A year of full-on life


Stephen Trebilco came to work with SIM Malawi from New Zealand. He worked extensively in children’s ministry and also, because of his background, as an intern with a local development company – Imani Development. Additionally, he was heavily involved with the Pastors’ Book Set Conference of 2013.

It’s an odd feeling to think that it’s nearly a year since I returned to New Zealand from Malawi; the time has gone by so unbelievably quickly. As I sit and write this, however, it doesn’t feel like a year. The faces of all the wonderful people I met are familiar (and stuck on one of my walls, actually!) and the memories of adventures with people and time spent sharing life and in fellowship with God have left an indelible mark on me.

Challenge for study

It was in Malawi that God challenged me to add theological study to my economics, and that is what I am obediently doing, without giving up my prior study of economics entirely, but changing the foundation of my work to one deliberately grounded in theology and willing to go anywhere once I finish the study at the end of 2015. I am utterly convinced it was the work of God during my time in Malawi which has resulted in me being where I am now and doing what I am now doing.

Words and thoughts into action

I’ve loved studying theology but am constantly reminded of the need to turn the words, thoughts and knowledge I’m gathering into action. There is a field to be worked here where I live, one with 350 first-year students and it’s an amazing ministry opportunity while, at the same time, it’s painful seeing the carnage created by lives lived outside of a relationship with God. In many ways, there is just as much need for labourers to work these fields as those in Malawi; it’s just a very different type of work, with 18-year-old NZ students compared to some Malawian school children!

Year of full-on life

It has been a year of full-on life. That said, it’s been a year of challenging re-introductions to life in New Zealand compared to life in Malawi. The humbling challenge of starting over when most of my close friends have just moved on from study has been hard.   It’s left space for some quiet in life but reminded me of the slightly more closed nature of society here in New Zealand, especially compared to the welcoming and warmth of Malawi. The joyful reconnections with my church family who sent me out to Malawi have been a highlight of the year as well.

The one thing I am certain of is that I am exactly where God wants me to be: studying theology, living a life of ministry and engaged in a church community here in New Zealand.

Result of Malawi call

This knowledge is a direct result of the call to Malawi - the obedience I showed allowed time and space for God to speak to me and guide my path, and revealed some of the purposes God has for my life.

And what’s ahead? The challenge of working for Treasury (a central-government department) over our summer in an internship and then returning to finish study in 2015. I’d appreciate any prayers for this work.

I do hope that I was used by God to leave an imprint on the hearts of those who I lived alongside, in a fashion that will last.

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