When people hear the words ‘outreach into Africa’, most envision the building of houses or churches, the handing out of tracts and evangelising on the streets. On this Four12 outreach, we went to build up houses and churches ‘in the spirit’, hand out sound doctrine, and talk to locals about the apostolic and what it means for them. The main aim of this outreach was to model Bible-based church patterns, sow into the Four12 partnering churches in Malawi and further strengthen our relationships with both the pastors and saints.
The trip spanned over two weekends, with a week in between in which we were a part of a four day Four12 Regional Equip in Lilongwe. Over the weekends, our team of 19, led by Lance McIntosh, split into 3 groups and went off with pastors Andrew, Jackson and Shadrack to their churches. We camped amongst the people, made use of their long-drops and had our hearts filled with gratitude as they shared their often-precious-little food with us.
Yes, it’s true what so many people say: ‘Africa is definitely not for the faint-hearted’. It felt stretching for me at the best of times, but an outreach into this beautiful place is an unforgettable experience. God did a big work in us as individuals and as a team. If you are willing to stretch yourself, God will fill you up, shape you and leave you looking more like His son than before.
They are physically hungry, but even more so, they are spiritually hungry!
It is true that Malawi is an incredibly poor country. Most people live off the land and many struggle to survive. They are physically hungry, but even more so, they are spiritually hungry! When we arrived at the first village at around 10 pm in the evening (it is Africa – it can literally take you an entire day to travel 140kms!), the people were waiting for us with excitement. After making introductions, we went straight into a church service. They threw a tarp down on the ground, there were no lights above or a roof over our heads…we praised and worshipped God under the stars. Allan Verreyne, our team leader, preached, and there, under the moonlit, African sky, we connected with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, all yearning for a deeper revelation of the Almighty Father.
We had church morning, noon and night! There was so much to share, and Allan, at the age of 71, has more energy than many 17-year-olds! He just keeps on going. However, it was very much a team effort, and every one of us had a chance to preach or teach, to bring a word, and even to bring interpretation. What blew my mind was how God downloaded things into our spirits. Like what to teach on, references in the Bible, and how to bring it across most effectively to the people we encountered. It was important to model the truth that every saint in the church has the ability to hear God, interpret dreams and to bring a word of wisdom or encouragement.
One of the biggest aims of these outreaches is to equip the saints for works of the ministry and to assist in doing away with the ‘solo preacher man of power’ belief. Lance and Sue McIntosh have already done a lot of work into Malawi, helping to restore churches and build solid relationships with the pastors over the years, but there are countless little rural churches to get to…’the fields are ripe’.
One night, it was mostly children that arrived at the church, so we did a service especially for them. Afterwards, a young boy testified that he came in with a headache and it disappeared. He also heard a voice saying to him that God is with him and he will be alright. Another saw a white dove in the church, and yet another said he felt something leave his body and that he felt lighter. Yes, God loves the ‘little children’.
One lady who had cervical cancer went to the hospital after being prayed for and the doctors were astounded that the cancer had disappeared.
The healings on this outreach were numerous. One lady who had cervical cancer went to the hospital after being prayed for and the doctors were astounded that the cancer had disappeared. A man who couldn’t lift his arm after an injury was able to lift his hands to the heavens and praise God. There was even a witch doctor who gave his life to the Lord and was set free from his bondages.
Jesus is coming soon for His bride. And it is our mandate to make sure that His bride is pure, wholesome and spotless. Each of us has a part to play, and I am so thankful for the part God entrusted to me to play on this outreach into His beloved Africa.. May the adventures continue, for you too!