Hungry & Thirsty

The farther people are away from access to the Bible, the greater their longing for it. Malawi ranks high in their appreciation of training in God’s Word. It is one of the 5 poorest countries in the world where 80% of their population has not finished 8th grade. They are an oral culture and they learn quickly through oral stories and discussion. Here are some of the quotes that the students shared after their three-day introduction to oral training.

  • “We have learned how to teach the people and we will take this back to our prayer houses to teach them.”
  • “It will help me to teach those who are not well educated. This teaching can catch the pictures of scripture. They will not forget what they learn.”
  • “The Bible will now be in my heart. I will be able to teach others how to take the Bible in to their hearts as well.”
  • “We are seeing and hearing and now we will also preach.”
  • “These lessons will be able to change people’s lives.”

August was Orality Institute’s first time to reach Malawi with oral training. There were 37 students in the three days of class. The next step is to help them startup their own ongoing training. Their leader, Moses, wants to translate the curriculum into Chichewa which would help them move in that direction. The challenge is, “How can we get them to learn on their own?”

Partners in Malawi

The August trip to Malawi was in partnership with Training Leaders International. They were invited to train pastors from Christ Footprints in Africa and Pam Nersesian from Emmaus Lutheran Church. Pam also invited Orality Institute to train leaders in Malawi and the two trainings were intended to happen at the same time. However, the August trip demonstrated that the oral training would be an effective method for engaging the pastors and leaders with the Bible. The October trip will introduce two new groups to the training with the hope that these three groups could begin learning the stories of God’s Word together.

This trip will include training for 35 prison chaplains and 35 pastors who are connected to Pastor Moses and the Word of Grace Churches. There are many separate groups that want to be trained and the challenge is getting all of these ministries and pastors to a place where they can support one another as they learn from God’s Word together. The first step is getting the curriculum translated into the Chichewa language. Moses has committed himself to do that. The second step is getting the students to meet weekly in study groups. The third step is making sure that there is a leader that is encouraging them and keeping them accountable to training. The two natural leaders are Moses for the pastors, pictured on the left, and Rodrick for the prison chaplains on the right. These men are already busy, but they have the relationships and the respect to oversee the training. Pray that the training in Malawi could become self-sufficient.