Hi all. The schedule is in reverse order, so that the most current updates will be nearest the top. We will be adding news and updates as the days go by. Please use this as a prayer guide. All dates are Lord willing (Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”).
December 14 (Tuesday) – Scheduled to arrive home. Hug. Cry. Thank God.
All the flights were ~ on time, and all our luggage made it! We thank God for the safe and uneventful travel (especially since the travel on the way to Malawi was safe but very unhelpfully eventful!).
HOME SWEET HOME!
December 13 (Monday) – Depart from Blantyre. Hug. Cry. Thank God.
I think Laura was a little misty-eyed, but no real boo-hooing. It was a very sweet parting with gratefulness all around, though.
Didn’t get our Covid results until we arrived at the airport and checked email (again!) there. All negatives!
Blantyre, Malawi => Johannesburg, South Africa => Paris, France => Atlanta, GA => RDU.
December 12 (Sunday) – Worship at Antioch Baptist Church. Jason preaching: Psalm 23. It was very sweet to be with the brethren at Antioch one last time before we are scheduled to depart. Paul White received an invitation to preach at a Reformed Presbyterian church, so he accepted that opportunity and then joined us for our Covid test (within 24 hours of departure required). We are awaiting the results. We made it back to Antioch in time for the end of the fellowship lunch and had a good amount of time to talk with everyone.
December 11 (Saturday) – The University Theology Bootcamp, Zomba. Jason preaching: (1) The Crucifixion, (2) Abiding in Christ. Imagine the privilege of preaching on the cross to 330 university students! About 200 were from Chancellor College, where it is likely that Maya will lead the effort to plant a church mid 2022.
The scheduled start time was 9:00 a.m., but that is loose based on all the transportation being provided for students from six campuses plus two additional locations. Because of difficulties with getting the sound system working and some late arrivals of min-buses filled with students (all chartered for the day by Antioch Baptist), we started at 10:30. Americans would be freaking out, of course (and I was trying hard not to), but delays are much more an accepted part of life here. Once we got going, things went well, we made up time during the course of the day, and we finished less than half an hour after the projected end time. The students were very attentive throughout the eight messages.
Antioch Baptist offered a sign-up sheet for follow-up interaction and Bible studies. That is something they did at last year’s bootcamp, and it gave them a year’s worth of ministry opportunities with the Chanco students.
December 10 (Friday) – Chancellor College book table (Zomba); open-air preaching and evangelism. There was no open-air preaching, but we did participate in the book table at Chancellor College and walk around the campus, passing out fliers for the theology bootcamp and talking with students.
The Chindongo’s have friends with a cottage on Zomba mountain, about ten minutes from the location for the theology bootcamp, so we are staying overnight there. We walked to a nearby hotel which has a troop of wild baboons (is there any other kind) who essentially roam wherever they want.
December 9 (Thursday) – Seminar for pastors and church leaders. Jason preaching: (1) The Lord’s Supper, (2) Preparing Men for Pastoral Ministry.
December 8 (Wednesday) – Free day, then Antioch Baptist Church Bible study in the evening. Jason teaching: “The Ordinary Means of Grace”. We all ran errands together during the day, and had a nice lunch out. We went to a store called “Build Africa,” which was very much like a Home Depot. The gap between what is available in the U.S. and what is available in Malawi is noticeably closing, although the percentage of the population that can afford many of these things is very small. The time with the church in the evening was an encouragement. My main point was that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need nourishment that will sustain us accordingly, and God has established practices and patterns as channels for His kindness and strength to flow into our lives, sustaining us throughout our marathon. I developed 5: your Bible, your prayer closet, your church, preaching, and the Lord’s Supper.
December 7 (Tuesday) – Late morning we went to Catholic University to pass out fliers for Saturday’s theology bootcamp. Without official permission, they are usually asked to leave at some point, but we were able to relate with many students, giving out two hundred fliers and having the opportunity to share the gospel a few times. Here is the flier:
In the evening, Mala and Rachel hosted the couples of the church for dinner and a time to exhort and encourage them about child training. With many, many young parents with children, this is always a significant opportunity.
These are pictures from a few days ago from the conference on the Holy Spirit, but Mala shared them with me and they are much better than any of mine!
December 6 (Monday) – Mala, Paul, Frank, and I left the house late morning to make way for some Antioch ladies to meet at the Chindongos to talk about homeschooling. Laura was able to address them from the perspective of a homeschool student, and to answer questions they had about the Dohmschool.
Meanwhile, Mala took us to run some errands, and showed us the plot of land they have purchased to eventually locate the meetings of Antioch Baptist Church.
My guess is that it is about three acres. You are looking at the sugar cane currently being grown on it. They could have a slab, tent, and bathrooms on it in a year or so.
This evening we met with the singles of the church at Masa/Mada’s house. It was a time to give them counsel regarding their single years, preparation for marriage, and our thoughts on dating relationships and courtship. You probably know what I told them: NO PAIRING UP PREMATURELY. Today was Masa’s 40th birthday, so we celebrated his birthday as well. It was such a tremendous blessing to see the tenderheartedness which so clearly exists between this elder and the young people he is shepherding.
December 5 (Sunday) – Worship at Antioch Baptist Church; Frank Maxson preaching in the morning, Paul White leading a Bible study at the College of Medicine in the evening. The worship service was wonderful. Frank Maxson preached on 1 Peter 1, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
There were thirteen attentive, participative students at the College of Medicine for a Bible study on the greatness of God. Two of them are seeking membership at Antioch.
December 4 (Saturday) – “Knowing the Holy Spirit” conference. Jason preaching: “The Internal Witness of the Spirit”. Another great day. A little over 200 participants today. Seven messages given, and they were all very good. I thought mine, which was the final message of a long day, went very well. I knew attention spans would be limited, so I kept the energy level high and pushed the pace, finishing fifteen minutes before my allotted limit (hold the smart remarks). Laura and I are looking forward to being with the brethren at Antioch Baptist tomorrow. We both have many new friends already.
December 3 (Friday) – “Knowing the Holy Spirit” conference. Jason preaching: Introduction to the conference, then “Jesus’ Teaching on the Holy Spirit”. Great day at the conference. Six messages given and they were all very solid. I was happy with mine (and I was a little worried about it beforehand). Something like 150 people attended, and Mala was pleased with how things went. The venue is very nice. The quote of the day was from Thomas Brooks on the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit: “His center is everywhere. His circumference is nowhere.” Think about that. The Holy Spirit exists everywhere at once with absolute focus and intensity, and He has no outer limits. There is nowhere to hide from Him – or to be beyond His almighty help.
December 2 (Thursday) – Original schedule: Free day, preparation, jet lag recovery! Actual occurrences: Got back on track, flying from Johannesburg to Blantyre, settling in with Mala/Rachel/Amelie/Claire, and having dinner with Masa/Mada (Masa is Mala’s co-elder). The ox tail was exquisite. That is no joke BTW. One of the meats was ox tail, and it was totally delicious. Laura highly approves also.
Ready for the conference to start tomorrow, and feeling much more rested and ready to rumble.
December 1 (Wednesday) – Original schedule: Arrive in Blantyre. One day off that plan, but making progress. After a refreshing Tuesday night’s sleep in airport chairs (sarcasm? me?), we boarded the flight this morning in Amsterdam, and everything was like clock work to Johannesburg, through immigration and customs and baggage claim, and finally to our accommodations for the night. Rachel Chindongo’s dad, who lives in nearby Pretoria, arranged transportation and accommodations for us – all excellent. We are very grateful for a successful day of travel, and Lord willing we’ll be with the Chindongos mid afternoon tomorrow.
November 30 (Tuesday) – In transit. Original schedule: Staying overnight in Johannesburg, South Africa with Rachel Chindongo’s parents. Nope. Made it to Amsterdam, missed the next flight, no flights to Johannesburg until tomorrow morning. So we have 24 hours to enjoy the Amsterdam airport, including all night tonight. The McDonald’s is exactly like home – no discernible taste difference, which is fine by me, what, with my unrefined palate. The Starbucks is first class. We just took another PCR test, this time of the brain-tickling variety, because the extra day in transit means yesterday’s results will expire before the final leg on Thursday (Lord willing).
November 29 (Monday) – Jason, Laura, and Paul White depart from RDU, meeting up with Frank Maxson in Amsterdam. Okay. An antigen test will get you into the U.S. and Europe. What it won’t do is get you checked in for a series of flights that terminate in South Africa. That requires a PCR test. Big problem. However, we got negative PCR tests in a big fat hurry, missing our first flight out of RDU but getting on what should have been a workable alternative. But when our flight out of NY was delayed over an hour and a half over what ended up being a non-issue / system error related to luggage, we arrived late into Amsterdam and missed our connecting flight to Johannesburg by probably ten minutes. At least Frank Maxson made it and is on schedule. If everything goes as planned from here, it will cost us one day and no preaching slots (the first preaching slots are on Friday). Two things learned: (1) God is wise in all His ways, and (2) I am bad at navigating the maze of international Covid travel requirements.