We have just concluded our 5th conference in Malawi. One Bishop and his son, with no formal training, have planted over 700 churches in Malawi and Mozambique.
The only training, materials or Bibles they have are what we have provided for them. We had a total of 771 pastors and wives who attended the conference. We also had a team from Hawaii, led by pastor and medical doctor Kirk Milhoan, and his wife Kim, who along with members from their church ministered to the nearly 300 orphans who were present.
Our team from SSI, ministering to the pastors and wives, consisted of Dr. Mike and Belinda McCarthy, Connie and myself. Mike and Belinda have made an eternal investment in the lives of the people there through their mentoring and discipleship on how to study and teach the Bible. The images of over 1,000 people eating out in
the open, near the outdoor make-shift kitchens, will be forever with us.
I want to share two letters. The first comes from Pastor Enock, the Bishop’s son, who has been the organizer of all five conferences.
“Dear Pastor Steve, Connie and SSI team,
Since you first came to us in 2008, we have been equipped a lot in those 5 conferences we have held. We have strong families and marriages. Most of the local Pastors now they know their Bibles and the books of the Bible.
Before 2008, most of the bush Pastors didn’t have Bible. Some used tracts to have a sermon. After receiving the notes at the fist conference, some of the Pastors used these to feed their church. When SSI helped provide Bibles to pastors in their native language, it was a great moment for each one who received one that day. When I visit them in their villages they didn’t forget the precious gift that was given to them. Because of SSI, some of bush churches now have two Bibles. One for a Pastor and the other one for the Church to use. The Bible study on spiritual warfare that we learned at this Conference and the gifts of those Bibles will mean a lot in our Churches and the community.
Now families are stronger. Most of the culture we have in Malawi and Mozambique doesn’t take into consideration women. Because of the Conferences, the Pastors (Men) that have been coming have opened their eyes with the truth. They have taken this truth to the villages and there is a big change in most of the communities, as these Pastors set a good example by taking care of their spouses and how they live as a Christian family.
Most of the Conferences themes and teaching have meet a need of people of Malawi and Mozambique. We have seen God speaking to us in each Conference and God has changed my life and most of the Pastors and wives who have come. Whenever I travel in the Evangelism programs, I take all my messages from the 5 Conferences. I never forget the words that Pastor Steve taught me when we suffered from the tragedy of floods when so many people lost their food, clothes, homes, household, livestock and even their Bibles. Pastor Steve said, and I quote, “Keep pressing on and fighting the good fight no matter how difficult the journey may be. Life is short and eternity is forever.” These words have been my motto!
The conferences have changed my life and my spiritual life is not the same. I have reached another level and we are so thankful that we have all of the conference notes. These have been great help in our families, Churches and Community.” Be blessed, Enock
This second letter comes from Bishop Dimba.
“Greetings to you in the name, of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who made us into oneness in his Ministry!
1. The Conferences I want to thank you for your coming to Malawi and teaching the bush Pastors and with their wives. Many were very amazed to learn and find out that marriages are not like being slaves. Most had never heard that marriage is a commitment of love to be enjoyed both husband and wife. The reports I’m hearing now tell me that many women have started being cared for and men are helping them more with the burden of work.
2. Bibles This is a great gift you have been sharing with the brethren. Although we had a flood in some parts almost all those who were affected have been able to have their Bibles replaced. Now the Church has started moving on with their Sunday services by using actual scriptures again. Thank you for that.
3. Class Rooms Rebuilt We were helped by you, to restore the building structures and roofing that were ruined. This should be done by the end of August.
4. Boys Dormitory and Good Toilets I praise the Lord that He has given us the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4). For many years, I really wanted the completion of the building, and you made it possible through the will of the Lord. I say thank you very much.
It is my prayer that you must come one more time to us. You are a such blessing indeed. May the Lord should continue to bless you so much!
In Christ Jesus, your fellow brother in the commission “GO YE”, Bishop Dimba M. Dimba
Testimonies of the Pastors after the Conference
“This Year’s Conference and the other conferences you have been coming and teaching us have changed my life style and even my spiritual life has grown. Now I am like a man who has built his house on the rock and I promise to teach others who didn’t have opportunity of hearing this teaching. May the Lord bless you.” Pastor Ernesto Paulo. Kholomana Village (Mozambique)
“I have been blessed and benefited from the Conference, especially because of the lessons. My life is not the same as it was before. I have been transformed because of how these men and women of God have spoken to my hear
t and from what I have learned my church will not be the same. These lessons were powerful, wonderful and amazing. Five days at the conference to me was like a day.” Pastor Keyason Manjoro. Chirimba, Blantyre Malawi
“Thank you very much for your coming. This Conference has changed my life as I have learned how can I put on the whole armor of God and the meaning of each armor to our Christian life. All the teaching has changed my walking in Christ.” Pastor Watson Malibwana
“Thank you very much for the teaching of how we can minister here in Malawi. The teaching has opened my eyes and now I can see what is bad and good. You have helped me a lot in the teaching about marriage and this will build my marriage and also the members of my church.” Mrs. Hilda Isaac
“I just want to thank you very much for the great teaching which will lead us to heaven. This has changed my life and I am a changed man. I am going homechanged. Thank you very much for your coming.” Pastor Wayson Namphuta
“The 2013 conference taught us how can we take care for each other as husband and wives. This we have been doing and it has brought a big change in our families. This year with Love and Respect, we will teach to the members of our churches and the community we are living. Thank you very much for your coming. Our families will keep on improving.” Pastor Laston Alfred Masayi
Again, none of this would be possible without the giving and praying of you supporters. We thank you from the very depths of our hearts. We are making final preparations for our last conference this year which will be in Chang Mai, Thailand, at the end of September. Instead of pastors coming from the bush they will be coming from the mountain villages, around 200 of them. We like to reach out to those who are by and large over looked and forgotten.
May God continue to supply every need that you have.
Pastor Steve, for the SSI Team and Board