A letter from Kay Day in Malawi
Visitor season is in full swing now. At present I have two groups in the country and two more coming this weekend. It is an exciting time. Having guests and having the opportunity to share with them the life here is a great blessing for all of us. Malawians always say that guests are a blessing from God.
That was certainly the case with the group from Wilmington, N.C., that just left. They brought blessings to many people, but none more so than to 10 pastors in remote areas of the Synod. The leader of the group was the pastor of St. Andrews-Covenant congregation, Rev. Steve Hein. He graciously offered to provide a ministers’ forum for about 45 pastors. I was privileged to arrange and facilitate this forum. We gathered pastors from Zomba City Presbytery and from Zomba Theological College (ZTC), since that is where our good friend Silas Ncozana, host to Steve and his party, is a pastor and principal of ZTC, and then my 10 pastors from the remote areas. These are young men and women who have been in the ministry only a few years and have little access to resources for educational enrichment, so this forum was a great treat for them.
Rev. Damalekani is typical of these pastors. He serves four congregations and seven prayer houses in a 50-kilometer radius. Just to get to the conference he rode his pedal bike over an hour from his home to the main market area. He chained his bike at the shop of a friend and boarded a minibus for an hour-and-a-half ride on dirt roads, through sugarcane fields, to the tarmac road at Chikhwawa. There he boarded another minibus to Blantyre and then shifted to two more buses until he got to the Naming’azi turnoff near Zomba, where he dropped from the bus and hiked two miles up the dirt road to the retreat site. The trip took him five hours. Once there he met up with friends in ministry, some of whom he had not seen since they were ordained three years ago since they all are serving in remote areas in different regions in the Synod. The fellowship and the teaching were great boosts to these young pastors who are working faithfully in situations pastors in the States never experience. We provided teaching on integrity in ministry, Bible studies on the Lord’s Prayer, and discussions on church administration issues. These were all helpful, but the time with other ministers, the time to compare struggles and encourage one another, the times of prayer together were the great rejuvenators to spirit and ministry. As a veteran pastor, Steve knew this and he gave a great blessing to these young colleagues in ministry. What a blessing he was to all who attended.
These are the sorts of things that come as gifts and we can’t put a price tag on them. Steve has given strengthening and encouragement to all who attended. When I am blessed to be an instrument to convey these gifts, I know that they come, not from me, but from others around the world God has blessed to be a blessing for those here in Malawi. Thank you to all of you who join us in ministry here is so many ways—in prayer, in gifts, in visits, in encouragement. You are blessings.
Yours in Christ’s service,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 67