You can do nothing

He is the vine. We are only branches. Apart from him we can do nothing.

Last week, our family’s memory verse was John 15:5:

I am the vine. You are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

While helping our kids memorize this verse, it was the final clause that stood out to me—”for apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus’ statement is absolute. He doesn’t say, “Apart from me you can do some things, but with me you can do even greater things.” He says, “Apart from me you can do nothing—not even one single thing!”

We are branches, and apart from Jesus we would only be dried out twigs. All the vitality within us that produces the fruit in our lives and the lives of others flows from the vine, from Jesus himself. While these prayer updates often list all the things our team has been busy with, I don’t want you to forget—and I hope that we never forget—that all of this is because of Jesus. It comes from him, and all the glory will return to him.

He is the vine. We are only branches. Apart from him we can do nothing.

Sponsor a Student

For only $360/year or $30/month, you can sponsor a student who is learning to preach the gospel at Shepherds Academy. When you sponsor a student, we will send you a profile so you can pray specifically for that student by name.

We only have 6 students still needing sponsorship this year!

Students return to Shepherds Academy

On October 4, we kicked off the third year of Shepherds Academy by welcoming back 10 returning students and meeting 13 new students. During this term, Isaac and Josh taught three classes: Bible survey (Genesis-Song of Songs), Bible study method, and ancient world history. While the students have gone home for the holidays, they will return January 3, ready to study more.

There are two ways that you can help in this ministry:

(1) We still have 6 students who need sponsorship at $360/year or $30/month.

(2) We’d like to buy folding tables for the students to use during class. The cost is $160/table, and we need a total of 8 tables ($1,280 total).

We believe that God wants to expand the opportunities to train young men in the future. Please pray for us as we seek his guidance to develop new opportunities.

Wrapping up Mobile Medical Clinics for 2021

During the month of October, our colleagues Eric and Stephanie Chapman led the clinic team through it’s final round of clinics for the year. For the year, we held 36 total days of clinics, treating thousands of men, women, and children, and of these thousands who saw physicians this year, 100% of them heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is our only hope in life and death.

We do not do clinics from November to March due to the rains, which make it difficult to travel to remote places. But pray for us as we begin preparing now for 2022, seeking the Spirit’s leadership on how to make the clinics even more effective at meeting temporal and eternal needs.


Josh speaks with the founder of the ministry in Malawi, Eric Chapman. Eric and his family began serving as missionaries in Moldova in Eastern Europe in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union. He shares about how God called him and has led him through his years of service.

Celebrating God's work

We ended October with two conferences led by our founder Eric Chapman that celebrate all God has done throughout the year. These conferences included pastors, assistant pastors, and Shepherds Academy graduates and students, adding up to about 300 men. The Lord was moving in hearts through the preaching of his word, and we pray that the seeds planted will sprout and bear fruit.

Looking ahead to 2022

Next year will mark 4 years that we have served in Malawi. Therefore, we will be returning to the US to visit with continuing and new supporting churches from July 2022-January 2023.

At the time of writing this, I only have 3 open Sundays left during that period to meet with churches. If you’d like for me to come share what God is doing in Malawi with your church, please email me as soon as possible.

I am also beginning to schedule visits to evening services, youth groups, revival meetings, and other meetings during the week. Stacy Leigh is available to visit your women’s groups during this time too. 

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible next year, but please get in touch soon because our calendars are already filling up!

Prayer Points

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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