Ministry Update: Reformation Bible Church (Malawi)

Greetings in the matchless name of Jesus!

It has been good to serve King Jesus here in Lilongwe, Malawi. We are humbled and consider ourselves blessed to be on mission with our Saviour. The following are among the other activities we were a part of the last two months.

Life at RBC

The church is growing numerically, spiritually, and in problems. We have pleasant and no-so-pleasant challenges. We continue to fill our meeting room on most Sundays. This has led to elders grapple with how to exercise micro care on the congregation. We have had others sensing our absence in their lives. This has grieved us and we are doing our best to help raise more men to help us fill this void (Ephesians 4:11–16). We are going through the Old Testament survey during our Bible Hour (adult Sunday school) and we are systematically going through the book of Philippians. Our weekly Bible studies (Gospel Communities) are all experiencing growth in depths of relationships and consistency in attendance. The ladies are going through Dr. Wayne and Josh Mack’s book The Twin Pillars of the Christian Life.This is a book on prayer and Bible reading. It’s been pretty amazing for them to ask me about George Mueller.

We are also encouraged to see God raised quality young men who are able to teach and preach. We are thankful that, as relatively small as our church is, we have over six men who can teach God’s word faithfully.

We also had a wedding at RBC last month. Humphrey married Lucy on 25 August.

Teaching Seminars

We had a privilege of hosting our brothers from North Carolina in August: Scott Brown (Hope Baptist Church); Jason Dohm (Sovereign Redeemer); and Paul White (Covenant Bible Church).

They taught us (among other things) on “What Makes a Church Healthy”; “Engaging Culture”; “How Do We Respond to Parents/Guardians Who Refuse their Children to Come to a Biblical Church?”; “Leading Family Worship”; and “How to Find Elders and Deacons.” These were followed by a question-and-answer session. This time proved very fruitful.

The sessions were meticulously selected to address the needs of our congregation. We were served way beyond our expectations. The men were faithful to the Scriptures. We remain in their debt.

On Sunday, we had Jason Dohm teach on the regulative principle of worship, and, in the afternoon we had life skills seminar, where we were challenged on our usage of God’s time, preparing to marry well among other things.

Knowing Christ Conference

Our church travelled to Blantyre to join our sister churches at Antioch Baptist Church. We had our biennial conference titled “Knowing Christ Conference.” This was a follow up to “Knowing God Conference” two years ago.

This was a deliberate attempt to reacquaint our congregations with the person and work of Jesus Christ. What a spiritual feast this was: thirteen sessions about Jesus Christ. It was a great time of fellowship and fostering interchurch relationships in Malawi.

Zambian Annual Reformed Conference

This is a conference that is becoming a must-attend for our congregation. It is hosted by the Zambian Reformed Baptists in Lusaka. There is much for us to learn from our older brothers in Zambia. This was a third year in a row for our church to attend. The theme this year was “Redemption: Accomplished and Applied.”

The main speaker was H. B. Charles Jr, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He fed us well with his usual clear and deep expository sermons, which are memorable. We had time to debrief and help each other apply the messages. I heard one of our congregants say, “I have never understood justification by faith like that.” My heart response was, “If that is so, then it was worth this trip.”

Another highlight was Vanessa spending time with the older women, including Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s wife and the late Pastor Percy Chisenga’s widow. These women have vast experience that Vanessa found vital. She asked them lots of questions and appreciated their wisdom and counsel.

Family Update

Vanessa is experiencing much improvement to her health. She remains on medication (Dostinex) for the brain tumour. Last update we mentioned that the MRI showed that the tumour is shrinking. She has not had much discomfort and persistent headaches this past month.

Chisomo (6) started first grade last month and is so enjoying her school. She is also excelling academically.

Karabo will be turning one year old on 27 September. He is already wearing clothes for a two-year-old. We had been concerned that he was not able to crawl at this stage. But, he surprised us this week. He is crawling very fast that has been falling. We are so delighted with this progress.

RBC Acquired Land

Yaaaaaaaaaaay! This is a huge answer to prayer. We have been trusting the Lord for funds and many of you responded to this need. We are thankful to God for that.

The land we acquired is NOT the original land that was on the proposal. We were late in receiving all the required funds. So, we started looking again. This time with money with us.

We are excited to let you know that the land we got is in many ways more strategic than the other one. It is slightly bigger. It is designated for institutions that means we do not need to seek permission to construct a church. We do, however, need to submit our plans for approval. It is also closer to town than the other place. The immediate plan is to pitch a tent as soon as we get the necessary documents in place.

Praise Items

  • We have land. Praise God. Not any land, but what we were looking for.
  • Growth in spiritual depth and fellowship at the church.
  • Family health.
  • Travelled well to the conferences in Blantyre (Knowing Christ), Zambia (Reformed Conference) and in South Africa (Sola 5).

Prayer Items

  • Greater passion for Christ.
  • Wisdom in shepherding a growing youthful congregation.
  • Grace to be a better husband, father, and pastor.
  • Documentation process for the land to be finalized smoothly and soon.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you,

Newton, Vanessa, Chisomo and Karabo