Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mercy of a Policeman

Today I was traveling with a Malawi Assembly of God Divisional Director to a village about an hour drive from Lilongwe.  The highway we were driving on is under construction in a few places.  As we were driving I topped a hill only to see a very slow moving vehicle in front of me.  There was no traffic coming from the other direction so I pulled out and begin to pass the slow moving vehicle.  When I pulled out I saw two policeman standing in the road about a kilometer away, but didn't give them much thought since I was not breaking any laws.

After overtaking the slow moving car I pulled back into my lane.  As we came closer to the two policemen standing in the road I saw one put his hand up and motion me to the side of the road.  There was no radar equipment in sight, so I thought it must be the never-ending check of all the proper registrations that every vehicle in Malawi must have in order to drive on the roads.  The policeman walked up to my window and addressed me as, "Mr. Assembly of God" (the name is painted on the side of our vehicles).  I greeted him in my very best Chichewa.  He then told me that what I had done was illegal, and wanted to know if I understood that what I had done was illegal.  I told him that I didn't know what he was talking about.  He said, "Mister Assembly of God, you have been driving inconsiderately!"  I then asked what he meant by driving inconsiderately.  He said that overtaking the car in a construction zone was against the law, and it was inconsiderate.  I told him that the car was only traveling about 15 kilometers an hour on an open stretch of a major highway.  He said, "Mister Assembly of God, that does not matter, you were driving inconsiderately."  I told him I was very sorry and that I would do my best to become a considerate driver.  He told me that God might just forgive me, and he would as well, if I would drive considerately.  I said, "Thank you Jesus!" (under my breath of course!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Plainview First Assembly of God

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Pastor Lonnie and Rhonda DiSalvo, and the team from First Assembly of God in Plainview, Texas came to Malawi to help build a tabernacle and minister to the young people of Lilongwe.  The tabernacle was in a container that was being held by Malawi customs, and was not released until after the team returned to Texas.

That didn't spoil their trip though!  For twelve days this group ministered morning and afternoon to literally thousands of children in the Lilongwe area.  Each morning and afternoon we would go to a church school, or group of homeless children for ministry.  The group preached, preformed human videos, dramas and skits.  It was incredible!  They even had the opportunity to work with the youth group from ICA Church, teaching them the art of live drama in ministry.

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In some areas there were so many children that it was difficult to even get into the bus when it was time to depart.  This team made a huge difference in the lives of the children here, and the children here made a huge difference in the lives of each team member!


Thank you Pastor Lonnie and the youth group of Plainview First Assembly of God!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Containers Have Arrived!

It was a joyous day this past week when two containers arrived from the USA!  These containers were filled with tabernacles, heavy equipment, welders, a generator, tools, and a New Holland Skid Steer. 

We are building 100 church/extension centers in Malawi.  This is a huge project that will help the national church in many ways.  Each of the extension centers will be a place where men and women can come for pastoral training.  This simply means that a person, who may not be able to attend Bible school, will now be able to receive the training they need where they are.

With over 700 credentialed ministers, and three to four times that many churches in existence, there is a definite need for pastoral training.  Class work is being translated, books are being printed, and now buildings are being built.  We are helping to meet the need in Malawi, Africa!

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What You Miss

Sometimes where you live determines what is available.  This is true with certain food items.  Potato chips are available in Malawi, in some of the strangest flavors.  To name a few: biltong, fried chicken, peri peri, chutney, and tomato.  You can not buy plain corn chips in Malawi. 

When you grow up eating Fritos or Doritos then live in a place where they are not available, well, it is difficult!  It has been 15 months since I have tasted a regular Frito.  There are times that it seems that I can taste them, but I realize it is just my imagination.


All of this changed yesterday when I unloaded a container full of work equipment from the United States.  My friend, Bill Moore, put some Fritos on the container for me.  The next time you eat Fritos I hope you enjoy as much as I did today!

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You just can't imagine how good something is when you haven't had it in 15 months!

The Village and A Video

Yesterday was a very interesting day.  It started early in the morning with the unloading of a container full of work supplies from the USA.  Plenty of equipment to manufacture tabernacles here in Malawi.  The job was complete by 3 PM in the afternoon.  Then the rush began!

Fredna and I were supposed to be at Ukwe village to join with Pastor Jay Naaman and the congregation of Ukwe Assembly of God church to show the Jesus Film.  The Jesus Film is a full-length feature production of the life of Jesus Christ.  It has been translated into many languages and is used all over the world in evangelistic efforts.  We needed to leave the house no later than 4:30 PM in order to arrive in time to set up the equipment before dark.  Yes, before dark!  Remember, we live in Malawi, Africa where there are few places that you can go into a building with lights and seating for a movie.

Actually, we showed the film on a football (soccer) field.  In the village a football field is just a place that kids have cleared off to play soccer.  We hung the screen from the goal post made out of three tree limbs.  By the time we began there were about 250 people seated and standing, anticipating a film!  By the time it was finished, there were about 400 people gathered.

While the film was playing, I stood where I could see most of the people that had gathered.  I began thanking God for the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ in this extremely remote area.  Then I began thinking about all the equipment that God has blessed us with that enables us to share the Gospel of Christ.  I feel that I must say, "Thank you!" to many people.

  1. The children of Assembly of God churches all across America that raise money to buy literature for distribution to people who live in villages around the world.
  2. The youth of Assembly of God churches all across America who raise millions of dollars to buy transportation for each missionary.  That may be a car, a boat, a motorcycle, a donkey, etc.  For us it is a 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser.  We would never be able to reach most of the villages in Malawi without it!
  3. The youth also raise money to supply the missionaries with sound equipment, video equipment, and many other items of ministry.
  4. The men of Assemblies of God churches all across America that raise money to buy Bibles for missionaries to use and evangelistic literature for distribution.
  5. The women of Assemblies of God churches all across America that raise money to be used in a thousand different ways to help the missionary on the ground in far away places.  When I take a bath, I dry off with a towel furnished by WM's (Women's Ministries).  We sleep on sheets and cover with blankets furnished by the WM's.  We cook on a stove furnished by the WM's.  Surely you get the picture by now.

We may be the "point" men on the ground, but logistically, we have a whole army behind us - sending us!  I didn't mention the most important part of this army standing with us.  That is that they are praying for us every day.  Praying for our safety, praying for our evangelistic efforts, praying for the souls that will be touched by our ministry. 

I am proud to be an Assembly of God missionary showing a video in a village in Africa!