In-depth training goes north






The In-Depth Training Course is supported by SIM Malawi project #MW96653 Mthenga Wabwino* (*Good Messenger)

When the first set of students graduated from the 2016 Mthenga Wabwino In-Depth Course, the General Secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod asked that the course be taught in the Northern Region of Malawi. March 2018 saw this request become a reality

Commitment is vital when it comes to training. Commitment to joining the course is one thing; commitment to seeing the course through to the end is another. But imagine the commitment of church leaders in the far North of Malawi undertaking 26-hour round trips, twice a month, for eight or nine months, to take part in the Mthenga Wabwino In-Depth Course held in Blantyre.

New course: Delegates and church leaders on the first Mthenga Wabwino In-Depth Course to be held in the North of Malawi

For the last two such courses, in 2016 and 2017, that was a reality for a determined number of students who travelled from the North to take part in the course.  But now, the latest course has moved out of Blantyre and it is the facilitators who are making the journey to Mzuzu in the North to deliver the training.

“The In-Depth Course is designed to help people reach out to their Muslim neighbours and to those from other world faiths or no faith,” said Mthenga Wabwino Team Leader, Nico Bontenbal.

“In the few years it has been run, it has proved to be a very popular course, and we are now seeing people who have graduated starting to mobilise their own churches and denominations into this outreach work.”

The 2018 course, which is running from March to November, is based in Mzuzu district. Twenty-four students attended the first session, with seven of those being women, a much higher number than on previous courses.

“It was encouraging to see so many women starting this course,” Revd Yunusu Mataka, Mthenga Wabwino’s Team Leader Designate.

“Women in Malawi are starting to see that they have an important role in reaching out to their neighbours, and they want to be trained to improve their knowledge and skills so they can do this.”

The course was officially opened by the Moderator of the CCAP Livingstonia Synod, Revd John Gondwe and the General Secretary, Revd Levi Nyondo. Revd Gondwe spoke of the need for unity among the Churches (there were a number of denominations represented on the course), the need for the Church to reach out to neighbours and also to be involved in wider missions.

Welcoming words: Moderator of the CCAP Livingstonia Synod, Revd John Gondwe opens the In-Depth Training Course in Mzuzu

One of the pastors on the course, Revd AHC Makwakwa from the Lilongwe Presbytery of CCAP, has high hopes for the course: “I hope that we can form a community on this course and work to make Malawi a Christian country. My desire from this course is to find out how I can work to help bring this about.”

As the new course gets underway, Yunusu Mataka is already looking to the future and how to get the widest possible coverage for the course across the country.

“There is no doubt that Islam is spreading in Malawi, especially in the North of the country,” he said.

“It is important that we educate the Church about this and give people the tools they need to reach out to their neighbours. I think in the future we may have to run multiple courses concurrently, in order to maximise our training.

“There are four areas won which we need to concentrate, The North, Central and Southern regions of the country already have significant work taking place. But an under reached area is the East of Malawi, in areas around Mangochi, Balaka the Lakeshore and this is a vital area for us to tap into.

“We have a group of people in the Southern Region whom we have trained to deliver the In-Depth Course, and we hope to be able to mobilise them to help with future training. But we will also have to train more to help with this work to run multiple courses.

“But for now, we must ensure that the Mzuzu course is delivered well and that the students gain the knowledge and skills they need to reach out to their neighbours. It will be hard work but, by God’s Grace, it will succeed,” he said.

In-Depth Course

Prayer Points

Please pray for

Delegates: that the zeal they have shown to attend the first session would be maintained, especially as they have a lot of reading to do between sessions

Safety: for the delegates and the trainers as they travel to and from the sessions

Co-operation: between the Churches represented on the course, that they can work in unity

Finances: for the students, both those sponsored by their denomination but especially for those who are self-funded