As one journey ends, a new one begins






The Makhutchas’ work in Mozambique will be supported by SIM Malawi project  #MW96753 Mission Advancement Fund

Revd Alan Alufazema, General Secretary of the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC), described Sunday 11 March 2018 as “an exciting time for the Church”. This was the day on which Revd Gusty Makhutcha was commissioned, along with his family, to become the first cross-border missionary sent from Malawi by SIM Malawi and the AEC

The Commissioning Service of Revd Gusty Makhutcha, his wife Elina and their five children, marked the end of one journey which started over a decade ago … and marked the start of a new journey from Malawi to Mozambique.

It was in 2008, as he completed his studies at the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM), that Revd Makhutcha first felt called to cross-border mission.

Prayer of Commitment: Pastors and missionaries pray over the Makhutcha family at their Commissioning Service at AEC Naotcha

“When I was at EBCoM I would have conversations with friends from Mozambique and I would hear stories of the need for people to take the Gospel to the Yao people,” he said.

“When I graduated I shared with the then General Secretary of AEC, Justice Maguza, and the then SIM Malawi Director, Ryan Hannah,  about my missionary call. They were in agreement for me to go, but since the executive of AEC felt there was a greater need for pastors to stay in Malawi at that time, I went to serve as a pastor in Salima.

“Two years ago, SIM missionary Watson Rajaratnam came to Malawi, and he worked with me and the AEC, and this has led to my being prepared, with my wife, to go and serve as a missionary among the Yao people in Mozambique. My main ministry focus will be evangelism to the Yao and discipling of new Yao believers,” he said.

This preparation has included language learning in Chiyao and Portuguese for both Revd Makhutcha and Elina, and improving English for Elina, as well as cross-cultural training and fact-finding visits to the SIM Mozambique team. They also spent time in Yao areas of Malawi, especially around the lakeshore, to help them practice their Chiyao skills.

The Commissioning Service took place at Naotcha AEC, the church at which Revd Makhutcha has served as pastor for several years. It was a great time of celebration when representatives from the National Government, Local Authority, Traditional Authority, church leaders, SIM Malawi leaders and missionaries and the Naotcha congregation came together to send off the Makhutchas and to welcome Pastor Robert Mbewe, and his wife, who have taken over the responsibility of leading the Naotcha church.

During the commissioning service, the congregation was challenged by SIM Malawi missionary Revd Jim Young who used 1Corinthians 12:27-13:13 as the main text for his sermon. He spoke about the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit, and how both are needed for a church to be a healthy missionary church. He called on all present to use the gifts we are given, in light of the fruit.

Fruit and Gifts: SIM Malawi missionary Revd Jim Young preaching on the Fruit and the Gifts of the Spirit at the Commissioning Service

“We need to be growing our faith and, as we do that, we develop the Fruit of the Spirit,” he said.

“We are like a tree planted by water, bearing fruit in all seasons, and as a Church we need to be encouraging people in their gifts so that as the Body of Christ we can work effectively. The work of the Holy Spirit, in this church, is to equip us to work here in Naotcha, in Blantyre, across Malawi and to the furthest parts of the world. In that regard we pray for the Makhutchas’ work not to be the last.

“People are going to catch the heart to go to other countries, to use that gift of relating to other cultures and, through that, we can support them. So, let us encourage one another today, let us grow as a Church in the Fruit of the Spirit as we exercise the Gifts of the Spirit God has given to each one of us.”

The General Secretary of AEC, Revd Alan Alufazema, spoke of his joy concerning the day, and gave the Makhutchas his best wishes as they start on their new adventure. He also admitted some people had had their doubts that this day would ever arrive, but that they had been proved wrong.

“Some people were saying that the AEC could not do it, could not manage to send a missionary to other countries,” he said.

“But I was convinced we could, because AEC is not a company; AEC is a Church, and the Head of the Church is God, and everything is possible to God! And that is why we are here today because the owner of this church is not Alufazema, it is not Makhutcha, it is not Mbewe or someone else, but it is God, and we move forward in His strength!”

In this, the 125th Anniversary year of SIM, SIM Malawi’s acting Director, Hans-Jörg Richter, paid tribute to the depth of partnership between SIM and AEC. Adapting Usain Bolt’s ‘lightning bolt’ celebration he used the idea of an archer to underpin the close working of the two bodies.

Litany of Commitment: Revd and Mrs Makhutcha praying the Litany of Commitment with AEC General Secretary, Alan Alufazema (words below) 

“I see Revd Makhutcha as the tip of the arrow, he is the one being sent. The shaft is his wife, and the flight feathers are the children, all of whom are behind him,” he said

 “Then we have the wood of the bow, and that is SIM Malawi. But still we cannot fire the arrow because we need the string and that is the AEC and all of you supporting the work. But still the arrow will not fly because we need the archer to fire it, and the archer is God.

“But archers also have a quiver which holds many arrows and we pray that the Makhutchas are not the last arrow to be fired by SIM Malawi and the AEC out of Malawi. I hope that in years to come we will be sending out many more missionaries in the name and authority of our Lord to bring His salvation and His love to unreached people.”

Just over two weeks after the Commissioning Service, Revd and Mrs Makhutcha, and Caleb, the youngest of their five children (the other four are remaining in Malawi to complete education courses) set off from Naotcha (see below) to start their next journey – a minimum of three years working with the Yao people of Mozambique. They go with the blessing, love and prayers of all at SIM Malawi and all involved with the Commissioning Service.


Litany of Commitment

GS: Lord we thank you for giving Africa Evangelical Church the privilege of partnering with you in your mission. We thank you for Rev Makhutcha, Amayi Elina Makhutcha and their children who have surrendered themselves to serve as missionaries. We are happy to present these servants of yours before you, O Lord.

At the same time as a Church we commit to pray for them consistently and to support them faithfully as they serve as God’s  representatives in Mozambique.

Missionaries: We present ourselves to you, thankful for your call to service, thankful for your provision for service, and thankful for your guidance in our service.

GS :We send these, your missionaries out as an extension of Africa Evangelical Church and ourselves to serve as missionaries in Mozambique, seeking your empowerment, grace, protection and wisdom for them.

Missionaries: We acknowledge we can do nothing without you, O Lord, and all that will be accomplished will be because of you and through you, Mighty God, in your Son Jesus’ name, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

GS: Use them, Oh God to share your Gospel to the unreached Yao people group in Mozambique. We pray that your presence, provision and protection would be sufficient to them as they begin their missionary journey today. Surrendering them into your holy hands, we ask this prayer in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen.