“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Ephesians 3:20-21
This trip to Malawi would have been very successful if we had trained 25 people in each of the four ministries of the Prison Fellowship Chaplains, Bread of Life churches, Word of Grace churches, and Iris Africa Bible School. However, the Lord doesn’t do things by our expectations very often.
Instead of 100, we had 152 students, instead of 4 ministries, there were six. The three Ugandans communicated in an African style. Michael Rokenbrodt brought the drama and the animation alive. The 150 printed books in Chechewa gave them a tool that they can use to begin classes. The six ministry boards become the structure that they need to oversee the students, the teachers, and the grades. The new Orality Institute Board of Malawi will be the unifying piece that will connect these various ministries. That is exceedingly abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine.
Tamrat Tadele, from the Ethiopian Mekane Yesus church body was able to attend at the last minute. He wanted to see if this would be useful for his seminary and Bible School in Hawasa, Ethiopia. He said, “Now I realize that you can’t understand it until you see it. He has already extended an invitation to Michael, and two of the Ugandan teachers to train their 100 students as well as introduce the training to the nine districts of the Lutheran churches in southern Ethiopia. That is exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine.
Evidence of Grace
“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:21-23
What does grace look like? Barnabas saw it when he reached Antioch, and we saw it when we reached Malawi. We saw a deep hunger for the Word of God, an excitement for memorizing it, and creativity with how they might share it.
One week after the training, Brian Kondowe, the head of the prison chaplains in Malawi, told me that he had already started a class in his church and had started teaching his family following the same method we use in class. Chris from the Bread of Life churches found a new love for the Psalms because of the lesson on “God the Father” from Psalm 103. Jaz from the Iris Africa Bible College goes out every weekend leading evangelism events. He started using this oral teaching method the day after the training was finished. Isaac leads a youth ministry. He was unable to attend the training but he wanted to learn how he could use this method, so he asked Sam to teach him. Sam leads a kids club on Thursday afternoons with between 700-800 children from his village.
The grace of God is seen when 75 rural pastors come for training Tuesday through Friday, then ask if our team would teach on Saturday also. Then they attended a four-hour worship service on Sunday and waited for another seminar on Tuesday, every night they were sleeping on a cement floor. God’s grace is seen when he allows us, simple people, the privilege of being a part of this great work He is doing in the lives of these His people.