Nevil and Ross’s visit to Malawi – Explore programme and Graduation
Khayakazi Mgoduka, Development Department Intern
As Christians, it is our responsibility to spread and share the gospel so that everyone can hear about Jesus Christ. Mark 16:15 says, “And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” From 28 June -3rd July 2017 GWC staff Nevil Carrington, External Studies’ Manager and businessman with Ross Anderson, lecturer in Biblical and Ministry studies, visited Malawi with a dual purpose. Ross was to preach at the graduation ceremony and Nevil was to investigate the use of the Explore programme with Pastors.
The graduation took place at Africa Evangelical church which is situated within the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM). Fifty-six graduates were rewarded for their achievement. EBCoM is a Theological College which equips Christian men and women in the Word of the Lord together with other relevant subjects, with the goal of providing and equipping leaders and workers for the Christian Church. Ross and Nevil were invited there to represent GWC because EBCoM is one of the nine colleges that is financially assisted by GWC and some lecturers there are GWC’s alumni.
Ross, as the guest speaker, preached from 1 Timothy 4:11-5:2, where God Commands Timothy to set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, in love, faith and in purity without any fear of being underestimated by any circumstance. His sermon was translated by Innocent Wachimwa, a GWC graduate. Ross’s sermon emphasized the following:
- The problem. Timothy had been put in a position of heavy responsibility but he was still young and inexperienced.
- The question. How should young /inexperienced Christian leaders react to this situation, so that their youth and experience is not despised and their ministry is not rejected?
- The answer is found in these verses: V12, watch your example, V13, identify your authority (cf EBCoM statement of faith), V14, exercise your gift, V15, show your progress, V16, persevere and relationships (like family).
The certificates for the graduates were handed out amidst much singing and dancing. The people attending were entertained by some young children telling their story in Chichewa, and the graduates’ choir singing to them. After congratulating all the graduates, there was a short time to mingle. Ross and Nevil were invited to join the other guests for some drinks and snacks. The next step of the journey was now ahead of them.
The drama began two hours after leaving Blantyre on their borrowed motorcycle. “We noticed that our carburetor was leaking fuel and that there were some screws missing’’ Nevil said. As they did not have a screwdriver to tighten the existing screws one of them had to go to the Liwonde market. A local bicycle “taxi” came to the rescue as he gave Nevil a ride to find a small star screwdriver. After finding a third screw they eventually managed to travel in the dark from Liwonde to Mangochi, successfully avoiding cars, trucks, bicycles and finally being led to their accommodation by another bicycle rider.
The next morning, they had to go to Makanjila, where the Explore training was to take place. They were joined by EBCoM and other Explore members in Makanjila. They discovered that Pastor Billy and Pastor Richards who are Explore members in Malawi were to travel with them so the bike was parked, and the journey continued by taxi. At the start of their journey they were pulled over by the local police, all the passengers remained calm and they suspected that the driver might not have had a license.
The remainder of the journey was a nightmare with the car hitting many potholes, going off the road once and colliding with a bicycle. The team finally managed to arrive in Makanjila only to find that they still had to travel a further hour to Lulanga where they met Pastor Givertson and Pastor Jeremiah who are also Explore group members in Malawi and twenty potential Explore students. With the assistance of Pastor Givertson, Nevil gave a brief overview on how to use Explore as a tool for understanding God and His Word better, he then prayed before handing over to Ross. Ross taught through the second unit of Explore the Bible: Creation and Fall emphasizing the dreadful result of sin, and the need for Christ. The students were then invited to complete enrolment forms and all but one signed up to study Explore. Most of those students will study in Chichewa but about six will undertake the course in English. The need for Bibles was noted and Nevil undertook to find them Chichewa Bibles.
Despite the risks, God was in control and extended His grace to the travelers. The journey was a success as seeds were planted. They arrived safely back at the lodge in Mangochi where they ate chicken and chips with Pastor Billy and Patrick the taxi driver. Pastor Barnet an Explore member in Malawi who lives in Liwonde, expressed interest in Explore in Chichewa and enrolment forms have been sent to him for Pastors in his area. Pastor Givertson Piri and Pastor Barnet, with the assistance of GWC’s past graduates, Abel Sauti-Phiri, the overall supervisor of the Explore group in Malawi and Innocent Wachimwa, will facilitate new Explore groups.
After all the hard work, Nevil, Innocent and Charles Mapira from EBCoM spent an afternoon planning a five-day Explore the Bible training which will take place in Zomba in July for 45 rural pastors. The team gave thanks to God for the protection they received throughout the journey and they prayed that there will be much fruit produced in Africa in line with our vision: That Africa be filled with preachers and teachers who deeply love the Lord Jesus, and who have a profound understanding of Scripture, in order that Africa may increase its share in the Kingdom of God.