Evangelistic Festival Makes History in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, Aug. 25, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- Celebrating the culmination of a three-week long nationwide campaign in Malawi (East Africa), thousands of people gathered in the capital city of Lilongwe for an evangelistic gathering of unprecedented magnitude and impact in the country. The campaign-known as Love Malawi-was led by international evangelist Andrew Palau and was the result of more than four years of prayer and planning. In the end, Love Malawi mobilized thousands of Malawian Christians and more than 900 churches to share their faith, serve their communities, and come together in unity around a common vision to see all of Malawi embrace the love of Jesus Christ.
"There are tears today, because this is a dream come true," Hon. Rev. Mallison Ndau, Minister of Transport and Public Works for the country and an instrumental leader in bringing the campaign to Malawi, said of the festival on the first day.
"I am humbled to see this happen in Malawi. We have been blessed."
An unused field adjacent to the city's largest prison was transformed for the two-day evangelistic event into a venue which included a kid's area and children's stage performance led by evangelist Duggie Dug Dug from the United Kingdom, an action sports show with professional BMX and FMX athletes from the United States and South Africa, performances from local favorites Faith Mussa, KGB, Kamuzu Barracks Gospel Singers, Great Angels Choir, Suffix, the Love Malawi Choir, Dave Lubben, and more. The high moment of both evenings was a message of biblical hope given by Palau, followed by an hour-long set from internationally acclaimed worship leader Don Moen.
The tone of the day was celebratory as festival goers gasped at high-flying action sports stunts, children laughed as they enjoyed the kid's zone, and people sang along and danced to some of Malawi's most popular local artists. As the sun set behind the stage each evening, the crowd listened intently to Palau's words about the accessibility of hope, the reality of heaven, and the free gift of salvation.
Each night, thousands of first time decisions and re-dedications were recorded as people responded to Palau's Gospel message and met with decision counselors to pray. At the end of the second day, close to 20,000 decisions for Christ were recorded from the festival and previous three weeks of outreaches.
"I am a Malawian, and I have been looking for something like this, something that will make a great impact for my country, for all levels of people, from the executive to the street kid," Henry Kumwenda shared on the second day of the festival. "I can just imagine the transformation that is going to take place in this country because of the people who made decisions for Christ here."
The festival in Lilongwe was a fitting culmination to the three-week campaign, which included major evangelistic efforts in five other cities throughout Malawi. Partner evangelists Alan & Vicki Greene, Reid Saunders, P.J. Meduri, Richard Hamlet, Daniel King, and Keith Cook played pivotal roles in the extended campaign, leading outreaches in the cities of Ntcheu, Mzuzu, Zomba, and Blantyre.
Additionally, Palau partnered with Alan Greene to share the Good News at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Lilongwe. The camp is home to more than 20,000 refugees and asylum seekers from several different countries in Africa. The vibrant pastors' union within the camp-which includes more than 70 church leaders, many of whom are refugees themselves-helped coordinate the outreach effort. The evangelistic gatherings within Dzaleka were also supported by a local organization called "There is Hope," which works to facilitate opportunities for economic and spiritual growth in the camp. The result was a three-day long program featuring action sports, music, and the Good News. Christian Shusho brought much joy over the weekend as she performed Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Palau's wife Wendy and Greene's wife Vicki shared the Good News at a special gathering for women.
"In a nation where many people lack hope, getting the clear message of salvation is instrumental," Sean Kampondeni, a local pastor and member of the media subcommittee for Love Malawi, shared of the effort. "When people come to Christ, and they embrace fully by faith what God has done for them, they can trust God fully for what he can do to transform their communities, their families, with His help."
Throughout the week leading up to the final festival events, a number of outreaches took place in the capital city of Lilongwe. On August 18, more than 600 women gathered at Lilongwe's convention center to enjoy dinner and a message about loss and the comfort found in faith in Jesus from Wendy Palau, followed by an invitation to receive the Gospel from Andrew Palau. One of the women in attendance shared that she accepted Christ and immediately went home and reconciled with her brother, whom she had not spoken to for years.
The next evening, 580 business and civic leaders gathered for a similar event, which included a message from the country's beloved former vice president, The Right Honorable Dr. Justin Malewezi, and was attended by members of Parliament, the Presidential Cabinet, key business leaders, and several ambassadors and High Commissioners. The evening included an invitation to accept the Gospel from Andrew Palau, and a message about financial stewardship from Palau Association board member and financial advisor Scott Hanson.
In addition, dozens of local volunteers-many of them young people-worked at local clinics to distribute reading glasses, led outreaches for children with evangelist Duggie Dug Dug, and worked at a soccer camp. In addition, two local organizations mobilized a handful of doctors and nurses to help with the eyeglass clinics and a handful of volunteers from the United States, the U.K., and Zambia came alongside the locals to serve in each one of these aspects. Volunteers also helped train church leaders in sound engineering, sound dynamics, and videography for worship services. In addition, 2,000 people were trained in evangelism techniques, who in turn took their newfound knowledge to more than 300,000 people throughout the country.
"The Love Malawi festival is beautiful. It is one of its kind," Joseph Malambo, a local volunteer, shared of the campaign. "We have had crusades before, but this one . . . it is powerful. It is different. It has come at a proper time. At the end of it, we believe that God will bring about transformation for our country."
Rev. Grey Mwalabu, Love Malawi Coordinator and Deputy General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi, shared that one of the key aims of the festival was to facilitate positive change: "We are looking for transformation for every sector of society. Transformation is what is at the heart of the Love Malawi festival."
The Love Malawi festival is the eighth Andrew Palau festival in Africa, and part of a decade-long campaign to reach ten capital cities of Africa with the Good News of Jesus Christ. In 2012, Rev. Ndau traveled to Tanzania to take part in the Tanzania Festival with Andrew Palau. Upon his return, he gathered a committee of 20 pastors to begin meeting regularly to pray and plan for a festival in Malawi. Ndau later approached Rev. Francis Mkandawire, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi, to ask for his support-which he wholeheartedly gave. In 2013, the Luis Palau Association received an official invitation from the Evangelical Association of Malawi to hold the festival in Lilongwe.
"As the church, we consider this festival to be very timely. Right now, we are passing through a lot of challenges. Malawi has always been a God fearing nation," Mkandawire shared. "We are looking at this festival to restore those values. We're doing that in our own churches, but that was not enough. Now, we are doing it together."
Local churches will work to follow up with each decision maker, helping to connect them with a congregation and provide follow-up materials, including more than 100,000 copies of the Gospels and other powerful resources provided by Bibles for the World.