I was unable to download original pictures from the Malawi collection, for technical reasons and hope to have this sorted as soon as God allows. Thank you for bearing with us in this challenge.
This is Chapter Seven of a series. For previous chapters see …time with the Master.
A few days later, a man came to the house and spoke to Kathy. He said he had an unfinished house just around the corner from where we were. We looked at the house and while it was not what we were used to, anything was better than what we were experiencing.
I explained to the owner that we were not part of a denominational church and therefore did not receive any regular financial support. As we did not ask for money, it was only when the Lord decided, that we would receive. At first he was quite shocked, but then understood. He said in that case he would charge us a minimal rent of K250. The same as Eric’s figure!! Still debating whether or not we should take it, we went to see it again the next day. There we found the owner and his wife cleaning the place. We felt we had lost our chance. When I asked him if somebody had taken the place, he answered, “Yes, we are cleaning it for you and your family!”, So we were certain God had arranged this place for us.
Time has passed so quickly since being in this little house. It was such a relief to have our own place. We found out afterwards that there was a certain ladies prayer group whom had been praying specifically for Kathy to have a place of her own.
Our financial situation was plodding along and whilst we were not ‘flush’ and couldn’t go and spend freely, Our Father ensured that we always had our ‘needs’ met.
We had learned a tremendous amount during our time at Davids’ house and although it was a very hard time, it was truly worth the learning experience. We saw how much time and effort, people in our culture spend on our lifestyle. Black Africans live a far more simple way of life, and while they are very particular about the type and quality of the food they eat, it is prepared in a very simple way. It appeared to us as though there was much more time to do other things. I therefore began to see that as Malawians, they were able to concentrate more on the things of the Gospel. We, on the other hand, were made much more ‘effective’ for the Lord once we stopped complaining about our day to day situations, because really it was the ‘luxuries’ that we were complaining about not having.
Once our eyes came away from ourselves and on to the Lord, things appeared to become better.
On the ministry side, we discovered that most Malawians were interested in us because they wanted to see what they could physically get from us. This was understandable, given the way that some missionaries had previously worked over a period of time.
Many had come in the name of Jesus but had fallen into the trap of humanitarianism. Many physical things were given away in the name of the Lord, while precious souls were spiritually starving and going to hell. Some came on fact finding missions and reported back about poverty, drought and starvation. Large churches and organisations sent money and goods – most not reaching the people they were intended for, but filling the pockets of those faithfully trusted to distribute.
Once people knew that we were not there with ‘give aways’, fewer came to our meetings. If the Lord had not encouraged us with various messages, we would have felt very despondent. We heard many saying, “Give a man a fish and he will starve – give a man a rod and teach him how to fish and he will feed many”. This is the devil at his best!!, a lie from the “Father of lies”.
Give a man a rod and teach him how to fish and he’ll feed himself and sell the rest to others. Give a man the gospel, then a rod and teach him how to fish. The gospel will change his heart and when he catches fish he will not only share his knowledge with others, but the fish as well.
Titus was translating for me as I shared at various house groups. In the beginning, I accepted every invitation I could to go and share with people, although the Lord had specifically showed us to ‘entrust the gospel to faithful men’. I had no idea who these men were and relied on the Lord to show me. After one year of teaching, preaching and sharing, I could see only one ‘faithful man’ – Titus.
He has been a great blessing to us. Always caring about us and wanting to ‘protect’ us from local people who could easily take advantage of us in certain business situations. His love for us has truly been a love from the Lord. In many circumstances he has had to endure what people have said about him, because of the way he lives and works with us. Some say he’s just taking advantage of white people, others say he’s nothing more than a servant equal to the old ‘colonial’ rule of the fifties and sixties. Often we are asked to send ‘the boy’ around to collect things from other Malawians. They were referring to Titus. On one occasion when we were asked to send ‘the boy’ around, I went myself much to the shock of those who had asked us to send him. When the Malawian people said, “We didn’t mean you to come, you should have sent your boy”, I replied that the way we live, we all aspire to becoming ‘boys’ and try hard to serve one another as Jesus did. They were quite shocked…”
Custom plays a very big part in all cultures and we soon saw how mankind had been trying to combine various cultures and races in the name of ‘peace’. It simply cannot be done.
The only way those of different cultures can truly come to love one another, is through Christ Jesus. When we have ‘died’ to the feelings of selfishness, which is only possible through the death of Jesus, then we are able to share a true peace with others irrespective of culture. Lurking in the depths of our customs is a black hole of apathy. We rest and become comfortable with our ways, and when we do that, we don’t rest on Jesus. Certain customary beliefs are born out of pride and fear of men and so demand an unnecessary amount of attention. This attention would be far better spent on our relationship with God.
This series appears bi-monthly – please look out for it.
…time with the Master…
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