After being in South Africa for four months, we returned to Malawi on the 6th of January 2021. It has already been a significant time of building and impartation, with new volunteers and a strong team serving alongside us. Below is a brief update of what God has been doing in and through us.
Lead Elders Connect
In January, nine key leaders from all over Malawi gathered at The Base for three days to discuss Andrew Selley’s teaching on “Building a habitation for the presence of God”. There were some powerful prayer and worship times and heated discussion regarding the tearing down of religious traditions that are not in the Bible. One leader said he had disbanded all his committees and titles in 50 congregations in December 2020, following the teaching on elders and deacons in July 2020. We thank God for these significant changes.
Southern Leadership Training Times
In February, the team spent 15 days training 210 leaders in the Southern region of Malawi. With COVID regulations, our numbers were limited to 50 leaders in four groups. This made for closer engagement with the leaders in cooking hot conditions. (We hit 53 degrees one day!)
Jombo, Nchalo – New Hope Bible Churches
People were eager to learn and hungry for the truth of God. Even the kids arrived every day for puppet shows, stories and songs, hanging on every word spoken. After a few sessions on worship and the New Testament church, we realised that only about three of the 60 leaders had a Bible. What a delight it was to give each couple a New Testament study Bible! We were assisted by Olive Kabanga and Andrew Kapalula Junior, who translated and led worship. Andrew also taught the leaders how to read the Chichewa Bible.
Ngabu – Spirit Impact Churches
Lance and Charles preached to three congregations at Bodwa, 30 km from Ngabu, under a tree. Almost everyone responded to the Gospel. Jesus also broke through and set a girl free from a yellow demon: a young girl with bright yellow eyes, who had been in hospital for six months, with no diagnosis forthcoming, vomited until she was completely well. In the town, the leaders have more access to technology and process the teaching in more depth. The team visited in homes, prayed for the sick and did more one-on-one ministry.
There was an easy fellowship among the people. The women all made a commitment to Jesus at a ladies meeting, fully understanding salvation for the first time. There was a clear word about elders and wives leading in team, and teaching that financial needs can be met as believers live according to Acts 2:45. As Lance shared on the role of elders and Sue on deacons, leaders were challenged to get their families in order (polygamy is an issue in this area) and to be led by the Holy Spirit.
East Bank (Chikwawa) – New Hope Bible Churches
It was incredibly exciting when an entire group of leaders all got truly born again and began to hear God speak to them! It was here that my heart broke for the leaders who don’t have Bibles, with only one Bible among all the leaders. Just to give you an idea of how poor they are, out of 50 people (9 pastors and their leadership teams), only one pastor owned a basic cell phone and a Bible. We were able to leave 40 Bibles for the group, and the rejoicing was overwhelming!
Zomba – Spirit Impact Churches
This was our first visit to this group of Spirit-Impact churches: the first time they have ever had a ‘white person’ stay in their village. To our surprise, six chiefs from the village, including a Muslim, attended all our teachings. The first outdoor meeting was cut short by a deluge, but Lance managed to finish preaching on repentance and faith for salvation: the whole group, including the Muslim chief, responded to the Gospel. We will never forget his earnest face as he held his foundation manual so close to his face, we thought he might eat it! (He has cataracts on his eyes).
They were so hungry for the Word that they read their manuals and discussed the material between sessions. One day, the late session was a teaching on prayer, followed by practical application: each church leadership team had to hear God for what to pray, and then pray in unity, listening to each other. They honestly did not know what to say! Three men came before breakfast to share how amazed they were that they had prayed in unity as a leadership for the first time.
Northern Leadership Training Times
During March, we visited three churches in the Northern region: Dwangwa, Kande and Mzuzu.
Mzuzu – Royal Diadem Community
Royal Diadem is looking into partnering with Four12. We spent the weekend with Maxwell and Grace Chembezi, visited their group of believers meeting on a farm, and really got to know them well.
Dwangwa – Joshua Generation Church
This was a highlight of the Northern trip, with a concentrated weekend with the whole church. Edson asked us to talk about the church and leadership and address religious things people bring in from other churches. The teaching centred around the purpose of the church, apostles, leadership and what elders do. Wayne and Lynette also taught on what deacons do. Furthermore, we also taught them how to hold a worship practice. Here we discovered that Edson and Fatima do not speak in tongues and do not have boldness for the lost. We prayed for them, and they both received the Holy Spirit.
Saturday afternoon, we had a Men’s Meeting, and at a Ladies Meeting, three ladies were saved. There was also children’s ministry where the children were taught about friendship with God and the love of the Father. The Holy Spirit broke out, and many tangibly received God’s love, weeping and remaining still before Jesus. The meeting lasted two hours, and none of the kids wanted to go home!
Sunday morning church saw three more salvations, several deliverances and many of the people experiencing the cleansing, loving power of the Holy Spirit as they responded to a prophetic word about going right under the waterfall of the Presence of God. We believe the team truly modelled worship, the prophetic and the priesthood of all believers giving the church great forward momentum.
Plans Until July 2021
A steady stream of visitors and volunteers from partnering churches will be coming up to The Base for between two weeks and three months at a time. In early March, our team grew when Rachel Cader joined us, and we have since been joined by Wayne, Lynette and Samuel Dodd, who are with us for two months.
Four key churches have been engaging with us about partnering with Four12. These are all city churches. We look forward to seeing where God leads with these churches as we spend time with them in the upcoming months.
In April and May, we will host the Leadership School for elders and deacons for two weeks at a time and have scheduled to run the Church Planting course in June, and a Leadership Equip time accompanied by outreach teams during the course of July. We are also planning a Four12 Youth Weekend for the end of July. Watch this space for details for another training trip in the South and training at The Base in the second half of the year.
A Closing Word From Lance
As I have been praying about the need for healthy base churches in each city, God began speaking to me about Paul reaching the Gentiles, Peter reaching the Jewish people and Jesus saying that He has other sheep who the Jews did not know. Most don’t know that Malawi has different classes of people, some of whom hardly mix. I felt Him say that Four12 would begin to touch and influence diverse groups of people and churches to those we currently partner with. It has been exciting to see Him open new doors in the three major cities. Please keep us in your prayers as each victory has its battles.
I have to add that we could not be as effective without the regular flow of young volunteers and friends from partnering churches in SA. We would love to see some from the other countries come across soon!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lance and Sue McIntosh are the parents of two, now adult, children, as well as doting grandparents. They have a deep passion for Africa, faithfully working into Malawi and investing their time into pastors and churches on the ground there. They also love working with the youth and sharing the gospel wherever they go.