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welcome group

Malawi MapKen Hewett, WDA’s International Director, recently returned from leader training in Malawi.

We wanted to share his journal.

August 21

“We received an e-mail on Thursday night saying instead of going through Amsterdam and Nairobi, I would be going through London (with an 8 hour layover) and Johannesburg. Also, instead of leaving at 5:30 Friday afternoon, I would be leaving at 10:45 that night The 8-hour layover and the late departure meant I arrived in Lilongwe at noon on Sunday rather than at midnight on Saturday.

welcome group

I arrived in Lilongwe 30 hours after my flight left for London, but my suitcase didn’t make it. I waited around for the next flight from Johannesburg, but it wasn’t on that flight, either. After filling out all the paperwork, I made it to the hostel in time to have dinner and go to bed; then I went back to the airport the next morning and my suitcase arrived at noon. (Whew!)

I took an afternoon bus to Blantyre, then on to Lunzu, where I arrived at 9:30PM. I was really tired, so Paul said we would start the

seminar two hours late today. I really appreciated it because that gave me some time to rest before the teaching began.

I have enjoyed seeing the pastors again. They have all been through the basic training on disciple building, so I am giving them more advanced teaching.

Please be praying for wisdom and strength as I begin my hectic schedule here in Malawi. Ken

 

Two Days Later: August 22

welcome group
Pic – This is my welcome committee in the village.
I was able to coax some smiles after a while.

“On Thursday morning my interpreter, Paul and I hopped on a 15-seater bus headed for Golomoti Center. By the time we were loaded we had 28 men, women and children on board. Each stop some got off and others got on. The lady sitting next to me had a chicken on her lap, which is a usual sight in Africa.

We arrived at my ‘hotel’ at 3:00 and I checked in. I have a bed with a mosquito net and an attached bathroom, which was nice. However, there is no water in the toilet, sink or shower. One of the girls brought me a 5 gallon bucket of water.  So with the soap, washcloth and toilet paper I brought along, I’ll get by just fine. Betty and I have stayed in this kind of ‘hotel’ before.

There is supposed to be a restaurant here, but I haven’t found it and I’ve been all over the place. The owner brought me a piece of paper and a pencil and asked me to write down what I want and I’m trying to think of what would be safe. I picked up some water and tangerines in the small village, so with the peanutbutter I brought along, I’ll be fine.

Be praying for me as my second seminar begins tomorrow. This will be a little different than my usual seminars because I will be helping the pastors know how to teach their people to be strong in their Muslim community.

Thanks for your prayers and encouraging words.

Ken”

August 25

Report from Ken:

church last year
This is how the church in Lunzui looked last year. It was extremely hot, so they took the tarp off this year.

My church for the second seminar was built of sticks, just like the one for the first seminar. They weren’t made very well, so it was good there wasn’t a wolf (or windstorm) around or it would have all come tumbling down. The pastors in the first seminar were middle aged men who had been pastoring for quite a while. They had been through the basic seminar and they are teaching the Phase II material on Knowing God, which was translated for them by Paul, our associate staff in Malawi.. They only have one booklet for two people to share, so they are praying for finances to print more.

The group in Golomoti was much younger than the first group. They hadn’t been through the basic seminar on disciple building, so we met as long as possible each day, to pack all the information into those three days. On the first day I talked to them about children, young men and old men (from I John). They were really encouraged when we talked about them being the young men, in the prime of their lives with a life of ministry ahead of them. They really soaked it all up and now it will be Paul’s job to follow them up. He’s good at that, though. They were a fun group to work with.

We finish up tomorrow afternoon, then we’ll head to Monkey Bay. I’m feeling strong and the group has been understanding the material. Thanks for your prayers. It is difficult to find water here. Please be praying there will be more in Monkey Bay.

Ken

August 28

“In early 2012, a Women’s Bible Study from Fletcher, Oklahoma, decided they wanted a project to support in Africa. I had met a group of women from the town of Lunzu, when we previously had a seminar there and these women had said they wanted to help the widows and orphans of the Lunzu area. The Bible Study group in Oklahoma decided these women would make a good project, so they began supporting them. I bought a sewing machine for them and they used the support from the women of Oklahoma to buy thread, material and the ingredients to make bread.

ladies
Ladies of Lunzu

They have been selling the clothes and the bread to make money to buy rice and other staples for the older women who are caring for their orphaned grandchildren.

Before going back to Malawi this year I was able to raise $300 to buy them another treadle sewing machine. On Wednesday a man came to our seminar carrying a sewing machine on his back. The women were so excited! They ran home and got one of the dresses they had made and showed me how the machine worked. They were excited that they would be able to help even more women and children.

Thanks for praying for physical and spiritual strength. I’m doing great. Ken”

 

 

passing out food
Passing out food in a nearby village.

 

August 30

“It only took three hours to get from Golomoti Center to Monkey Bay. We rode in an open pickup that stopped wherever people were standing on the side of the road, and if you wanted to get off you just rapped on the top of the cab. We were constantly stopping and starting. I was fortunate enough to get a seat up by the driver with another guy, but Paul and my interpreter were stuck in back. They were able to find a seat on a bag of rice though, so they didn’t have to try to stand up.

I felt like I had died and gone to heaven when we reached my room in Monkey Bay. There was hot and cold water, electricity, air conditioning, and I had a woman named Blessing who cooked for me. I had stopped eating the food in the hotel in Golomoti because it was so greasy. Everything was swimming in grease.

The Monkey Bay group was a mix of young pastors and some who had been pastors for about fifteen years. On Tuesday we had a really lively discussion that lasted quite a while. I asked them if there was anything in the Church in Malawi that bothered them and they said it was the shamanism and witchcraft that was creeping into the churches. They were standing up and speaking and one could hardly wait until the other finished to begin sharing his experiences. They were hugging each other and praying for one another and I finally turned it over to Paul so he could talk to them in their own language. He was really speaking powerfully as he told them the answer to this problem was discipleship, helping their people grow in Christlike character. They all agreed with him and said they wanted to kidnap me so I would stay and help them. I don’t think Betty would like that, though.

Monkey Bay
Monkey Bay

I catch the bus for Lilongwe tomorrow morning at 5:30. It’s quite a long trip, so I have to travel on Friday even though my flight isn’t until Saturday. The schedule is for me to arrive home at 8:30 Sunday night, if none of my flights are changed. Thanks for praying for this trip. I’m coming home encouraged by what the Lord is doing in Malawi, despite the shamanism and witchcraft that is creeping in. Ken”

Monkey Bay is a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Malawi. It is a tourist town, so there are lots of places Blessing can find food I can eat and there was plenty of bottled water.

 

I just saw Ken today as he arrived home Sept 2. Thanks for praying for Ken and all of our international trainers.

Bible Study Pen PaperEvery good relationship thrives on shared experiences and a true knowledge of each other. In its essence, Christianity is a relationship between the people of God and the Living God. By revealing Himself to us and reconciling us to Himself through Jesus Christ, God has sought us out and begun this relationship. In response, we are to actively pursue God and cultivate our relationship with Him. We can do this by spending time with Him.

Just as our most significant relationships are the ones in which we share our lives at deep levels over a long period of time, so our relationship with God works the same way. You develop closeness with God by regularly paying attention to Him, by conversing with Him and by opening your life to Him.

But people often ask, “How do you spend time with God when you can’t see Him?” Fortunately, God has shown us how. He’s given us His Word–—the Bible—and He meets with us in prayer. As we consistently read the Bible and pray to God, we grow closer to Him. As we see how He interacts with people in the Bible, we come to understand His character, His values, and His personality. We recognize His truths and how His Kingdom functions. Through our time in His Word and prayer, God embraces us and transforms our lives.

Interacting with God through His Word

Reading and contemplating the Bible can be a powerful experience. Unlike other books, God’s Word is living and spiritual, practical and dynamic. Consider this: God, our Living Creator, has spoken! He has begun a dialogue with us, revealing His infinite thoughts to our finite minds through the Bible.

The Book of Hebrews says God’s Word is living and active (4:12). Through it, God engages our whole being—soul, spirit, body, mind and heart. As we read and obey His Word it has a profound influence in our lives. Psalm 19: 7-14 tells us that God’s Word is able to revive our souls, make us wise, encourage us, and guide us. More than just good advice, God’s Word is a significant part of His conversation with His people.

Unlike other books, God’s Word is living and spiritual, practical and dynamic.

Spending time with God’s Word is like having an audience with a king. This means we must approach the Bible as we would approach God Himself: humbly and obediently. Jesus told His followers, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21 NIV) Spending time with God’s Word is not simply an exercise in scholarship or self- improvement but a faithful expression of our reverence and love for God Himself. With a teachable attitude and a willingness to be changed, we come closer to God through His Word.

God’s Word is just that—His Word. As such, it bears the full integrity of His character and the limitless strength of His
sovereignty. In Psalm 37, David tells us that God will accomplish what He promises. He also exhorts us: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (verse 4) Therefore, we ought to look to the Bible with expectant hearts and minds, eager to see God reveal His truth and accomplish His will among us. Do you expect God to reveal Himself to you in His Word? Does loving obedience result from your time with God in His Word?

Interacting with God through Prayer

Unlike our earthly friendships, our communion with God doesn’t have to have interruptions. Our lives can truly be an unending dialogue with the Lord. Praying to God continues our conversation with Him, building upon
the time we spend with God in His Word.

But what is prayer? Prayer, the Apostle John writes, is our response to God’s outreach to us. The Lord says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). Prayer is a yielding to God and an acceptance of His fellowship, as simple as a word of welcome or a cry for help.

Nevertheless, a life of prayerful attention to God doesn’t always come easily. Part of the struggle and the joy of our lives comes from learning to persevere in habits of prayer. God, in His grace, teaches us to pray and gives many examples of prayer in the Bible. For example, Psalm 25 shows some of the roles prayer can have in our lives. Prayer can be a way of entrusting yourself to God, expressing your hope in Him, seeking guidance, asking forgiveness, gaining His perspective and receiving His comfort.

We also see elements of prayer in other Psalms. Psalm 100 is a brief expression of thanksgiving, calling us to worship the Lord with gladness and joyful songs, to acknowledge Him as our creator and leader, to praise Him for his enduring love and faithfulness. Psalm 51, David’s song of contrition and hope, is also a model of faithful prayer. He confesses his sin and pleads for mercy (verses 1-9). Seeking God’s help, he entrusts himself to His goodness and sustaining power (verses 10-15). He seeks the establishment of God’s Kingdom and asks God to bless others (verses 16-19).

Part of the struggle and the joy of our lives comes from learning to persevere in habits of prayer.

At its simplest, faithful prayer is how we thank, praise and worship God. It requires no great programs or resources. As the Apostle James says, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8a) This nearness of God is truly the essence of your relationship with Him. When you interact with God through His Word and in prayer, you’re coming closer to God. By setting apart a time and place to devote your attention to God, you’ll establish habits that will transform your relationship with Him.

Summary
Christianity is essentially a relationship with God. By spending time with God in His Word and in prayer, we can grow closer to Him.
• God reveals His character, will and goodness through the Bible.
• We should approach God’s Word with gratitude, humility and obedience.
God uses His Word to help us and change our lives.
Prayer is our response to God’s beginning a conversation with us.
The Bible gives many examples of the roles prayer can have in our lives.
It helps to have specific times to meet with God in His Word and in prayer.

Application Suggestions:

For time with God to be most effective, it is important to decide on a specific time and place to meet with Him.

The best time is often in the morning before the day begins.
The place should be quiet with no distractions, where you can be alone.
A good starting goal is to spend 10-15 minutes with God and extend the time as you are able.
Decide on a specific time and place for your appointment with God, and someone to pray that you will be faithful to meet with Him.

 

 

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