I have recently returned from a week in Malawi followed by attendance at the Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. What an experience! My thanks to Susan Bryant, Cheryl Hatfield and Benita Decker for making the trip with me. Thank you to those who followed our team on Facebook and who prayed for us.
The week in Malawi was at the request of Martha Chirwa who teaches at the Malawi Baptist Seminary and works with the seminary wives. She is also the chairlady for the Pastors’ Wives group and represents them on the Malawi WMU Leadership Team. We were hosted by missionary Mary P who helped us with many of the trip arrangements, provided transportation for our team, and fed us meals in her home.
Our team was asked to teach four topics: the role of the pastor’s wife, Malawi Baptist Women’s Guide, health issues, and Bible study. Cheryl Hatfield, Kentucky WMU Development Specialist and a pastor’s wife, led the classes on the role of the pastor’s wife. Susan Bryant, our state WMU president, taught their WMU guide. We had been able to get a copy in English and we also provided each participant with a copy in the local language, Chechewa. Benita Decker, who had gone with me in 2012, taught classes about important health issues and spiritual wellness. Her prior experience helped her know some of the important health issues the women of Malawi are dealing with. I led a Bible study on the plan of salvation and witnessing.
As we planned for this trip, Martha and Mary hoped we might have 100 in attendance. Classes for seminary wives have been offered for a number of years but this was the first time to invite all of the pastors’ wives from across Malawi. God blessed and we had 186 there. The classrooms were packed! Each day we taught our lesson for the day four times as the women rotated in groups to each class. The end of the day was spent singing, sharing some other topics, and doing a craft. On Friday, we had a closing celebration and each pastor’s wife was given a copy of a book about being a pastor’s wife in Chechewa that was printed at the Baptist Publication Center located on the seminary campus. Gifts to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering help make this seminary and ministry possible.
One of the things we learned about from our last trip was that the WMU women of Malawi have a special uniform that they must earn the right to wear by learning scripture verses and some other requirements. Thursday was the designated day to wear the WMU uniform of a purple skirt, white blouse, purple sash and head scarf. Our team decided that we would put together our own Malawi WMU uniforms and wear them that day. The women were so excited when we arrived in our uniforms.
After our week in Malawi, Susan, Cheryl, and I went on to the Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference. There we met women from around the world. Each year when we participate in the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer, we are praying in concert with women from seven continental unions composed of various Baptist women’s groups. At this event, women from all the continental unions were present. What a wonderful time of worship and sharing information about the ministries of women around the world. I will think of these women each year on the Day of Prayer. A new theme, “Arise,Shine,” was introduced and we will see it used for the Day of Prayer from 2015-2019.
Please pray for the pastors’ wives of Malawi as they share what they learned in their churches. Pray for WMU work there to be strengthened. One of the participants said, “Now we know why we do what we do.” Pray for the women as they share the gospel with greater understanding because of a week of Bible study that helped them understand what the Bible says about sin, atonement, purification, baptism, Christian growth, and the promise of eternal life. Pray for the women who do not have access to good health care. Pray for God’s provision for their health needs. Pray for pastors’ wives to be more effective helpmates to their pastor husbands and women of influence in their churches.
Pray for Baptist women around the world as they serve and share the gospel. Plan now to participate in the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer which is observed annually on the first Monday of November. Plan an observance in your church or association. The suggested Day of Prayer program is on line and includes prayer requests from each of the continental unions.