Forget the Frock 2021
February and March are the most beautiful months in Malawi. By this time of year, the rains, which begin in November or December, have revived the grass and the trees and grown the corn, which is planted everywhere, to full size. Everything is green. Everything is alive.
Our experience here is just a brief sampling of the hope we have in the new creation. Amos prophesied, “Look, the days are coming—this is the LORD’s declaration—when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one who treads grapes, the sower of seed. The mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it” (Amos 9:13).
But in Malawi, the green will slowly fade and everything will dry out, waiting for the rains to return. This change of seasons reminds us that we still await the fruitful world-to-come, but we wait with purpose. We wait so that we can work to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom “in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14).
Back to School...again
On February 24, we were able to reopen Shepherds Academy for residential students, but the lost weeks in January and February required us to reopen for a 10-day intensive that will conclude our 2020-21 school year. Students have been in class from 8:00am-3:00pm most days, including Saturday, so that we can cover a variety of topics such as theology, counseling and family, church planting, and pastoral ministry.
Students will take their final exams on Friday before returning home. This will be the last classroom time for the founding class of Shepherds Academy. All that stands between these students and graduation is their supervised ministry experience, which they will begin in June.
From March 7-18, we will be training pastors in the Lower Shire and in Zomba. These classes were supposed to occur in February and had to be rescheduled due to a temporary increase in Covid-19 cases in Malawi. To meet the restrictions that still remain, we will teach pastors in 4 smaller groups meeting in 2 day sessions.
By the time these trainings end, Josh and Isaac will have been teaching full-day sessions for 3.5 weeks! Josh and Isaac will pick up where they left off in the book of Romans at the last sessions in September, covering Romans 5-8 this time. This will also be a time to meet representatives from newly planted churches across the mission.
Preparing for Mobile Clinics
In April, Kiki Cunningham will return to Malawi for the first time since Covid-19 to lead our first round of mobile clinics for the year. In preparation, we were required this year to acquire our own medical license in the name of the mission, and to qualify for this license, we had to establish an outpatient clinic at our Zomba campus, which serves as “base camp” for our mobile clinics.
Josh’s executive assistant, Janet, worked tirelessly over the past few months to set up the clinic, pass the government inspection, and get our license. Thankfully, on Monday, we held the precious paper in our hands! We can now move on to hiring doctors and purchasing medicine in preparation for April clinics.
But now that we have an actual clinic facility on our campus, we are praying for how the Lord would use it in the future. We hope to open this stationary clinic as God gives us the vision for how to show and tell the love of Christ.
The kingdom of God has come near.
Jesus preached that “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15)! Through the gospel, we experience now the resurrected life of the age-to-come, and by faith, we enter into the hope of eternal life in God’s kingdom.
As we finish our pastor training sessions and as we prepare for mobile clinics next month, we devote ourselves completely to the proclamation of the gospel, the expectation of a new creation, and the joy of eternal fellowship with God.