Day seven was a Saturday and we began the day by hiking up Nkhoma Mountain.
|Near the beginning of our hike.|
|This was taken at a location not far from the peak. Left to right - Will Berger, Ted Grueser, Jason Lopez, and me.|
|Will and a dog that belongs to one of the doctors at Nkhoma Hospital. He joined the hike at its very beginning and led our group all the way to the top.|
|Being quite afraid of heights (and not in the best of shape either), this is where I stopped. It is approximately 5,000 feet above sea level. If you look toward the center of the picture, you can see one of the main roads that run through Nkhoma.|
|The members of our group that did make it to the peak.|
|An amazing photograph! Our fearless Missions Director, Ted, standing atop a monument at the peak. There is no way I could have posed for such a shot!|
After our incredible morning hike, we boarded the bus and traveled to meet another Y-Malawi ministry partner - the Chiefs Ministry.
One of the things that I will always treasure, is the way we were often greeted upon arrival into the villages.
See what I mean?
The Chiefs Ministry focuses on evangelizing and discipling the chiefs and other tribal leaders of each village. These are the most influential members of a community, so if they can be reached for God's Kingdom, then others will surely follow their lead. In 2005, there were only five Chiefs Bible Studies in Nkhoma/ Chilenje. Today, due to their partnership with Y-Malawi, there are 21. More than 3,000 chiefs have been reached with the gospel and hearts and lives are being changed every day.
|The Chiefs and tribal leaders seated together, with the children to their right and their wives to their left.|
On this particular day, we were given the opportunity to witness the chiefs, their wives, and their children participate in a Bible study on Genesis 1:26-30.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
As I heard the passage read aloud, I thought to myself that their understanding would likely be very different from ours because of their patriarchal, tribal culture. I was wrong. Their was something quite beautiful about their conversation and it showed the depth of their discipleship.
At one point, one of the chiefs stood to speak and shared with the group what he heard in the passage - that God created us, male and female, not so that one would be superior to the other but so that we can be partners. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that his response was very popular among the women!
I also appreciated hearing the leader share with the group the need for them to be good stewards over their land, that over harvesting has caused a lot of damage.
Imagine that! In Malawi, where Bibles are a luxury most cannot afford, amazing discipleship is happening and people are growing in their faith. It was a heartwarming experience to witness their holy conversation.
|My step-mom, Jeannine, holding a precious baby during the Bible study.|
|Another photograph of a child on the sidelines.|
|My last photograph of the day, shot from the bus, of a family sitting outside a typical village home in Nkhoma.|
Up next, another Sunday worship experience and more time with Nkhoma Youth Department and the Chiefs Ministry.
Mulungu akhale nanu (God be with you),
PS - A couple weeks ago, we had three amazing worship services where we were joined by John and Lori Gash from Y-Malawi for a reunion of the Florida team and together we lifted up the work God is doing in Nkhoma/Chilenje. Here's the best part - 150 additional children were sponsored through World Vision that very morning! Thanks be to God! If God has been piercing your heart for the people in Malawi and you are also interested in sponsoring a child, please let me know. I have a few forms left for children in Nkhoma/Chilenje. There are still more than 4,000 children on a waiting list so every sponsorship matters. Pray about it!