In December 2013, after several years of ministry in Zambia, we arrived in Malawi to join a team of three other missionary families. Over the next two years, due to missionary reassignment or retirement, that team dwindled to just Nancy and me. While we were not alarmed by this, the fact that we were now responsible for the entire missionary work in Malawi did cause us to realize our inadequacy.
One of our early priorities was to revive the Tabernacle Evangelism ministry. We contacted Bobby Smith, who agreed to help us assess the needs of our shop and get it in good order. After a week of cleaning, arranging for efficient production, addressing security concerns, and developing an accurate inventory of equipment and supplies, we discovered that we had sufficient materials to erect one tabernacle. A few moments later, we were in the office of the President of the Malawi Assemblies of God, who had just received word that a violent storm had blown through Mpherembe (a town in northern Malawi) and destroyed their church building. Consequently, a church of approximately 125 people, in a part of Malawi where we have very few churches, was left without a place to worship and a center from which to continue ministry. The timing was unmistakably God-directed, since we had just learned that we had sufficient materials on hand to build a complete tabernacle! What a joy to inform Dr. Chitsonga that we could help!
We traveled to the site later that week to coordinate construction details and found church members already digging a foundation for their new building. Imagine their joy when we told them we were bringing all the steel, supplies, and roofing sheets to put up a new tabernacle they could worship in and minister from! We then met under a mango tree to discuss construction details and plan a crusade to coincide with the dedication of their new building.
We can joyfully report that the tabernacle was erected, followed by a gospel crusade. During the Friday evening service, 20 people from the community accepted Christ for the first time. On Saturday afternoon a door-to-door evangelism campaign was conducted, during which another 20 people came to Christ. On Saturday evening we welcomed an additional 30 people into the family of God. On Sunday we dedicated the tabernacle with a robust gathering and celebrated not only the provision of a new building in a new and better location, but we also rejoiced over the harvest of 70 additions to the body of Christ!
We left Mpherembe encouraged that God was clearly present to guide us in the ministry He had us sent here to do. What a joy to know that barriers to the gospel are being broken and lives are being liberated from the oppressive yoke of sin. There is much work left to be done, and we now have a thriving work in that community to carry on! Please pray for the church in Mpherembe and for us.