Loving People, Body and Soul

Hosting our first Body and Soul Conferences and meeting needs of cyclone survivors

God cares what we do with our bodies. If he didn’t, why would the Holy Spirit command us, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship” (Rom 12:1)?

God desires for our bodies to be given over to him fully as a living sacrifice. Unfortunately, many strategies of evangelism and discipleship treat people as disembodied spirits.

This month was punctuated with two ministries, both of which emphasize the necessity of the human body in our walk of faith in the gospel. First, we are testing a new ministry we call Body and Soul Conferences. Second, we have begun to meet the physical needs resulting from Cyclone Freddy.

Our first Women's Body and Soul Conference

Body and Soul Conferences

This week we’ve been blessed to be joined by a team from First Baptist Church Henderson, Kentucky. Together, we’ve been test-driving a new concept we’re calling Body and Soul Conferences. Through our Body and Soul Conferences, we’ve been providing much needed health education to men and women alongside teaching about marriage.

On Monday, we started with a women’s conference, attended by about 120 women, and we followed up on Tuesday with a men’s conference attended by 100 men, both in nearby villages. Yesterday, we held a women’s conference here in Zomba at Gospel Life Baptist Church, and tomorrow we will wrap things up with a men’s conference here too.

While Pastors Jacob and Chuck from FBC gave clear biblical teaching on the gospel and the biblical family, health professionals Jan and Steve gave health education and facilitated HIV testing alongside Malawian nurses we work with.

Bags of maize ready for distribution

Update on Disaster Relief

Earlier this month, our team completed a full survey of damage from Cyclone Freddy. Regional directors travelled to every corner of southern Malawi to visit partner churches and gather first-hand information on which areas were the most seriously affected.

After receiving this information, our team decided that the most fundamental need in each area was for food to help people while they await the harvest of crops in a few months. In some areas, people have begun to plant cassava and sweet potatoes. Others will plant a new crop of rice, and those whose fields are in moist bottom lands will plant more corn.

But while we are waiting for those crops to mature, people will need food to survive. Therefore, along with our partners Eric and Stephanie Chapman, we have committed to buying about 80 tons of corn. The Lord has so far blessed us by allowing us to find sources at a good price so we can maximize the number of people we’re able to help.

Sorting clothes to give away to cyclone survivors

In addition to buying maize, Gospel Life Baptist Church decided to take up an offering of clothes to help neighboring churches where people have lost everything. We in the mission were so impressed by this spirit of sacrificial giving that we multiplied their offering by buying several bales of used clothes.

Yesterday we sorted the donated clothes according to gender and age, and tomorrow we will travel with the pastors of Gospel Life Baptist Church to the Lake Chirwa area to distribute what has been collected.

Thank you for everyone’s sacrificial gifts that made all of this possible.

Sending out church planting teams

On May 1, we will be sending out eight Shepherds Academy students on bicycles to areas that have a great need for the gospel. These students will be living by faith and sharing the gospel until May 11, when they will return. During that time, under the direction of their supervisors, they will be sharing the gospel and doing short-term discipleship with new believers.

Pray for these young men and the areas that they will evangelize: Mangochi, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, and Chapananga.

When these students successfully return, we will celebrate with graduation on May 13.

Looking for a VBS Missions Emphasis?

As your church prepares for Vacation Bible School this summer, we hope you will pray about supporting Gospel Life with your missions offerings.

We are asking that VBS students give toward buying Chichewa Bibles. For only $10, you can subsidize the cost of a Bible for Christians in Malawi. This year, Bibles are needed more than ever because so many pastors and other church members lost their Bibles during the flooding of Cyclone Freddy.

Our goal is to purchase 1,000 Bibles this year, which requires $10,000 in donations from your VBS kids and others!

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be releasing a video to help your VBS connect with the project.

If you have any further questions about emphasizing Gospel Life this summer, please send me an email. Also, if your church will be giving toward Bibles, please take a moment to send us the dates of your VBS so we can pray with you!

Picture of Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the president of Gospel Life as well as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Missions at Overland Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. With a heart devoted to spreading the gospel, Joshua, alongside his wife Stacy Leigh and their five children, dedicated six years to serving in Malawi before returning to the United States, where he continues to lead Gospel Life.

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