Kubik Gives Update on Malawi and Zambia Trip
May 6, 2011
Update from Malawi and Zambia
Beverly and I just completed a most inspiring and profitable journey to Malawi, Zambia and South Africa for the United Church of God, an International Association. We were able to baptize 23 people in four areas as well as ordain a deacon in Lilongwe, Malawi. An important aspect of this trip was the reconstitution of the United Church of God in these areas.
The Church in Malawi
We are happy to report that the United Church of God is virtually intact in Malawi except for the former elder, his family and a few other individuals. The churches in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu are stronger than ever and poised to continue their appointed mission and to care for the brethren.
The upside of the leadership disturbance is that this event has unearthed new leaders and accelerated their development. While none of the churches in Malawi currently have elders, we were very pleased at the management style of deacon Gracious Mpilangwe. After our visit in January he set up committees to manage for the various aspects of congregational care and evangelism.
He set up committees for Good News distribution, women, children, transportation and others. A media committee was set up to communicate with the home office and with other congregations. One Blantyre member works for Malawi Broadcasting and another is a journalist for a local periodical. The church ladies have been following United Newsreports about U.S. women’s retreats and want one in Malawi, too! We kept the Sabbath and then Passover the next evening in Blantyre. From there we flew to Lilongwe for the Night Much to be Much Observed and the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
The NTBMO certainly was one that we will never forget as we gathered with more than 30 brethren at a small church building next to one of their homes. Everyone was served a meal of rice, nsima (ground corn meal boiled in water, resembling grits), goat, chicken and vegetables. We thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship, being together to celebrate our coming out of spiritual Egypt.
On the Holy Day we held a regular service in the morning, but in the afternoon we had a more open meeting talking about our individual conversion experiences. Different members came forward and told their stories—which were absolutely fascinating and interesting to all of us.
While in Lilongwe we baptized six people and ordained Haiton Thungula as a deacon. Each church now has a deacon. With the people we counseled in Blantyre and others in Lilongwe, there should be six more baptisms the next time we come to Malawi.
The Church in Zambia
From Lilongwe we flew to Lusaka, Zambia. When I was here in January, I wondered if there would be anyone left in UCG. Three months later, we found that the majority of the congregation will stay with the United Church of God.
We thank the brethren in Lusaka, particularly Major Talama, who had immediate reservations about what direction the former elder was taking the congregation. While here in January, we were able to meet and gather more people together through a series of text messages.
The church in Lusaka is mostly in support of UCG, with only the former elder, his family and a few others defecting. We are so pleased that elder Wilson Nkhoma has chosen to remain and lead the congregation here. We were happy to have excellent conversations with him, his wife Dorothy and Major and Felicia Talama about the church’s future here. For services on the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread we had 47 in attendance. We baptized seven on the following morning in the pool at our hotel.
From Lusaka we flew to Kitwe in the Copper Belt and stayed with longtime pillar members Derrick and Cherry Pringle for parts of four days. What a delightful time!
Derrick Pringle cares for the group of more than 35 in nearby Mufulira. He gives the sermon most Sabbaths. He and Cherry have a special touch for relating to the brethren. This area is solidly with United. We held the Last Day of Unleavened Bread service here and baptized two ladies afterwards at the Pringles’ home pool.
The Pringles have been extraordinary, considering that since January they have had serious health problems, including the discovery of Cherry’s breast cancer while in South Africa for her husband’s medical treatment. She had an operation there and both are recovering—all the while they have been giving of themselves to the Zambian brethren.
From Kitwe, Derrick, Bev and I drove to Mumbwa Town where we met as many people from the bush area of Zambia as were able to come. 51 people had come earlier for the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Not all were able to make it to this additional meeting.
We held a Bible study and had plenty of time for fellowship with people who Bev and I have visited many times before on our Feast of Tabernacles visits. The next day we baptized eight additional people for a total of 23 for the journey.
In all the places we visited we not only had worship meetings, but we also spent extensive time talking about organization, delegation, budgets and reporting. We talked about continuing the work that we have done to help the people economically through LifeNets. We talked about upcoming youth camps and the August Youth Corps project in Zambia that will involve people from Malawi as well.
The people were concerned about our brethren in the United States and were saddened by the news of the tornadoes.
I feel that I have just started to describe what we did on this journey, but will save more for upcoming eNews letters. We feel triumphant about how Jesus Christ was with us and how God always answered our prayers for the Church.
Sometimes we felt like we were facing obstacles similar to those that the apostle Paul endured in his work. We never doubted that God would not abandon or leave us or the people whom God had called. The majority of the brethren in Zambia will remain with UCG, and the congregations will be stronger with the new leadership.
One final thing—we were very moved on our last day when Felicia Talama, the newly baptized wife of Major Talama, expressed her heartfelt thoughts about the heartache that we have all gone through in Zambia.
She expressed how we should forgive those who do not understand what they do nor the consequences of their actions. She spoke about how we should pray for those who have hurt the people of God so that they could see what they have done. We then all prayed together.
We kept the final Sabbath of our trip, April 30, in the Johannesburg, South Africa area. We stayed at the home of Jason and Monique Webster, who along with their extended family, the Wallises, have taken over the operation of the church office. What a wonderful job they have done.
There are many heroes in our stories here from South Africa. Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters one-third of the way around the world.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming General Conference of Elders.
Victor Kubik—Operation Manager, Ministerial and Member Services