Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends, One week from today – Monday, September 5 – Jason Dohm and Michael Templeton will be leaving for Malawi, Africa. Here is the schedule, as best as we know it at present, and here is where we will be posting updates throughout the course of the trip, so keep coming back for more! Please use this schedule as a prayer guide. We covet your prayers.
Mon, Sep 5, Depart for Lilongwe, Malawi (the capital, 1.9 million people).
Tue, Sep 6, Arrive in Lilongwe, where we will be hosted by Newton Chilingulo, Kennedy Kachingwe, and Emmanuel Mpeni of Reformation Bible Church. Meet and greet church members. Devotional at the Chilingulos.
UPDATE: We arrived safely, on time, and with all our luggage. Praise the Lord. We had the afternoon to settle in, several of the church members came over for dinner (by candlelight – welcome to power outages in Malawi…), and Jason led a brief devotion from Philippians 1 (surprise, surprise!). Mala, Rachel, and Amelie have come to Lilongwe as well, so it is great to see them, and the hospitality from Newton and Venessa has been fantastic. After two suspect nights’ sleep (we left for the airport at 3 a.m., and then sleeping on an airplane is subpar at best), it was early to bed. We both slept well.
Wed, Sep 7, In Lilongwe. Sola Scriptura (Jason Dohm). What Is the Gospel? (Michael Templeton). Cost of Discipleship (Newton Chilingulo). What Does It Mean to Be Born Again? (Jason Dohm). Prayer.
UPDATE: Both Michael and Jason preached twice today, and it went relatively well. Thank you for your prayers. Around 40-50 people were expected, and 70 came, so that was a pleasant surprise. The five sessions of the day were all closely associated with genuine vs. counterfeit Christianity, and the sessions worked well together.
Thu, Sep 8, In Lilongwe. Marks of a True Christian (Kennedy Kachingwe). Justification by Faith (Jason Dohm). Implications of Distorting / Abandoning the Gospel (Emmanuel Mpeni). Is Carnal Christianity Biblical? (Michael Templeton). Question and Answer. Complementary Roles of Church and Family, Part 1 (Jason Dohm). Complementary Roles of Church and Family, Part 2 (Michael Templeton).
UPDATE: It has been a very good day but a long day. The day began at 7:00 a.m. with Jason teaching on being born again at St. Luke Daeyang University, which is a local Presbyterian university. There were probably 100 students present, and there are expected to be many more than that tomorrow when Michael will be teaching. Please pray for that opportunity. After breakfast, we went to the conference, which finished well around 4:00 p.m. Attendance was about the same as yesterday, which is very good. Overall, the teaching was well received. The “pin-drop moment” of the day came when Michael strongly pressed the duty of family worship on this room full of pastors. Pray for fruit.
Fri, Sep 9, In Lilongwe.Time with the brethren of Reformation Bible Church.
UPDATE: Michael taught at St. Luke Daeyang University this morning, explaining the two great exchanges: the damning exchange of the worship of God for the worship of created things (Romans 1), and the saving exchange of the innocent dying for the guilty (2 Corinthians 5). It was warm but forceful, clear, and concise. Afterwards, since we had no further commitments in Lilongwe, we successfully traveled to Blantyre with Mala, Rachel and Amelie.
Sat, Sep 10, Travel to Blantyre (second largest city, 1.8 million people).
UPDATE: Jason had the opportunity to lead a Bible study at Catholic University this morning, teaching on the new birth from John 3:1-8 and Ezekiel 36:25-27. There were about a dozen students and most of them participated in the discussion at some point. In the afternoon, the Chindongos took us on a breathtaking drive through tea plantation country about half an hour from Blantyre. There are tea fields as far as the eye can see (I wish I knew how to add a pic from an iPhone…), and they are all harvested by hand for less than a dollar per person per day.
Sun, Sep 11, In Blantyre. The Lord’s Day. Jason Dohm preaching. Evening: Bible Study at Malawi College of Medicine (Michael Templeton).
UPDATE: We enjoyed a wonderful Lord’s Day with Antioch Baptist Church. Michael says there are three new babies since he was here in January. Church growth! : ) Jason preached on the grace of God in the life of Rahab. The service is very much like our own, including a weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper and fellowship meal. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many friends. Michael led tonight’s Bible study at Blantyre University’s medical school, continuing their weekly study through Romans. Tonight’s was on the gospel of Christ as the power of God for salvation.
Mon, Sep 12, In Blantyre. Time with Antioch Baptist Church’s single young men.
UPDATE: We spent much of the day running errands with Mala to get everything in order for the start of the conference on Wednesday. More than 200 are registered, which is phenomenal. Since there is no cost to attend, it remains to be seen how closely attendance will match registration. If everyone comes, we’ll be busting at the seams (a very nice problem to have, to be sure!). Once Wednesday arrives, it will essentially be wall-to-wall activity until we leave. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, preaching will start at 9 a.m. and end at 10 p.m., with few breaks between (the Sunday schedule is more forgiving, but with the same starting and ending times). Please pray that we will be given the necessary vigor for our schedule.
Tue, Sep 13, In Blantyre. Afternoon evangelism at Polytechnic (the engineering school of Blantyre University).
UPDATE: We now have about 185 chairs in the meeting room, along with an overflow area, and I think/hope everything is ready for tomorrow. A number of men of the church met late morning for a sweet hour of prayer. After that, several of us went over to Polytechnic for something like an hour of evangelism. It always amazes me how readily we are able to engage the students there. We split into two small teams, and both were able to engage multiple students fully with the gospel. People who are attending the conference from out of town started arriving this afternoon, some from as far as five hours away. Twenty-six are here from Lilongwe – they chartered a bus and came together. Most families in the church are hosting out-of-towners, and ABC has lined up local lodging for the rest.
Wed, Sep 14, The Knowing God Conference, Day 1 (1689 Confession).
Introduction, Chapter 1, Of the Holy Scriptures (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 2, Of God and the Holy Trinity (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 3, Of God’s Decree (Newton Chilingulo).
Chapter 4, Of Creation (Michael Templeton).
Chapter 5, Of Divine Providence (Julius Chapola).
Chapter 6, Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof (Malamulo Chindongo).
Chapter 7, Of God’s Covenant (Julius Chapola).
UPDATE: The 1689 conference is finally underway! There were roughly 100 in attendance today, which was less anticipated but still an excellent group. Since most do not have the liberty with school or work to be with us for four full days, attendance will continue to ebb and flow, even within a single day. Those in attendance were very attentive and engaged. Jason’s favorite session of the day was Mala’s on the Fall, sin, and the extent of man’s corruption, although all of the sessions were good. It is clear from the questions that election and free will are the hot topics that many are struggling with. Please pray that all of the speakers will be able to use Scripture persuasively to disarm these objections, and pray especially for Michael’s session tomorrow on free will. Let’s just say it is eagerly anticipated!
Thu, Sep 15, In Blantyre. The Knowing God Conference, Day 2 (1689 Confession).
Chapter 8, Of Christ the Mediator (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 9, Of Free Will (Michael Templeton).
Chapter 10, Of Effectual Calling (Kennedy Kachingwe).
Chapter 11, Of Justification (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 12, 14, Of Adoption, Of Saving Faith (Newton Chilingulo).
Chapter 13, Of Sanctification (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 15, Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation (Masautso Elias).
UPDATE: We had another good day today, with roughly the same number in attendance as yesterday. We are expecting an increase tomorrow and Saturday, but we’ll see. If not, I believe the attendance has still far exceeded all of our original expectations. Jason’s favorite sessions today were a three-way tie (is that cheating?): Michael on free will, which was well received and generated surprisingly little contraversy, Newton on saving faith and adoption (the J.I. Packer quotes were devastating), and Kennedy on effectual calling. All of the sessions were more than worthwhile. Thank you for your many prayers.
Fri, Sep 16, In Blantyre. The Knowing God Conference, Day 3 (1689 Confession).
Chapter 16, Of Good Works (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 17, Of Perseverance of the Saints (Emmanuel Mpeni).
Chapter 18, Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation (Malamulo Chindongo).
Chapter 19, Of the Law of God (Julius Chapola).
Chapter 20, Of the Gospel and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 21, Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience (Newton Chilingulo).
Chapter 22, Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day (Victor Nyirenda).
Evening: 7-10 p.m. The “2016 Gospel Tour”. Chancellor College, Zomba.
The Doctrine of Man and God’s Free Grace (Jason Dohm)
Christ’s Atoning Work on the Cross (Malamulo Chindongo)
Irresistible Grace (Jonathan Njiragoma)
The Perseverance of the Saints (Michael Templeton)
UPDATE: Attendance was up this morning, with an infusion of students from Catholic University, and down a bit this afternoon, maybe a natural attrition from all that teaching. I’m not sure… In any event, the sessions were generally outstanding. Malawi has a number of tremendously gifted preachers. Praise the Lord for that. The gospel conference at Chancellor College was well attended, with something like 55 students present. We finished shortly before 10 p.m. We will be thankful to be home in bed, hopefully within the hour.
Sat, Sep 17, In Blantyre. The Knowing God Conference, Day 4 (1689 Confession).
Chapter 23, Of Lawful Oaths and Vows (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 24, Of the Civil Magistrate (Jason Dohm).
Chapter 25, Of Marriage (Malamulo Chindongo).
Chapter 26, Of the Church (Michael Templeton).
Chapter 27, Of the Communion of the Saints (Michael Templeton).
Chapter 28, 29, 30, Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Of Baptism, Of the Lord’s Supper (Malamulo Chindongo).
Chapter 31, 32, Of the State of Man After Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead, Of the Last Judgment (Jason Dohm).
Evening: “2016 Gospel Tour”. Catholic University.
UPDATE: The conference finished well today, although with the number of people who had to travel a significant distance home, we were at maybe half strength by the very end. All in all, we would say that the conference was a very successful venture, starting with getting the confession in both English and Chichewa into the hands of more than one hundred people. It was clear that many of the attendees had had very little exposure to the doctrines of the Reformation. They now have a lot to study through to see if these things be so (Acts 17:11). A couple of days ago Catholic University revoked their approval for tonight’s scheduled gospel conference, so the Chindongos went over to host a smaller Bible study instead, and Michael and I stayed behind to get ready for preaching tomorrow. Michael will be preaching at Grace Baptist in Zomba, and I will be preaching at Antioch Baptist again. Please pray for those times.
Sun, Sep 18, The Lord’s Day. Michael Templeton preaching at Grace Baptist, Zomba, where Victor Pelete is pastor.
Evening: “2016 Gospel Tour”. Malawi University of Science and Technology.
UPDATE: Michael preached on Psalm 43 at Grace Baptist. There were some translation challenges, but even so it was a valuable opportunity to be with and learn about that congregation. Jason preached at Antioch Baptist on the purpose of the family, a very timely topic for those brothers and sisters. This evening we had our final evangelistic event at Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST). This is a brand new institution built with Chinese investment that is as modern and nice as any I have seen in the U.S. I haven’t seen anything remotely like it in Malawi. Some students from Catholic University who are active at Antioch Baptist accompanied us. When it appeared that the turnout was going to be minimal, they spread out and knocked on doors at the hostels (we would call them dorms), and before long around 80 students were present. The preaching was urgent and we hope that conversions did or will result. Mala belives this will definitely open up more opportunities for ministry on this campus.
Mon, Sep 19, Depart Blantyre.
Tue, Sep 20, Arrive home, if the Lord wills! (UPDATE: The Lord willed!)