Week Two

We had two speakers from England come to speak to us this week – a married couple in their 60s. Their topic for this week was the character and nature of God, but this was so broad that they spoke to us about a lot of things! Mostly what I got out of it was how much God loves us and wants to heal us from our wounds – wounds of grief, rejection, abandonment, fear, etc. I spoke and prayed with them on Friday about my wound of rejection, and I’m working with God now as He begins to heal. It will be a long process, because it’s not a simple thing!

On Thursday I went to the large market in the nearby town of Limbe with one of the staff members and another student to buy food for the base. It was quite an experience! The market is huge, a warren of alleys and warehouses and streets and buildings that all make up various stalls, many of which were made with any available material – wood, tyres, sacks of sand, etc. I didn’t want to take my camera with me as it would just scream money and I didn’t want it stolen! We bought vegetables and bananas from inside a large warehouse which had brick shops around the inside edge and rectangular stone counters in the middle. One of the shops was named after a Psalm, but I can’t remember which one. There was also a “God is Good Butchery” – a common name for butchers here! The smell of fish inside the warehouse was incredibly strong as along half of one of the walls were stone counters with sinks built into them that had dead fish in them for sale.

As we walked around the market, a lot of Malawian men called out to the other student, a tall Englishman called Lawrence (he’s around 6ft – and Malawians are on average around 5’6” or so). They called things after him like boss, good height! and are you a basketball player? Apparently, they also said that I would be a good woman to marry but as they said it in Chichewa I didn’t find out until we got back to the base! We bought a lot of food – 8 bags between the 3 of us (and one of them stuffed full of sweet potatoes so it was heavy too!). We then had to pile unto a minibus crammed full of other people, their babies and their shopping in order to get home. The minibus transport here is an experience in itself. Every bump makes the buses rattle and shake, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it might suddenly just fall apart!

Today we had church ministry. All the students have been split into 4 outreach groups and each group went to a different church. In each group, one student would preach, one would teach, a few would give testimonies, and others might have other ‘jobs’ depending on what the church needs. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is between teaching and preaching except what I’ve been told – that teaching is about 15-30 minutes long, whereas preaching is generally an hour or more. Teaching is also supposed to be more interactive. My group didn’t preach as the church we went to was going to have a women’s conference and so a bishop came to preach. I gave a testimony on how I studied Galatians with a friend and really came to realise that God loves us no matter what – whether we read our Bibles everyday or once a year, or if we go to church 3 times a week or once a month; of how I really came to know the truth that God is pleased with me and loves me just as I am. Churches are very different here! We arrived an hour late due to transport issues and they were still in the middle of worship! They sing and dance a lot in Malawian churches, with members also leading songs.

This week the weather has been cold, with rain the past two days. It’s been like England! I’ve been told to enjoy it though as the temperature will soar in the next few weeks.

Yesterday we had problems with the electricity in the morning, which was assumed to have been solved by early afternoon. However, later in the afternoon, several people were claiming to be unable to touch the water taps in the bathroom and kitchen without receiving shocks, but not everyone could feel them. Turned out they were receiving electric shocks! The reason some of us couldn’t feel them was because we were wearing shoes. So from about 5 in the evening we had electricity coming and going as the electrician worked on fixing the problem. Thankfully the main hall (where we eat and relax) and kitchen have lights that are powered by solar panels so we weren’t eating in the dark! (Though last time we lost electricity, the solar panels weren’t working so we were eating in the dark!)

Prayer points for this week are:

  • that I would get closer to God
  • that I would learn to love vulnerably
  • that the students would continue to grow closer
  • thank God for the work He is already doing!

First Week

So I’ve been in Malawi for several weeks now. I wrote out some blog posts to put up here, but unfortunately the internet has been so slow that I haven’t been able to load wordpress! I will write them and upload them as separate posts, and this is the post I wrote from my first lecture week.

I have just started the lecture phase of my DTS (discipleship training school). From Monday to Thursday I have about 13 hours of lectures total. This first week we were talking about how to hear God’s voice. The main points were: learning to recognise His voice through relationship with him – studying the Bible, praying, etc.; sitting and listening, rather than just talking; and then obeying when you hear Him speak. We also discussed justice, and what is justice. It’s quite a difficult question to answer succinctly! We all had slightly different ideas of how to describe justice.

In addition to lectures, we’ve got outreach. Every week we will be working either with the YWAM kids ministry, youth ministry, or local outreach. We didn’t do this in this first week so right now I’m unsure what it will look like. However, I did do some outreach this week when I went with a team from YWAM to show the Jesus film at a village. In order to show it to a large amount of people, they bring the cinema to the villages. They custom built a large truck (I have a photo but I’ll have to upload that at a later date). This truck acts as both a stage – where the team sings worship songs and speak to the people – and cinema, when they raise a screen on the top of the truck. Worship includes a lot of clapping and dancing! They sang until it got dark at around 6pm – it gets dark between 5 and 6 all year round – and then they show the film. A projector is hung on the back of the truck and and projects onto the back of the screen that is attached to the top of the truck. It’s quite an ingenious system! The film was shown and then paused at the point where Jesus is on the cross and the thief being hung beside him says, “We are being punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus replies, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” At this point, a speaker explained what Jesus has done for us, how we are all sinners, and asked if anyone wanted to follow Jesus. The whole crowd responded! The YWAM team and some local church members then took down the names of people who had accepted Jesus for the first time in order to connect them with a local church. After that, the rest of the film was shown, and at the end people were invited to come forward for healing. I prayed for 5-6 people; they had headaches, stomach aches, and one had pain all over. After I prayed, they said they were healed. I have to admit I was quite skeptical! Were they really in pain? Were they really healed if they were? But I will trust in God, for He is a God who heals! I did tell Him that I would like to see a physical healing, like a broken bone, though! I’ve heard of broken bones being healed, of the blind seeing, of bent backs being straightened at some of these meetings. After everyone had been prayed for, we packed up and went back to the base.

As well as lectures and outreach, we have work duties for an hour and a half each day from Monday to Friday. My work duty is to clean cars with 3 of the Malawian guys. The cars here get very dirty because it’s so dusty! So everyday we wash one of the cars – this includes the big Jesus film truck! We also clean inside the cars – wiping down the seats, the dashboard, the insides of the doors, and sweep out the dust. Other teams sweep the grounds, help in the garden, cook the evening meal, clean the bathrooms, wipe down the tables after meals, etc. This is our service time – to serve as Jesus served.

In the mornings, Monday to Friday, we have 2 hours from 7:30 to 9:30 devoted to prayer, worship, devotion, or a prayer walk. For example, on a Monday we have a devotion with the rest of the DTS team from 7:30 to 8:30 and from 8:30 to 9:30 everyone meets together for intercessory prayer. I have to say that I love intercession! Intercession is the one thing that we do every Monday to Friday, except Thursday when we do a prayer walk instead. In intercession, we worship for a short time and then a few people say what they feel God wants us to pray for/about. Last Friday we prayed as a group for Christians in North Korea, the indigenous people in Canada, the girls captured in Nigeria a few months ago who have still not been released, for Christians in missions all over the world, but especially in places where it’s difficult to be a Christian, such as Muslim countries in the Middle East. It’s amazing to be with so many people praying together for these things, and I’ve been learning a lot about prayer.

Weekends are mostly free time, but on some we might have a group activity on a Saturday or church ministry on a Sunday. I’ll speak more on that once I’ve done it. Yesterday was really warm so a lot of us spent several hours at the pool to cool off! I also went with the other azungu (foreigners!) to get some local money and do some shopping. Today was church I went with the other international girl students. Afterwards we grabbed some ice cream and jumped into the pool again after lunch.

I’ve already learned so much on this DTS! If you have questions, or want to know more, please send me an email at: scribblefingers@gmail.com

These are the prayer points I had for the first week. They still apply, but don’t feel you need to pray for everything for the first week, and second week.

  • that I would love God more
  • that the students would learn well, rest well, and grow in our relationships with each other and with God
  • praise God for what he’s already done!