Saturday, October 30, 2010

Revival at Kondeo

Last weekend I (Dean) had the privilege of ministering in a village alongside a number of Malawian pastors, and missionary Ryan Willson, at an area wide revival meeting. Churches gathered from miles around to worship and pray and reach the lost. You should have seen them sing and dance and clap and praise the Lord, in spite of the heat!
On our way into the village we had a light rain, which turned the dirt road into a mud slick. The road was like a hump with a ditch on each side. Slowed by the vehicle in front of us, we lost our momentum, and slid into the ditch. We were helped out by some pedestrians, only to slide into the other ditch. Helped out a second time, we landed back in our original ditch, but at least we were pointed in the right direction.

At several of the meetings, including the Saturday evening showing of the film Mary Magdalene, many people came forward requesting prayer for various illnesses and family problems, and many people prayed to receive Christ. I prayed for one woman who had recently tested positive for HIV. Another woman asked for prayer regarding tensions with her brother, and a third requested prayer for her son, who has been stealing items from the home to sell. A boy told one of our pastors that he wanted to respond to Jesus, but something else inside him was telling him to leave. Many prayed for him, and a demon was cast out. At one point while we were praying for him he was writhing on the floor. But when the demon was gone he was happy and at peace. The power of Jesus sets people free, and it is a beautiful thing to see. Another lady had visited a witch doctor, which opened the door to an evil spirit. Through prayer, in the name of Jesus, she was delivered.

There were hundreds of children at the revival. Saturday, during the afternoon service we had an impromptu “children’s church.” (Sunday School and Children's Church are very rare here, even though the average age is very young). I told the story of Nicodemus, and shared my own testimony of conversion and surrender to Christ. I had seen the enthusiasm of these children as they sang praises to Jesus, and wanted to encourage them to surrender their whole life to Him. When I asked who wanted to ask Jesus to help them obey him all the time, all the hands went up. I encouraged them to be totally honest, and not to feel any pressure to do something they weren’t ready to do. But when Pastor Soko led them in prayer the entire group prayed along with him. It was beautiful to see, and I pray that Jesus will indeed help each and every one of them to follow Him with all their heart. I know that they will face many obstacles and be tested, as we all are. And I know that some of them may not have fully understood, or may not have been fully ready, or fully sincere. But I believe that the Holy Spirit was at work, and that Jesus heard their prayer. He will be faithful to continue to lead them and help them to grow in Him. After we had prayed, Pastor Soko said, “now we need to sing a song to tell everyone that we are born again.” And we had a parade up and down the main road through the village.

Sunday morning I was given the opportunity to preach, and spoke about truly knowing Jesus (not just knowing about him), walking in His ways, and trusting in Him alone for salvation. Again, many responded, and were led in prayer by one of our pastors, who closed the service. Even though there was no altar call at that service, one man was so convicted that he asked to speak with one of our pastors, who also brought Ryan Willson into the conversation. He confessed to having an adulterous affair, and that very morning his wife had left him. God’s timing continues to amaze me! Now that he has repented, he needs to end the adulterous
relationship, and seek to be reconciled to his wife. Please pray that his marriage can be restored, and that God will be glorified in his life.
After the service there was a special offering taken, which had been announced in advance, toward the building of a larger church. The host church has outgrown its current building. (In fact, our service that day was held outside). While praising the Lord African style the worshippers celebrated the joy of giving as they brought their gifts to a large basket near the front. I can honestly say I have never witnessed a more joyful collection. It was a splendid day. The memory is tarnished, however. We’ve since heard that the money was stolen before it got to
the bank. One of the harsher realities of Africa.
One final impression: It was an honour and a joy to work with a group of pastors who genuinely cared for one another and sacrificially worked together for the sake of Christ. Several of the pastors had to travel a great distance to be there, which was a significant sacrifice for them in terms of time, effort, and cost. But they are committed to each other, and to Christ, and the way they ministered together bore witness to that fact.

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