One of the marks of a Confessional Reformed church is its understanding that we are one body. That doesn’t mean one physical church or one denomination, but rather one catholic and apostolic church which transcends denominations, states, country borders and even time. We are one because as true believers we are members of the invisible church. We possess the same faith in Christ and we all have a great salvation that is ours in Him as a result. I am reminded of this core truth as I reflect on the past year at MRN.
The past year for MRN
2019 was a great year for the Malawi Reformation Network. At the beginning of 2019 the Malawi Reformation Network was barely a website. We had a few members on our board, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS here in the U.S. And a bank account.
We also had a vision.
Even as we long to see our own churches full here in the U.S., we have grown in our desire for the same for Confex’s country. Sadly, it has been largely due to the exporting of prosperity theology from our country to Malawi in the 20th century that has so severely affected the church there as it has here.
And so, our vision is clear. We want to see a faithful, confessional, reformed church in every city, town and village in Malawi; each with a pulpit that is full of robust reformed biblical truth and saturated with gospel grace.
We have so much work still to do, but today we wanted to let you know what has happened in 2019. We have much to be thankful for.
Today we have eight committed Godly men on our board of directors. We were able to meet monthly for most of the past year and I know I can speak for the rest of the men when I say that we have grown in our love for the Lord this past year, our love for Malawi and not least, brotherly affection for one another. These are men with whom I am honored to work and look forward to each meeting.
The most important thing we do when we meet each month is to pray. We also split our board up into committees for the purpose of doing business more efficiently.
Confex and Mwai and the girls arrived safely in Blantyre in the summer after a month long training in Belgium. They had to wait nearly two months for the container of their belongings, but it did arrive. Their home has also been repaired and is now meeting their family’s needs well.
After a month of settling their family in a new city and a home they are renting in Blantyre, Confex and Mwai started a bible study with families in Blantyre who are interested in becoming a new church in Blantyre. We are grateful today for over 30 adults with 5 children interested in this work. 12-15 regularly attend.
The past year has been very informative for us as we develop our process. As different as each person is, our process needs to be flexible. One man might need more time gaining English language fluency. Another may desire to understand Reformed theology better before committing to seminary. It seems good to us to have an internship program in Malawi for men to learn and work, together with Confex, for a year or two before recommending men to the U.S. internship. While we had hoped to have had men here this past fall, we are very glad to be supporting these four men and the church plants in Malawi as the best next step.
Confex has been able to join many pastors in Malawi who have been faithful in working for revival and are supportive of his church plant. We are grateful for the many excellent men and their churches that desire that the church in Malawi return to biblical truth. Confex and MRN is by no means be the only good work happening in Malawi. We have been encouraged and are excited to meet and join the others.
The foundation was laid this fall for a pastor’s conference. Nearly 40 pastors attended the day long event in the capital city of Lilongwe in October. Each of the attendees received a Reformation Study Bible which were generously donated by Ligonier. What might be the effect of 40 pastors in Malawi receiving this amazing resource?! As I write this I’m staring at four more boxes of study bible’s to be sent to Malawi. Thank you Ligonier!!
Our website search results and unique visits are doing better than expected for a new website. The exciting thing about this is that we have a large regular following of people who come to the site, and spend some time on it. My prayer is that the regular reading will translate into regular praying.
Thank you! Thank you for your interest in MRN. Thank you for loving your brothers and sisters in Malawi. Thank you to so many who have given their money to this brand new work. Thank you for your prayers for Confex, Mwai, the girls and the interns and the work in the church plants.
Pray for what’s ahead in 2020
Here is what we see coming in 2020, Lord willing. Please pray with us for the following:
~ Please pray for continued interest in the new churches, for men and women to be hungry for the truth of God’s word and for commitment to join the new work.
~ We are planning a board retreat in Michigan in the fall. Pray that this can come together and for an excellent time of planning, visioning and fellowship.
~ Four or five of us hope to visit Malawi in March 2020. There are many logistic and financial aspects to this. The purpose: to encourage Confex, Mwai, their girls and the interns. We are praying for the Lord’s blessing on our plans. We also hope to come home with a ton of pictures to show you all.
~ We hope to have our first intern(s) in Michigan this coming summer. Pray for English skills and seminary applications to be favorable for the right men.
~ Please continue to pray for the health of Eva and Eliana, Confex’s daughters. So far they have not gotten malaria, we pray that when that happens it will be a soft strain and that they would build up resistance of their own. The girls are adjusting well and enjoying school.
~ Last raining season was heavier than normal and the drought now as well is more severe. As a result, the cost of food has gone way up. We are able to help our interns with this unforeseen hardship, please pray for our brothers and sisters in Malawi as they navigate this difficult time.
It’s encouraging to know that the best progress toward our goals would be growth and movement of the unstoppable Invisible Church. This truth gives us hope because we know that even though we are separated in so many physical and visible ways, we are one in Christ and we are held together by the Holy Spirit of God. Lets pray that we in the U.S. will remain united by His Word to the invisible church in Malawi and that we will grow in the knowledge of God together. May He increase our love for all the saints.
Chairman of the Board