[Hans and Elly are alumni of the GFI training and use the resources effectively in Africa. Here is a report from them.]
Elly and I have taught the Exchanged Life using the Wheel and Line diagrams to groups of pastors, Christian leaders and also to villagers in Northern Malawi when we visited in May 2012.
About 1,400,000 Tumbuka speaking people live in the North of Malawi under very poor living conditions. This is the area where David Livingstone was about 170 years ago. Slavery in the past and more recently, AIDS have devastated these communities, destroying the values and skills needed for harmonious living. Love is not part of life, neither between parents nor toward children. Witchcraft and demon possession are common, causing fear and death.
These Malawians grow maize (corn) for food and some tobacco for cash. The poverty is astounding. People live in mud brick houses with leaky thatch roofs and work the land for a living. We work together with the Good Hope Team, which does a lot of humanitarian work and also shows the Jesus Film in each village they visit. We (the DCI Team) build on the Good Hope Team work by establishing one-on-one discipling and training leaders for multiplying Life Groups.
The Wheel diagram is a great help in teaching people to understand who they are in Christ. They realize that the problems in their life impact not only their daily existence, but also affect their bodies. We explained that once a person is born again, great help is available to make good choices. We taught them that the one in charge of their life (the one who is on the throne of life) determines whether they please God or not. As believers we can make choices based on what the Spirit tells us and based on God’s Word. The problem is not the problem, but how you deal with the problem is the problem.
The Line diagram helps people understand why we need to be born again. This is very helpful, because using the Line diagram people begin to understand that they belong to Adam’s family by nature and are lost. In order to be in Christ’s family we need to die to Adam’s family and be born again into Christ’s family and thus re-establish the spiritual relationship with God that was broken in the garden when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
At present our DCI Team in Malawi makes teaching the Wheel and Line Diagrams part of their teaching schedule when training leaders and also villagers. As the DCI Team goes into the villages they teach the Dynamic Churches International one-on-one discipling and also how to have multiplying Life Groups. The booklets we use in the native Tumbuka language also have the Exchanged Life teaching right in them as well.
Our teams (Good Hope and DCI) have handed out 22,000 Tumbuka New Testaments since 2012 and are handing out 30,000 more this year. These New Testaments, provided by the Canadian Gideons, are given to families, one to a family. The DCI Team seeks to establish Life Groups in the villages and train a Life Group leader/trainer so the vision for group multiplication can continue. Thousands are finding freedom in Christ through this process. The Malawians in Northern Malawi are very open to the Gospel. They have lost the understanding of how to live harmoniously together as a community and as a consequence a lot of dysfunction exists, not only on the family level, but also in their community. Once the Good News is preached and people are being saved, the whole situation changes. Alcoholism goes down, crime goes down, and families are beginning to live together in a loving relationship. We often hear them say, “We knew our life style was evil and wrong, but we didn’t know how to fix it. Now we know and we will change.” And they do, right away!
For more on their ministry, visit: northernmalawinews.wordpress.com