On my recent visit to Malawi, Herbie Venter introduced me to the most remarkable 3 men I have ever met this side of Zambezi river. It didn’t take long to hear amazing stories on how God was working in Malawi. This story just blew me away:
Bishop Harvey Chabinga walks hastily from his office towards his old Mazda 323. I can hear his word echo: “This car has never let me down throughout many years of service. It must be because I am distributing Bibles!!” He laughs heartily whilst weaving his way through the Lilongwe traffic. “Patience is the key here” he says as part of his continuous remarks.
Harvey is on his way to see a translator who is working on one of six books for Harvesters as part of the church planting strategy for Malawi. With around 18,000 new congregations to manage, there is very little time for the Malawian team to relax. Bishop Harvey and his team, Medson Gama and Anthony Banda—all pastors—have planted around 3,000 new congregations throughout Malawi during 2014. This is part of the strategy to accomplish “Saturation Church Planting” for Malawi. In between the busy roads and even busier schedules, the bishop’s phone rings. He answers and is his usual friendly self, but in an instant his face betrays that something is wrong. “One of my translators, a Godly man … just collapsed and is paralyzed” he says upset. He swings around his car against the traffic en drives to his pastor friend immediately.
Even before the seasoned Mazda 323 comes to a halt, bishop Harvey walks through the door of the modest home. The pastor is already lying in bed and tells his story with sadness.
“I was busy with the translation when I felt a sharp pain in my right arm which caught me off guard. The sensation of paralysis spread to my whole body and I literally fell of the chair.” Harvey’s hands automatically reach out to his friend and says a prayer. “But what about the translation?” the pastors asks immediately—his own paralysis set aside.
“Relax my friend,” Harvey says, “it is all taken care of … God is busy doing a miracle”. Harvey takes the important Chewa manuscript and after another prayer, he decides to drive to his own home. Here he sits and works through three days and nights to ensure that the translation will be done in time to be sent to the printer—such is the caliber of this mighty church planter who works without pause to ensure that the Kingdom of God steams ahead in Malawi.
It is a few warm days later when Harvey bumps into his friend in town. “I can walk … I am healed. My arm recovered!” Harvey is astonished and leans against a tree to hear the whole story unfold. “After your prayer I told God about my passion to make sure that the Church planting translations stay on schedule. I pleaded with God … and here I am. God answered your prayer within three days and mine too.” The pastor dances with excitement—that which was dead, lives again. They embrace one another. Harvey tries to explain that the book is completed … but after some debate the friend leaves with another book to translate.
Workers in the field are currently under attack on a large scale – soul, spirit and body. From Muslim radicals to attacks on families, leaders are being harassed … and others are suffering physically. Through all of this the work continues at a fast pace … Maranatha!