Training pastors’ wives in Malawi

IMG_3669IMG_3565I 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.

IMG_3455IMG_3514Our 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. IMG_3583 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.

IMG_3568One 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.

IMG_3869After 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 IMG_3776women 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.

IMG_3905Pray 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.

EBO at Work This Summer

11026158_10155722938270035_3590013821719565541_nLast year Kentucky WMU decided to go in a new direction with “summer camp” for children and began making plans for Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids (MAKK). Our first two adventures were awesome. In both Princeton and Inez last month, children arrived on Thursday where there were introductory activities. Every activity was purposeful as the children were being prepared for how they would be on mission.

The first ministry was to prayer walk the community. Children were introduced to the concept and provided with a ring of cards with prayer prompts for the community. They used these as they walked and prayed. The intergenerational praying was wonderful.

11666025_10155722938145035_3698061792306832906_nOn Friday morning the children participated in Bible study, music, games, drama, and crafts. Again, everything had a purpose for a ministry project. Everything the children were learning was so that they could lead in a Backyard Bible Club to be held on Saturday.

On Friday afternoon the children headed out to sing at area nursing homes, then go to another local ministry to help with sorting and shelving donations. The afternoon included fun as well with swimming and fun at the park. A missionary was part of the team at each location.

We are so excited about MAKK and how this experience takes camp and missions learning to the next level for children. Adult leaders were very positive about the experience and both locations wanted to know if were coming back next year. We do plan to move this around the state so that more children can participate in a hands on mission adventure.

11402297_10153375163532834_4969325594735714180_o11406410_10153375161087834_1455619308694133407_oKentucky Changers has also been underway in June with projects in Richmond, Marshall County, and Maysville. The final week is July 13-18 in Henderson. It was exciting for me to be present for the closing celebration in Richmond and watch as students filled the front of the church indicating that they had made some type of decision for Christ during the week. And not only students have made decisions this summer. In Richmond I counseled with one adult who came to help that had been touched by what had taken place. Decisions by homeowners have also been reported. Changers totals thus far:
Richmond had a total of 420 participants who worked on 28 jobs. There were 53 decisions.
Marshall County had 154 participants who worked on 13 jobs. There were 14 decisions.
Maysville had 245 participants who worked on 24 jobs.  There were 19 decisions.
For Henderson we have 171 registered and they will be working on 13-14 jobs.

overnights badgeGA and Mother/Daughter Overnights are a highlight for girls and leaders and moms in July. We will be at Jonathan Creek, July 10-11, and at Cedar Crest, July 17-18.  Camp Courage at Laurel Lake for RAs, Challengers, leaders, and dads will be July 31-August 1. In all of these missions events, the Eliza Broadus Offering is at work. Thank you Kentucky Baptists for providing missions learning and opportunities.

courage2015EBO for 2014-15 is nearing the end of the offering year which closes on August 31. As of July 7, the total received is $1,185,269 towards our goal of $1,250,000.  It’s not too late to give to help reach the 2014 goal. Give online or through your church.