Lately, life has been a bit like one of those dreams so vivid that even upon waking, you think it might have actually happened. Stepping out of the airport in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, and seeing my friends Wonderful and Deni again felt a lot like waking up from one of those dreams. It felt like the 6 months since my last trip had only been a dream; then suddenly, I was awake, ready to get back to work.
Our work began the next day at Mtema Village- an area I had visited in October last year known to be a stronghold for witchcraft and masked dancing. Upon arrival, we discovered that the well was a bit too wide at the top to set the pump equipment on. A bit discouraged, we took a few minutes’ drive to a second location, my mind still on the first well. We had prayed that morning during our devotional time for God to reveal solutions to us so that we could accomplish our assigned tasks. Just before we arrived at the second site, I noticed that we had many more metal rods than we needed for the depth of the well and that we could use the extra as supports for a concrete platform to cover the over-sized hole. We were immediately encouraged and confident in God’s involvement in our trip. The rest of the well went in without any problems. Later that night, we were able to show the Jesus Film (an incredible tool for evangelism when your audience has never seen a movie before). Our teammate David, a college student and former Marine, took advantage of the opportunity created by the well installation to share the Gospel with several hundred people in the surrounding area. With well over one hundred people responding in prayer to God, our first day was a tremendous success.
Our next outing took us to Mponda Village in Kasungu. After a late night, we pulled up to the well moments after a man had climbed out of the newly dug bore-hole (quite an impressive feet). We quickly forgot our own tiredness and began the installation process with a new burst of energy. We were able to finish the well with time to spare before our drive to Nkhoma and took a look at the village’s old well. It was a hole about 5 feet across with nothing to keep children, animals, and contaminants from falling inside. With a new source of water, there are able to seal up the old well and stop worrying about its dangers. We ended the day with a drive to Nkhoma where we met with and had dinner with a close friend and partner of Reaching the Hungry, Hamilton Yassin. He and his wife opened their home to us again and prepared a wonderful dinner as I introduced the RtH team for our May 2015 trip, David and Wade (my uncle and still active duty Marine).
We enjoyed a bit of a late start the next day and had the honor of presenting Hamilton, along with the rest of his class and teachers, with solar-powered talking Bibles. The new pastors and graduates of the Nkhoma Theology school can now use these tools to expand God’s kingdom throughout Malawi as they are assigned to congregations in early June. It was very humbling to present gifts that were received with such reverence and thankfulness. We took a walk through the mission station, hospital, nearby market, and up into the hills before loading up for our second showing of the Jesus Film. David spoke again along with Hamilton at the end of the film to kick off a several day long revival meeting on the outskirts the of Nkhoma region. Before departing for Mtakataka, we reluctantly said goodbye to Hamilton and his wife and congratulated them again on his graduation and upcoming move to a new congregation.
We arrived in Mtakataka, ready to hit the ground running, but found that the well was not suitable for a pump. We made plans for a well to be placed there later this year, giving time to better fortify the well and ensure that it will be a long-lasting well in the future. Wonderful took us to a secondary location where a single well (installed in October 2014) has been serving more than 1,500 families in several villages. The well is so busy that it often pumps day and night to meet the needs of the people. Nearby, a second well had been dug in hopes of receiving a pump. The well had more than 3 times the needed amount of water for a pump to be installed and was nearly 50 feet down. Once we took the measurements, the team began working quickly to finish before the sun went down. I then left to meet local village group heads with Amos (Wonderful’s father) who coordinates the Chiefs’ Ministry. I saw many familiar faces from my last trip and had the opportunity to share a message of encouragement. Amos and I also spoke to them on the importance of legacy, not in worldly terms, but in leaving behind a legacy of Godly children leaders in their villages. The chiefs were presented with and extremely grateful for a number of talking Bibles currently being used in Bible studies throughout the area. Amos and I returned to the rest of the team who were putting the finishing touches on the well after taking some time to perform some maintenance on the nearby well.
We were blessed with a meal prepared by some of the women in a nearby village. As we sat in the small hut, I thought about how many people were directly contributing to the work we were doing. Of course there are those who traveled on the team, as well as our ministry partners in Malawi. However, the list goes on from there, well sponsors, team members’ financial supporters, prayer teams, and even the numerous donors who supply us with clothing and soccer balls to take to the villages. Even the people who we thought we were coming to serve were involved in God’s work. Children gathered water, rocks, and sand for the cement; men prepared bricks for the platform and helped assemble the well; and the women had prepared meals for us. Realistically, the team (including Wonderful, Deni, and Amos) could have had a great deal of success responding to God’s call; however, when God’s children each take up a bit of the weight, the results are beyond anything we can imagine.
For our final day of planned outreaches, we visited a church in Salima. This area rarely sees outsiders and is extremely hungry for God’s word. We attended morning service and worshiped with a small congregation which grew and grew as the morning went on (it takes a long time for people to walk from miles away to the only local church in the area). David encouraged the congregation with a message about turning to God knowing that He will help us grow through them. We also had the chance to answer some questions you normally only hear in theology classes. It is a one-of-a-kind experience to worship our Creator with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. Later, we sat in on a Chiefs’ Ministry Bible study. We had another wonderful time of worship and teaching before the RtH team was invited to speak. I spoke to the chiefs about living out our faith with urgency and how we prepare for spiritually dry and stormy seasons just as we prepare for those seasons in farming. We then presented the trans-denominational group with talking Bibles to start ministries in their own villages.
We ended the night with another wonderful dinner in a local family’s home before the trip’s final showing of the Jesus Film. That night, the crowd grew to around 1,000 people with more hands than could be counted during the prayer time receiving salvation in Jesus Christ. It was incredible to see how God enabled each member of our team to perform the tasks at hand despite our perceived flaws. There is no amount of skill that can prepare you for ministry, just as there is no amount required before you are useful to God. Our final two days were spent admiring God’s creation and trying to wrap our heads around everything we had seen and done. The time of reflection allowed us to solidify our understanding of all that God had shown us and helped us determine where we would go from there in our spiritual walks.
We would like to give special thanks to all who were involved in this trip. Thank you for partnering with us in supplying 3 new water wells serving over 2,000 families! Your efforts have also sent more than 50 talking Bibles to Malawi and allowed our small 3 man team to reach thousands with the Gospel!