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Personal From the President: April 22, 2021

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Personal From the President

April 22, 2021

We’re continuing our Pentecost countdown with a few remarkable stories from UCG congregations around the world. Today we feature our locally-formed church in Nkhwazi, Malawi, tucked in on the border of Mozambique and Zambia.

I’ve asked our latest returning expatriates, Nick Lamoureux and his wife, Megan, to tell the three-year history of this congregation. You can see a more complete report with lots of photos at: https://kubik.org/the-nkhwazi-malawi-church/.

Malawi is a densely populated country of nearly 19 million people running along the Africa Rift Valley beside 360-mile-long Lake Malawi. It is rated as the fourth-poorest country in the world—yet it contains brethren who are rich in faith. I met my first Malawians at the Feast of Tabernacles in 1996 in Zimbabwe. Only one family, the only UCG family in Malawi, came to Zimbabwe to keep the Feast that year.

Since that time, Bev and I have visited Malawi many times. Churches have been established first in the capital, Lilongwe, then Blantyre. Over the years, there have been relatively few visitors to Malawi. They usually came at the Feast of Tabernacles, but we did have training seminars conducted by Darris McNeely and Steve Myers for our leaders. Beverly and I visited often for the spring Holy Days. And 15 years ago, our Feast of Tabernacles video highlighted our brethren in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

As the number of brethren increased, so did emerging leadership. In the last 20 years, we built congregational halls, dormitories and even storefront business venues.

In 2017, we sent Lewis and Lena VanAusdle to oversee the Lilongwe area. Along with them a young couple, Brennan and Michala Hilgen, also came over to volunteer and then stayed on after Lewis and Lena left. All this helped strengthen the congregation. Finally, in 2019, we sent over Nick and Megan Lamoureux.

The people in Malawi with whom we have a common spirit have become near and dear to us. We regret that we live 9,000 miles apart from one another. The LifeNets Developing Nations Scholarship Program has been most active in Malawi—with many being given the opportunity for a higher education and professional careers.

During the time of Brennan and Michala Hilgen, a five-acre plot of ground was purchased in Nkhwazi, only a few miles from where elder Cephas Chapamba lives. At first, its only purpose was to be a Feast site and a farm. But, curiosity overtook neighboring villagers and they stopped by the Feast site to visit. Our brethren invited them for a meal and fellowship. Then the visitors accepted an invitation for a Bible study. This developed further to regular Sabbath services and, as a result, people came to conversion and baptism.

Elder Chapamba, who along with his wife, Patricia, runs the Jumpha Clinic in Mchinji, regularly preaches there on the Sabbath and at Bible studies in the Chewa language. Because the Mozambique border is a few hundred yards away from the farm, some people who visit us speak Portuguese. We have provided them with Portuguese Boa Nova magazines and other literature.

Further use of this property has been for our youth. A United Youth Camp has been held here as well for teenagers from all Malawi.

You may want to read the report about my 2019 visit with Bev to Nkhwazi with Nick and Megan Lamoureux at http://v2.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/victorkubik/25/1556178836.

Also, when Nick and Megan lived in Malawi, they wrote an interesting blog called Out of Vermont which can be found at https://outofvermont.travel.blog/.

Major Subscriber Letter in May

In my upcoming subscriber letter going to 200,000 readers of Beyond Today magazine, we will offer the booklet What You Need to Know About Baptism. While this is a new title, it is the same content as our current booklet The Road to Eternal Life. But the new title is more direct, specific and action-oriented. We must speak about this important milestone in our lives with the same clarity and conviction as the Bible.

If you already have The Road to Eternal Life, it is not necessary for you to order What You Need to Know About Baptism. On the other hand, there are still those attending with us who may not have read it or know where their copy is stored. In that case, you may wish to read it online or order a personal copy.

The first call to action in the first Pentecost sermon was: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
). We still have people attending services with us each Sabbath who have not come to this vitally important event and milestone in the Christian life. Receiving the Holy Spirit is imperative for salvation: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11 Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
American King James Version×
).

This new title was posted yesterday on our website and you can view it at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/bible-study-aid/what-you-need-to-know-about-baptism.

Be sure to remember those who are sick among us. We know that we have no permanent place on this earth and look forward to eternal life in the Kingdom of God with joy. Let’s be grateful for God’s promises and the vision of eternity for all His sons and daughters.