Jefta's life took an unexpected 180-degree turn one day last April, thanks to an outreach event a local church in Malawi organized. Their leader, Bishop Mike, ran into Jefta as the church headed out into the community to share the gospel. Struggling to find work, life for Jefta, his wife, and their two children was becoming increasingly difficult.
But the encounter between Bishop Mike and Jefta began a whole new chapter in that family's journey, starting with Jefta himself. When evangelists shared the gospel with Jefta, he gave his life to the Lord. He began to attend church faithfully every week. But he was alone. His wife and children stayed home.
Jefta was among those who were trained in the next Grid training session. During the outreach portion of the event, he led his outreach partners to his house. Jefta's wife finally gave her life to the Lord. The palpable tension in the household from the past few months disappeared and the family is now growing closer together, and to God.
This is just the beginning of what God has in store for this beautiful African nation. And while it hasn’t been an easy road, believers are seeing the need for evangelism.
“We can bring people together for a common purpose despite our differences.”
This was a lesson learned by ShareWord Global Ministry Engagement Manager, Brad Willey, on the first Gospel Outreach Trip to Malawi. For 12 days in July, the GO Trip participants visited various churches, prisons, and the Dzaleka refugee camp to share the gospel and empower local believers to share their faith with those in their communities.
Fifty thousand people call the refugee camp home. When the GO Team visited, the camp was in chaos. Hands reached out to them with desperation. The sounds around the members, the sights, the smells, and the feel of the camp consumed them. It awoke something within them. They went where God led them around the camp and shared the gospel with those He put in their path.
Bernard, a young man in his twenties, had his headphones on playing his favourite music. For Bernard, listening to music was more than mere entertainment. In the chaos of the refugee camp, it was his source of strength and hope. In the uncertainty of his life, his music was always there for him. His music required nothing from him. Unlike his family.
He was the eldest of 11, soon to be 12, siblings, and the responsibility of caring for the family rested on his shoulders. He took advantage of his love of music and charged people to put music onto their phones. It didn’t bring his family much financial security, but it was something at least.
When Craig, one of the GO Trip participants, began a conversation with him, Bernard listened carefully. Bernard had a Bible at home but struggled to understand the words, so when he was presented with a Hope magazine, a weight seemed to lift from his shoulders.
“I used to find comfort in music,” Bernard said, “but with what you’ve explained, I’ll concentrate on studying the Word of God. This Hope [magazine] is easy to understand, but I can easily refer to my Bible for more details.” He took the magazine with a smile, his eyes shining happier than they had since they had fled their home.
At the end of the day, Brad sat down to write his daily report. He thought back to what the days had so far brought, what God had done even in his own life.
“We are pleased to see pastors taking ownership of their role in teaching biblical truths to their congregations. It underscores the importance of our mission to equip churches with Bibles and proper training to counteract the confusion that can arise when cultural practices intertwine with the gospel message.”
One participant, Sam, said “God wanted those people. Even if it's just one of them, that down the line in the future, it might just be [who] will cause a great change or transformation, even in the land of Malawi and also to other people.”
To say the first Gospel Outreach Trip to Malawi was a success would be an understatement. Samuel shared, through the translator Solomon, “the purpose of this journey was to win souls. And to equip people who are in the local church so that they should be able to reach out to others. I would say that we have achieved the mission.” It was an incredible example of the power of God and His Word, and what happens when people answer the call to fulfil Christ’s Great Commission.