Our dear praying and supporting friends,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to pray for my family and the ministry here in Blantyre. I hope that you will find this update encouraging, that you will be given a better sense of our affairs, and indeed that you will even see in it answers to your prayers on our behalf. We are rejoicing in the work the Lord is doing here in Malawi!
The Lord is sustaining us, and we are thankful. My wife Rachel and our daughter Amelie are both well. Amelie is about six months old now. She is very energetic and has a very curious mind. People often comment about how extremely aware she is of her surroundings. In our family worship, the Lord has been encouraging us as a family through the book of Acts.
I have been preaching through the book of Galatians at Antioch Baptist Church for the last two months. We are now in chapter 3. We want to grow in our understanding of the Gospel as a church. We want to live lives that are continually being sanctified by the Gospel. My applications of the clarification and the defense of the Gospel in Galatians has been not so much against the prosperity theology of our world (though that is included too), but more against the prosperity gospels of our own hearts. We are trusting the Lord to sanctify His church through these messages against the many promises of the world with which God’s people are tempted on a daily basis.
There have been surprising and encouraging developments in our ministry in the last few months. At the beginning of the year, several of our members moved away to Lilongwe (the capital city) and to other parts of Malawi, some for work and some as students who had graduated and were returning home. During this time, our numbers dwindled to thirty-five people at most. After this, however, we slowly started to grow again; and now, as of the last four months, our numbers have increased to sixty or seventy on most Sundays. As you can imagine, none of us expected our numbers to double within such a short space of time! We are excited and thankful for answered prayers. We want to see more and more coming to faith in Christ and others being reformed by His Word. For those in ministry, you can understand what all of this means in terms of work. Please consider praying for us; we are in need of more elders to serve with me, as I am currently the only elder.
We began this year by planning and organizing ourselves so that we might better reach out to the city of Blantyre in our various locations. According to data collected by the Malawian government statistical office in 2012, Blantyre has a population of about 1.8 million people. Our church has people coming from many different areas of this large city, and it therefore makes sense that we send out small groups to preach the Gospel within their respective neighborhoods. You might call these, “preaching points.” We are calling them, “evangelistic home Bible studies.” Each small group is focusing their energies within a neighborhood or a university campus.
These evangelistic home (and campus) Bible studies commenced only a few weeks ago. Most of them are well attended by the neighbors of our church members. During these meetings, the Gospel is preached, and those attending are given free Gospel booklets from Chapel Library in both English and our local language, Chichewa. There are eight groups in total, and all of them are going through Derek Prime’s book, Bible Answers to Questions on the Christian Faith and Life. Through our friends at Chapel Library in Florida and a couple of churches in the U.S., we managed to secure a contract with Christian Focus to translate this book into Chichewa, for those who do not speak or read English. Please pray for this translation project, which begins soon. We are all encouraged, and we continue to say, “one soul at a time.”
- Pray that my family and I will remain faithful to the Lord in the midst of serving Him. We are seeking to grow both in knowledge and love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Pray for our evangelistic home and campus Bible studies; we believe this is the right time for our church to engage the city with the Gospel in this way.
- A growing church comes with its own challenges and greater responsibilities. Pray that I would preach faithfully and disciple consistently through preaching, visitations, and hospitality.
- I have been doing much preaching within the city (outside of ABC), and the Lord is using it in many ways, either for the salvation of souls or introducing people to our ministry. Pray that the Lord would bless these endeavors.
Grace to you all,
Mala, Pastor – Antioch Baptist Church