After recently reading the seventeenth chapter from the Gospel of John, the following verses have been on my mind as I pray for the work in Malawi.
John 17:18-23, … As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
As the weightiness of this specific prayer has replayed itself through my mind, I acknowledge to myself and to you how valuable for us to know that Jesus Christ places each of us in such a place and time that we in His church can work together in unity to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. “That we are entrusted with the Glory of Christ so that we are fully able to present Him to all the earth in unity.” That we should be in lockstep, arm-in-arm, and in the unity of His love, not by self-empowered love but in the bond of Christ’s love with our brothers and sisters in Malawi.
The end of 2019 is fast approaching and we ready ourselves for a new year with great hopes of proclaiming the Glory of Jesus Christ to many new people. Scripture compels us to submit our gifts, abilities, and talents and work toward growing His Church.
Last year about this time, I was asked to consider being part of a multiple denominational effort for a new mission in Malawi, Africa. As I learned more about the objective to reach across denominations that have similar reformed biblical standards to develop and equip men called to minister in Malawi, I was intrigued and glad to become a co-laborer with this mission called Malawi Reformation Network. It has been almost a year, and my interaction with brothers that began this work has blessed me, challenged me and grown my heart for this multiple denominational work in Africa. Through a beginning commitment from Confex and University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI (PCA), MRN is now joined and supported through leaders from multiple reformed denominations. To date, we have been joined by leaders and churches from the PCA, OPC, ARPC RCA, and CRC reformed denominations. Our support is growing, and churches from across the United States and Canada are committing to give support to this ministry.
This year Confex Makhalira finished his Seminary work in the spring, completed his ordination, and has returned to Malawi with his wife, Mwai, and two daughters to begin work on the calling from God to plant Biblically true Reformed churches in Malawi. After his initial return, the church planting effort has gotten off to a good start with a large Bible study group worshiping together, initiating a conference with pastors and students, as well as helping to lead the “All Africa Presbyterian Conference” with Ligon Duncan in Cape Town, South Africa.
A lot has happened this year, and it can be daunting if what we attempt is self-motivated rather than a God-centered ministry. We are thankful for the support from the different denominational laborers. God willing we have a hope and plan to bring two additional men from Malawi to begin their seminary education in the fall of 2020. We ask you to pray for MRN, and as God leads, please consider joining this work. First, your prayers for Confex and Mwai Makhalira, and secondly, for the two men who are preparing to come to the United States for their Reformed Seminary education. Lastly, it is exciting to work together with my brothers from the different denominations as we jointly seek to include you that we live as Jesus prayed:
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “ I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”