We meet to part.

Goodbyes, New Leadership, and Continuing Purpose

My alma mater’s school hymn has been sung at every graduation since 1860. My favorite verse is the final one:

We meet to part, yet part to meet,
When earthly labors are complete,
To join in yet more blest employ,
In an eternal world of joy.

I love this reminder that among Christians “goodbye” is always temporary. Even when we must part brothers and sisters, like we are doing now in Malawi, we part in order to meet again in the new creation.

Graduating disciple-makers

On Saturday, we celebrated the fourth graduation of Shepherds Academy. Our graduating class this year was small due to the number of students who had to drop out last year because of Cyclone Freddy, but these three students who were able to persevere are some of the highest caliber young men we’ve seen come through the program.

I gave my final charge from 1 Timothy 1:5–7. I warned them not to desire to be teachers and yet lack understanding. But to know God’s word and fulfill God’s charge.

During this semester, all of our students spent the weekends serving in Machinga district, a majority Muslim district of Malawi. One of our previous graduates, Chipoya MacDonald, has moved to the district and is planting a church there. Our students assisted MacDonald to evangelize his community.

Meet Isaac Dzimbiri

Even though our family is leaving Malawi, the work of Gospel Life in Malawi continues under the leadership of Isaac Dzimbiri. I have worked side-by-side with Isaac over the past six years.

I look forward to sharing more with you next month about Isaac, but the video above will give you a sense of Isaac’s heart and how God has prepared him to lead. As you continue to give and pray for Gospel Life, you can be confident that under Isaac’s leadership the vision we have set forth will continue: to glorify God by growing disciples who make disciples by planting churches and training leaders.

Leaving Malawi

Our family leaves Malawi on Monday. Our departure is bittersweet. We will stop in Europe  for a time of rest as a family as well as debriefing at a missionary care center, arriving in Kentucky in early April to stay with family for a few weeks. 

Pray for us as we then plan to transition to Phoenix, Arizona, which is one of the top locations in the country for innovative autism services. We know God will care for us and provide for us as we make this major change in our lives, and we know your prayers will continue to sustain us, even as we are no longer missionaries to Malawi.

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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