A letter from Rochelle and Tyler Holm serving in Malawi
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In September the University of Livingstonia started a new academic term. One of the returning students is Lasson Kamanga.
Lasson Kamanga is starting his second year studying theology at the University of Livingstonia. He comes from a very large family and a Christian background. His mom and dad married after both losing their first spouses. There are 6 siblings on his dad’s side and 4 on his mom’s from these earlier marriages, then an additional 4 children from their blended family—for a total of 14 siblings.
Lasson is the first in his family to study at University and to go into the ministry. Both his mom and his dad stayed in school up to the eighth grade. His elder sister has followed him now and is studying computer IT in South Africa.
Lasson’s father is a church elder, and Lasson describes himself as a youngster as “active but not very serious.” In his third year of high school he got serious about his faith and was a member and leader in school youth Christian groups. In 2010 he took his end-of-high-school exam and scored 10 points (a very good result). He was interested in going into the ministry, but his exam scores got him a full-ride scholarship to the University of Malawi Polytechnic, a government university, to study architecture. Still he wavered. His family told him, “There is no money in theology; you will die poor.” So he started the architecture program, but he could not deny his call. In 2014 he transferred over to study theology at the University of Livingstonia with the aim of being ordained as a minister.
Asked about particular challenges in his first year at the University of Livingstonia, Lasson says, “Fees instability has affected me emotionally … having to disrupt exams because fees have not been paid makes me wonder if there is no hope of finishing my call.”
When asked, How do you hope God will use you after completing your studies? Lasson said, “…Serve as a minister with hopes to work with my own new generation of young people, relating pop culture of young people, teaching doctrine to the young people who may be in the church but are lukewarm.” In line with this, while some ministerial students isolate themselves from the larger student body, Lasson has planned ways to integrate with other departments’ students. His time at the secular University of Malawi Polytechnic and his desire to work with young people in the wider culture are evident as he builds bridges and friendships with non-theology students at this university.
We see this in Matthew 6:19–34:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
As in this passage, Lasson has chosen to trust his call to the ministry. We pray for all the different ways that God has called different people not just to be a part of this work in Malawi, but in all the different ministries that God is doing through different people. God uses all our different gifts and we pray that we would all respond to our own call.
Evangelism is one of the critical global issues of Presbyterian World Mission. We are very appreciative of your prayers, especially those lifted up that Lasson’s goal of entering the ministry, and other students like him, would be possible. Because of your prayers, they are looking forward to the time that they may serve the church in Malawi.
The University of Livingstonia Ekwendeni campus continues to grow, and a new female dormitory is currently under construction. Everyone is excited for this much needed campus housing.
We are into our dry season now, and our days are getting longer. We know the holidays are just around the corner, but we plan to have a quiet holiday in Mzuzu as a family this year. We are anxious for January rains to come as the Mzuzu city reservoir is dangerously low and we are having water supply problems at our house that are only going to get worse until January.
Thank you for your current financial support for our family through Presbyterian World Mission. We are grateful that financial support for our family has been increasing for the past several years, but our family still has remaining needed support. We would ask that you prayerfully consider increasing your gifts or introducing new people to us who may come alongside His plan and our work in theology, water and sanitation in Malawi.
Happy Holy Days and Happy New Year,
The Holm family
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 156
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