We dealt with architects, contractors, craftsmen, laborers, brethren and accountants. It was a project that involved financing primarily from LifeNets and Good Works. It started with the purchase of a house on a property. The walls inside of the house were removed to create our first hall. Then, we needed to build a security wall around the property. Theft is a way of life and if you want to keep something, you must secure it. So, the first thing we did was have the security wall built. Then we expanded the original home into the hall that we have now. We were so happy to be here for this special event to celebrate the completion and to dedicate the building to God, just as we had done the larger one in Blantyre one week ago.
We went to church early in the process of getting everyone there who was involved. Today there was a good attendance of 83 people.
Today is a Holy Day. Cephas Chapamba gave the sermonette in which he introduced the offering, which is only done in services on the seven annual holy days. It was an excellent sermonette about living by faith. There was a great focus on the subject.
Then I gave a sermon about the difference between First and Second Corinthians. In the first letter the apostle Paul chided the people for various congregational faults, not the least which was sexual immorality, abuse of the Passover, sectarianism and generally worldly behavior. Paul was concerned about what reaction he would receive with such a strong corrective letter.
He was pleased with the result which was people taking to heart with what he said. A meaningful change came about and the church repented. They carefully made amends. So much so that Paul told them they became a recommendation to others of Christianity. They became as a “Living Letter” of recommendation penned by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the people. It’s quite a story and one that has not so subtle parallels and relevance to matters here.
After the sermon, we commenced with the ribbon cutting to the hall, unveiling the plaque and dedication message which I gave from I Kings 8 which was Solomon’s dedication of the first permanent Jerusalem Temple. Solomon first blessed the congregation, which is the more important Temple of God. He then prayed for God’s presence in the Temple and the inspiration to the scripture I Kings 8:29 on the plaque. Then Solomon prayed that the Temple become an interest to the “foreigner” which I equated as a tool of evangelism to those outside of us. Finally, Solomon dedicates the building to God.
After the dedication, we had a short break followed by a question and answer Bible Study with Brennan and I. I spoke to the people about the new hall, their responsibility to make sure that it was kept clean and that windows always be clear and clean. I told them that this was THEIR place to worship God and that they were responsible for its upkeep.
I told them how important regular attendance was for church and the importance of tithing and participating in the working of the local congregation.
We talked some about LifeNets and what it has done to help. I also told them that we were going to uphold much stricter qualification standards for any kind of aid. We actually want to do more public projects such as building boreholes that benefit communities.
I also upheld Brennan Hilgen as the Ministerial Trainee under pastor Lewis VanAusdle in the management of the congregation and that he would continue on the themes that we brought up today. Brennan and Michala have already bonded with these people for the past 14 months and are respected by them. The respect comes from both Brennan's and Michala’s sincere love, devotion and care of the people.
Also, I upheld the service of deacons Haiton Thungula and Cephas Chapamba who have been the pillars of this congregation since 2011, when we had to cope with a few people who left us, but that damage has long been healed.
There were a few Bible questions and other miscellaneous topics that came up.
After the Bible Study Beverly gave out 32 solar lanterns to the congregation; one for each head of household. Each head of household formed a line and received a light. Cephas and Haiton took record of the families and marked initials on the lantern. Then, Beverly explained how the lanterns worked.
Then there was more fellowshipping and talking to individuals. Finally, we went back to the hotel. We also went out to an Indian restaurant in Lilongwe with the Hilgen’s.
Tomorrow afternoon Filius Jere will arrive here from Chipata, Zambia. He cares for the church there. We look forward to seeing him and his wife again. Last year at this time we visited him in Chipata.