On our fourth day in the mission field of Malawi, we were introduced to the Nkhoma Youth Department - led by the incomparable Rev. Richard Kapanda (seen here sporting a Florida Gators ball cap).
Nkhoma Youth Department is a ministry of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), the largest denomination in Malawi. An interesting side note about this - there are more Presbyterians attending church in Malawi than there are in the United States. Why is that interesting, you ask? The population in the United States is more than 320 million, compared to only 15 million in Malawi. Wow.
Nkhoma Youth Department runs 24 youth clubs in the region, serving nearly 1,500 youth. With a focus on evangelism and discipleship, they also provide training on decision-making and life skills, entrepreneurship, mentoring, and career guidance. Their ministry provides sex education in an effort to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies and HIV/AIDS among Malawi's teenagers.
This was the scene when we arrived at the youth gathering in which we were privileged to participate.
The gathering began with youth leading worship in song.
This was followed by a drama depicting a pastor preaching to a local villager. This shot is one of my favorites from the trip.
At the conclusion of this drama, I preached a message using Ephesians 2:8-10 (CEB):
8 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. 9 It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
At first, I wasn't sure what I would share with the youth of Nkhoma, in spite of having preached before American youth plenty of times. However, listening to Richard share with me about the things with which his youth struggle, I learned that youth in Malawi aren't very different from our youth at all. As I preached this word, Richard became more and more excited with his translating, at one point indicating to me that I was preaching precisely what the youth needed to hear. Thanks be to God for the leading of His Spirit.
Later in the afternoon, as happened every day of the trip, I was drawn to this young man who was quietly watching the gathering from, quite literally, the sidelines. He is leaning against a makeshift soccer goal.
In the late afternoon, we visited the market in Nkhoma.
Up next, more time with FTS and praying at Nkhoma Hospital.
Mulungu akhale nanu (God be with you),
PS - If you are interested in sponsoring a child through WorldVision after reading about what God is doing in Malawi, please let me know. They have provided me with sponsorship forms for children in Nkhoma/Chilenje. Y-Malawi church partners may sponsor more than 5,000 children already, but there are still more than 4,000 on a waiting list. Who knows? Maybe you'll sponsor a child and we'll travel to Malawi together next year to meet him or her! Pray about it.