Mark Alan Williams
Lessons Learned On My Recent Trip To Malawi
Updated: Mar 26, 2019
It was a remarkable opportunity to share Discipleship Journeys with Jesus!
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It was my great privilege to take a ministry trip to Malawi recently. However, many or perhaps most readers might not know where this country is located. It is in Southern Africa and is one of the poorest nations of the world.
My trip to Malawi was for the purpose of launching Discipleship Journeys with Jesus there. This was done in partnership with our DJJ Board Chairman Carlos Sales and the mission he leads called Reaching the Hungry.
During the missionary trip to Malawi we trained over 100 people in how to utilize our DJJ materials to make disciples. We also trained those leaders in House Church Planting, in partnership with my former ministry, Dynamic Church Planting International.
We installed this water well on our trip to Malawi and I was privileged to make a dedication presentation to the village chief (standing in the white shirt).
The trip to Malawi took about 35 hours of air travel from our home in San Diego. It was exhausting, but well worth it. The people in Malawi are eager to serve Jesus.
Here are the statistical outcomes from this outreach:
We trained over 100 in DJJ and how to use the materials (the first 7 lessons are now in Chichewa).
We trained all of these in “House Church Planting” for 2 days.
We certified 23 Certified Trainers for the House Church Planting materials. (These can now train others in House Church Planting.)
We installed one water well in a village and repaired one in another village. I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel at the dedication and about 50 prayed to receive salvation.
We showed the Jesus Film to a village and perhaps 200 prayed to receive salvation.
We spoke at a fundraising church service to raise funds for a building for a new church plant.
We spoke to about 50 village chiefs to introduce DJJ. We also handed out 10 “Talking Bibles.”
We visited a mission station pioneered by the famous Scottish Missionary David Livingstone.
But beyond these wonderful outcomes, I learned some interesting lessons.
Here are 3 lessons learned (or relearned) on my trip to Malawi:
1. Much of Malawi and the world has no access to electricity, running water and technology.
Living in a developed country in the West I take running water, flushing toilets, electricity, technology, the internet and other conveniences for granted. But most Malawians have never enjoyed such “luxuries.”
As noted above, we installed a water well—this was in a village where until the well, people had to walk some distance to obtain water, and that water might not have been very sanitary.
But running water is so normal to me, if my (hot) water doesn’t come instantly, I think I’m deprived.
Of course, while Malawi is one of the poorest nations of the world, it is not the only country without standard western conveniences. Many people live this way.
My take away: Renewed thanksgiving for the blessings I enjoy at home.
These chefs cooked over open fires!
2. The greatest ministry opportunities are often in the majority world.
One of the great joys of travel to majority world countries is that they are often so open to the message of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such was the case on my trip to Malawi.
People listened eagerly and responded to the Gospel—most wanted to receive Christ and eternal salvation.
At our training, people were eager to learn and receive the certificates of completion we signed and presented. With little formal educational opportunities, it is special for them to receive training and a certificate to show they have been trained.
We westerners are often educated beyond our obedience and often even educated to unbelief. We become jaded and skeptical, stuffed full of knowledge, but lacking in obedience.
My take away: It is truly a joy to share with people who so eagerly receive!
At dusk we showed The Jesus Film. Over 200 people stood or sat on the ground to watch the story of Jesus and afterwards most prayed to profess faith in Jesus!
3. While we are flooded with discipling materials, other languages have very little available.
The language of Malawi is called Chichewa. There is precious little discipleship material available in Chichewa for Malawi and other African nations who speak it.
This is not unusual and is a result of our prosperity and the profit motive. We can go online or to a Christian bookstore and find dozens of discipleship guidebooks in English. But in Chichewa, and many other majority world languages, there is very little if any help available.
So, can you guess where my heart is? It’s in the translation and distribution of our DJJ discipleship journey lessons in many languages. Yes, the journey lessons are available in English first—it’s our mother tongue. But our desire is to provide DJJ lessons in as many languages as possible to reach those who need it so much because they have so little training available.
Praise God that already our lessons are being translated into 5 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Chinese, and Chichewa.
My take away: I want to continue to focus on providing materials for those in nations like Malawi who need it the most!
Over 100 were trained in how to use our Discipleship Journeys with Jesus materials. Afterwards they received Certificates of Completion.
Our ministry trip to Malawi lasted 12 days. After another 35 hours of travel we were back home. Like the Apostle Paul and his missionary journeys, we have laid a foundation that with God’s help and the hard work of the Malawian staff and believers will spring up into immense fruit in Malawi.
Please pray with us for this end.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
4 Great Questions to Ignite Passion for Evangelism in a Lost World
Podcast: Why do we need foreign missionaries?
Quote card: Spurgeon on Being a Missionary
Quote card: He is no fool who gives what he cannot lose…
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