Malawi: Reaching the unreachables with the gospel

Malawi“Many say Christianity in Africa is a mile wide and an inch deep.”

The words spilled out of Rodrick as he shared his burdened heart for Africa. He explained how many Africans claim Christianity as their religion, not because of a true understanding of the gospel, but because of its social and cultural roots in their history, going back to the arrival of Protestant missionaries in the 1800s.

But Rodrick is not one to only sit and bemoan a sad situation. He is a man of action. When he was introduced to the material found in What are Christmas and Easter All About?, Rodrick immediately recognized its potential for helping the church in his native country of Malawi.

Rodrick’s help was vital in bringing Khisimisi ndi Nyengo ya Pasaka – Zitanthauza Chiyani?, the Chichewan translation of What are Christmas and Easter All About?, to completion.

From his involvement in the translation and distribution, to teaching the book in churches, conferences and through radio broadcasts, Rodrick has been a tireless champion of the simple gospel message that’s taught in Christmas and Easter.

There has been no shortage of challenges and obstacles. Poverty and high printing costs are barriers to making the book easily available. Literacy levels are uneven. The average Malawian may afford to buy a single book but purchasing multiple copies for giving away is sometimes a bridge too far.

Rodrick has also endured other challenges common to a developing country. On one trip to teach and distribute books, he was set upon by thieves, who stole his laptop with his translation notes, a number of Christmas and Easter books and the money he had, among other things. He was thankful to get away with his life.

These hardships have not taken Rodrick by surprise. “Jesus said that we would have trouble” was his matter-of-fact comment on these and other difficulties he has faced. He has continued to press on.

Last spring, Rodrick secured airtime on three national radio stations, where he read Christmas and Easter as part of the broadcast. These broadcasts aired for several months and were heard by more than one million Africans. Here are just a few comments he received:

“Having attended your training programme… and having listened to the Easter Radio programmes; the content of [Christmas and Easter] has continued to be fresh to my mind and heart. I have also read the book over five times now… I am grateful to God for your ministry through which I have experienced growth in my spiritual life. Christmas and Easter make a lot of sense to me, now.”

“My preaching experience has improved since I received a copy of Christmas and Easter. I have been using it as a tool for preaching. Thank you for such a gift!”

“How can I have access to the book that was read on the radio? Please, send me a personal copy and a few others for my friends. Are there other books in addition to the one you helped us go through via the radio?”

“My understanding of God’s Word has been improved through Christmas and Easter. Please come to my church and teach the hungry souls.”

As Rodrick continues to reach out to his fellow Malawians, his vision for the future only continues to expand. Despite the challenges of illiteracy and poverty, demand for the books remains very high. The 15,000 printed and distributed so far have only been a drop in the proverbial bucket among a population of 12 million Chichewa speakers. Not only does Rodrick desire more copies of Khisimisi ndi Nyengo ya Pasaka – Zitanthauza Chiyani?, he would love to see other GoodSeed materials translated and printed, so Malawians can deepen their understanding of the Bible’s message. He also sees how radio broadcasts can be very effective in reaching large numbers of his countrymen.

Rodrick shared, “This ministry can be a tool for reaching out to the ‘unreachables’ with the gospel. Placing a book in someone’s hand has been a great ministry. The reading culture is slowly being restored among Malawians through the use of these books. What a blessing to experience people’s lives being transformed. What a blessing!”

Please pray for Rodrick and many others like him who press on through difficulty because of their passion for sharing a clear gospel with their people.

 

Photo Credit: “Returning to Lilongwe along Route S122” by Lars Plougmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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