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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Good Investment

I sat on a stoop of a dilapidated school house and listened to Amos, the Director of the Chief’s Ministry, explain his vision.  
"If we can reach the Chiefs with the Gospel, their people will follow.  If we can disciple them, they will teach their villages."  

We’re waiting at a new site for a Chief’s Bible Study, he’s hopeful some chiefs will show up. I started seeing dots on the horizon, some of the solitary dots were moving toward us very slowly, but packs of very small dots were moving toward us quickly, kicking up a cloud of dust as they moved.  As you might have guessed, the dust cloud of small dots arrived first.  Children! They are everywhere in Malawi!  80% of Malawi’s population is children.  They are unwashed and in rags. Some are sick and many are carrying smaller children.  They are fascinated with us, grinning, giggling and trying to get as close as they dare. They are absolutely beautiful!

Then, one by one, the solitary dots arrive.  The chiefs are coming!  Many started walking early that morning to reach us by 2 in the afternoon.  Most didn’t have shoes, but when they reached us they were not tired.  They were excited to be there.  The chiefs, men and women alike, have weathered and worn faces but when they smile, they are, like the children, absolutely beautiful!  80 chiefs showed up!  They greeted every one of us, every one of the other chiefs present and every one of the children.  The topic of discussion waited and the children were never shooed away.  The greetings were obviously more important. 

Inside we spent some time in prayer and worship.  Without instruments or a sound system the Malawians rocked that schoolhouse!  Even the Americans were up and stomping; to the amusement of any who noticed how difficult it was for us to keep up!  Then they were told to split into 2 groups and discuss the characteristics of a Godly Leader.

A hush falls over the room and maybe 10 people pull out parcels.  The parcels have been hidden inside their jacket or in the folds of their skirts and they begin to unwrap them.  First a layer of plastic, then a layer of brown paper, maybe some bubble wrap and then a piece of cloth.  They are bringing out their Bibles!  Treated like the precious treasure that it is, God’s Word was obviously one of their most valuable possessions.

In their groups there is lively and animated discussion.  I’m sitting on the floor in the midst of a group because I don’t want to miss out, but I can’t follow anything they’re saying.  Then Amos asks for their response, and I am blown away.   
“A leader must love their people, be willing to sacrifice for them, be willing to be the example of Godly behavior even when it’s not popular.  A leader must be strong and teach their people, willing to correct and willing to encourage.  A leader must depend on God and teach their people to depend on God also.”
These are relatively new believers! This group of 80 came together to share 10 Bibles!  Their understanding of the Scripture seems supernatural.  I am amazed at the way the Holy Spirit blew through that schoolhouse and revealed all of that to them in such a short amount of time.  And so I ask Amos, did they say what they thought we wanted to hear, are they really trying to live by these principals?
“Lisa, they have committed to follow Christ.  They are living this! They know they are the hope of their people.”
The Malawians seem to value their relationships over time.  The Malawians treated God’s Word like their most treasured possession.  The Malawians greatly esteemed a leader who depended on God and taught their people to do the same.  A dear friend of ours, Steve Weik, used to say, “Only 3 things are eternal; God, God’s Word and God’s people, we should focus on investing in these."  The Malawians are among the poorest of God’s children.  If it’s a bad growing season, some of these dear brothers and sisters may die of starvation before the next harvest.  Yet, they have grasped in just months, truths that will take some of us a lifetime to learn.  God, His Word, and His people.
What keeps us from investing in these?
Join us in 2011 as we reach those that are hungry spiritually and physically.


  1. you brought tears to my eyes! what a wonderful posting about a wonderful time or fellowship, learning, and growth! God is good! grace

  2. Lisa, you captured my experience with the people of Malawi to a tee. What a blessing it was to be amongst them. Their poverty was overshadowed by the richness of their love for Jesus. If only America could return to that kind of devotion!


Thank you for your words of encouragement. The Sales Family