees, but alas no running water or electricity. The purpose of the village ministry was just to love the people and share with them the power of faith and the love of Jesus. The villagers were all so welcoming and each village greeted the teams with song and dance and screaming excited children. After our time of ministry and sharing our testimonies we did an altar call and many people gave their lives to Christ for the first time and some re – committed their lives.

Malawian Village

Dan Krenzer sharing his testimony in a village

Following this we asked if any of the people needed healing. Wow! This opened the floodgates. Many adults and children came from all over with varying ailments. Some with headaches, others malaria and a lot with backaches. Thus the prayer and anointing began. God was gracious and merciful. The majority of them were miraculously healed! Two of the greatest testimonies from that time was that of an old man who had had a stroke down the right side of his body and could only hobble with a walking stick; he was delivered and can now skip and jump. He even gave us his walking stick. A second man, who wore bottle rimmed glasses was prayed for and then he could see colour, shapes and clearer figures. Sad thing though is he wanted to continue wearing his glasses. This was one of his few worldly possessions which he’d kept with him for years and he wouldn’t give them up. Let’s pray that the healing isn’t reversed for lack of faith.

Once blind, now he sees

On a previous mission trip Joel Wells went into the village of Gondwa. The village had a very small mud church building that couldn’t accommodate nearly enough people. The pastor was desperate and asked Joel if his team could erect them a church building. Joel agreed on one condition, that they supply the bricks necessary for the building. Time went by, different teams came and left Malawi and eventually the same pastor, Pastor Samson, got back to Joel. He had honoured the agreement and had made all the bricks necessary to build the church building. Therefore this year it was our chance to honour our side of the agreement. The dutch team came to Malawi with the burning desire to construct this building. Their leader, Klaas – Jan Boer and his team raised all the money necessary for the building supplies.

Finally, after many years of Pastor Samson being faithful, building commenced July 18th 2011.What a learning curve for me. I thanked God everyday for the dutch team that was with us because they were very skilled in construction, wood work and architecture. This made it look like I knew what I was doing. With the grace of God we completed the structure within 5 days, even with a pesky political riot that lost us one day of building.
Eventually it was up and the villagers rejoiced.
That Sunday people came from far and wide to the Sunday Celebration service.
To see all their happy faces was such a blessing for us.

The team in front of the new Holy Ghost Christian Church

As that red sun set again over the majestic African planes I thought of all we had done. I realised that the team that sat around the camp fire on our last night were no longer the wide – eyed strangers from two weeks earlier. No longer were we a segregated group divided by country and language, but now a family. No longer were we Mzungu’s with no idea what Malawi had to offer, but now our hearts felt at home.
Malawi truly is the warm heart of Africa. And that warmth is infectious. We slept that last night glowing in spirit by all that had been achieved.

Malawian Boy with Bible

The theme that ran through our trip was faith. God gave me a fresh revelation about what true faith looked like. The faith of a desperate, hungry people. It is so powerful. There is a hunger for God amongst the Malawians like you won’t believe. The people readily received the spirit and now walk in the victory Jesus has given them because that’s all they’ve got. That’s all they need. They have nothing else, no plan B, just Jesus. It made me think of my situation in life and how I’m not living in that desperation. I’m never in need and even in the town I grew up in, Fish Hoek, I never see that kind of great need. So I’ve become complacent, happy with what I have, very inward looking and not dependant on God. And I fear this is a reality among many.
We need that desperation for Jesus. A hunger that is so great because there is no other plan. The verse “Faith like a Child” sprung to mind and I think it should be “Faith like an African” because even in such remote places, deepest darkest Africa, they showed us “mature Christians” what it truly means to be faithful.

 

Watch this video about our Malawi Outreach

Malawi Outreach 2011 Video

To join a Mission trip to Malawi email:  clustermissions@gmail.com

or follow on Facebook: Victory Cluster Missions

The four from Fish Hoek - Valley Christian Church Tony Kettle, Joe Krenzer, Mikaela Krenzer, Daniel Krenzer

 

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