Ministry Update: Reformation Bible Church (Lilongwe, Malawi) (June 2017)

Dear friend,

We are thankful for you and all you do to pray and encourage us as we serve King Jesus in Lilongwe, Malawi. Below are the recent happenings. I hope these will encourage you to continue spurring us on with the work in Malawi:

Reformation Bible Church

Reformation Bible Church (RBC) is growing. We are very thankful and encouraged by how the good Lord is building his church at RBC. We congregated as a church with sixteen people at the end of 2015. Last year we added five more—and last Sunday we added ten people to our membership. While many church plants struggle in their first years, the good Lord has hugely surprised us with slow but consistent growth—all of his grace.

What is even more exciting is that three men of the ten added have already taught and demonstrated a teaching ability and are leading weekly worship gatherings we call “Gospel communities.”

Fundamentals of the Faith

As the church plant has steadily grown, not merely numerically but also the quality of the involvement, we have seen the need to ground the new believers and at the same time reinvigorate the seasoned believers. We looked no further than Fundamentals of the Faith (FOF) by John MacArthur.

FOF is basic Christian doctrine. The need to ground the church with the basics of hermeneutics, attributes of God, a biblical understanding of salvation, conversion, the person and work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, etc. cannot be overemphasized.

African Pastors’ Conference

African Pastors’ Conference is an annual conference we host in four different locations of Malawi. We had a successful conference run this year. We had 119 pastors in Lilongwe, 82 in Blantyre, 18 in Mzimba and 8 in Monkeybay.

The theme this year was “a biblical pastor.” With a plethora of pastors who should not assume that title, a conference to help counter it was necessary. I dealt with four topics: a man called by God (Titus 1:5–9), which looked at the qualifications of a pastor; a pastor as shepherd (1 Peter 5:1–4), which looked at the role of a pastor; the pastor and his personal holiness (1 Timothy 4:16); and the pastor as an ambassador of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:1–4).

These conferences help us to look outside our own small church and be a blessing to others. Below are the group pictures for Lilongwe and Blantyre.

The conferences are opportunities for pastors to access solid books at highly subsidized prices.

Lilongwe APC
Blantyre APC

Farewell to the Cogburns

We had Sam and Amanda from Cornerstone Community Church in Orange County, California with their daughter, LeahJane, join us while they served CAPA (Central African Preaching Academy). Sam taught Hebrew. Their year-long commitment has come to an end. As we welcomed the ten to membership we bade farewell to this wonderful missionary couple who served us well and have left an indelible mark upon our hearts. We miss them already. In less than a year, they picked up the basics of our native language, Chichewa.

Family News

We are in South Africa for an appointment with an endocrinologist for Vanessa. The appointment is this Thursday, the 29th, with an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist stated that with the tumor comes risks for mother and the child. But we are trusting that the tumor is shrinking. Is there anything difficult for our God?

With the ongoing health challenges Vanessa has had, we decided to take Chisomo to a good Christian private school. She was called for an assessment not long after we applied. It is not an easy school to access, as it is probably the best Christian school in the country. Vanessa and I were doubting thomases. We had little hope that she will fare well on the assessment. To our delight, she did exceptionally well and has been accepted to join this Christian International school in August.

Prayer Items

  • Please pray for Vanessa’s checkup—for the tumor to disappear and smooth pregnancy.
  • Please pray for wisdom as the church plant is growing—we need to equip more and release them for the work of the ministry.
  • Please pray we remain pure, patient and prayerful.

Praise Items

  • For the miraculous pregnancy.
  • RBC’s slow but consistent growth.
  • Our increasing influence in Lilongwe, Malawi.

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