Refugees, Reconciliation & Restoration: A Time Spent in Malawi

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On our first day in the capital city of Lilongwe (pronounced: Lil-long-way), I noticed something that I hadn’t seen since a previous visit to a certain West African country: which was a number of military personnel on the street.  For many African countries this isn’t anything unique, but for some reason I had a vision of a political uprising and saw may solders on the street of Lilongwe with chaos and fighting. The vision moved me quite a bit. When we finally got to the B&B where we were staying, I was moved to spend time in prayer over what I saw in that vision.

That evening we had a powerful worship service at our FOIC affiliate church, Mt. Zion Worship Centre, with Pastor Martin Thom. Bishop Crudup preached in that service and then ordained about 30 pastors and one Bishop.

The following day I was to minister the morning and afternoon session during the conference we were attending at Pastor Thom’s church.  They gave me two 1.5-hour sessions to preach (and of course I preached all 3 hours) but first I had the whole church cry out to God for Malawi.  I told them what I saw and that it was our responsibility as the church to carry the nation in prayer.  So we prayed LOUD for about 30 or so minutes in intersession to God for Malawi.  I felt that God was honoring our prayers and that history was changing.  The lord moved!  Consequently, because of the strong prayers and that hard preaching, I lost my voice for a number of days.

I preached first on the “Whole Council of God’s Word” where I covered 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Romans 8 and John 1 and pointed out the infallibility of God’s word, the end time sins of the church, how we have a new lifestyle but not a new life and how we are to become the Word made flesh in the earth.

My second session was about your “Unlimited Potential” based off of Ephesians 1:19 where it says, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness (another version says, Unlimited Greatness) of God’s power for us who believe in Him, this same power that raised Christ from the dead…” During that session I covered true inner strength – pushing past yesterday’s pain for success today; Endurance – opposing opposition; Growth – facing the negative head on, and how motivation is temporary, but true enduring Grit comes from the inside (…Christ in you) and lasts forever (…the hope of Glory), “…Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame” Isaiah 50:7

The response was incredible!  I could see that even though after many hours of ministry that day the people were still on the edge of their seats listening and responding to every word.  Although I had an Interpreter, we had a flow like I hadn’t had before with other interpreters in the past.  Even my Interpreter was impacted.  He was not only repeating the words that I was saying, but also listening and the Lord was ministering to him.  All I can say was, “Thank you Lord!” I just remember sitting down as they were clapping in appreciation of the word and I said to God, thank you for allowing them to receive what you gave me to tell them. I thanked Him for bringing the increase in their lives.

The next day, Sunday was wall-to-wall activities. We visited Capital City Baptist Church- the church that Bishop Joseph pastored for over 7 years – and again to Pastor Martin’s church. Again that evening there was more ministry and a few more ordinations of church leaders as the conclusion of Pastor Thom’s conference.

IMG_2360On Monday, we visited the Malawian Parliament and met with Dr. Lazarus Chakwera – the opposition party leader to the current President – a man whom many believe will be the next president of Malawi. Bishops Crudup and Henry both know him well and worked with him in the past during his last election run. I could tell that he is a man of God and integrity.  He even made it clear that he just wants so serve his people to “right the ship” so that the next generation can continue.  He’s unlike most “for life” politicians of Africa, like the presidents of Uganda – Yoweri Museveni, Republic of Congo – Denis Sassou-Nguesso and now the forced out Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.  He really wants to make a change in his country and then help the young people take it to the next level.

IMG_2388On Tuesday we visited the Dzaleka (pronounced Za-leka) Refugee Camp, which was established in 1994 by the UN in response to the thousands fleeing genocide, violence and conflict in Burundi Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. Today, in a camp that was only planed for 6,000 people there are well over 28,000 refuges that live in Dzaleka. Unfortunately, Malawi denies refugees the right of movement out of the camp. If a refugee leaves the camp they will be arrested, harassed and taken back to the camp. As a result, Dzaleka is full of people from all walks of life: professional and non-professional, gangster and academic alike who fled to protect their lives, but cannot start life over again. Dzaleka has very little infrastructure, frequent water shortages, scourged with malaria and tuberculosis, no housing, dwindling food rations, and violence. With all of this against them, God is still doing something special in their midst.

That morning we visited a church that Bishop Joseph planted called the Dzaleka Christian Community Church where our team was to speak at a Pastors and Leaders gathering. There were about 50 or so Pastors and church leaders in attendance, almost all of whom were Congolese. As we were walking into the church I heard one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard leading the church in worship. It was a Congolese woman dressed in a beautiful red dress leading the church in worship. I was taken aback.

I was allowed to be the first to minister, but before I began my message the Lord pressed on my heart to prophesy over her. I told her that I see her singing to the Lord in the early morning by herself with a heart of true worship. I then spoke a new destiny over her life and prayed over her. She was deeply moved to tears and the people around her were in agreement with what I was saying. I then began to minister on Forgiveness and Repentance and how it restores relationships, families, and nations. I had revealed to them that my mother did a DNA test on my family paternity and found out that I’m 23% Congolese and told them about the African Slave trade to America. They all applauded with gladness. I then told them if I had more time I’d wash all of their feet as a sign of humility and reconciliation, but I could not and moved on. By the time I was done, again they were on the edge of the seats but I only had 30 minutes this time and had to allow time for the others who were to follow me. But what happened when I finished speaking shifted something in that place.

When I completed my talk, Bishop Henry called for them to bring water, a basin and towel, thus allowing me to wash at least one person’s feet. I had called for a gentleman in the front row that was a pastor to come forward and I began to wash his feet while unraveling what Jesus did in John 13. Powerful. The congregation was moved. Bishop Joseph was in tears and the Pastor who was getting his feet washed was humbled and grateful. All the other messages that went out after that was powerful and impacting all in alignment with God were saying to the people.

All of this is to say we had a powerful purpose driven time and I’m eternally grateful to God who allowed me to serve Malawi.

– Marshall Grant

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