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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Practical Theology

It wasn’t easy for Greg to decide how to conclude his Systematic Theology class at JMTI. With a 3 month interruption from COVID-19 and the final month’s classes held outdoors, it had been far from a traditional class. But if nothing else, Greg wanted to see if these future pastors had the theological understanding they needed to become spiritual leaders of their communities. So for his final exam, he asked the group to formulate questions that they might be asked as pastors in the village, and then he asked them to answer the questions first theologically and then in a way that an average church member could understand. Students asked and answered questions ranging from whether it is a sin for women to wear trousers to why so many infants die if life has a purpose.

His students referenced the Bible in their answers as they explained how evil can exist if God is all-powerful, and what it means if someone prays for healing but still remains sick. “Life really has a purpose and one of them is to glorify God…only God knows,” said one student, a conclusion that seems as poignant to our current global situation as it is to difficult situations in Malawi. “God uses people to minister healing unto people,” another student astutely concluded, a reminder of how even the most broken parts of this world give us a chance to reach out to others with grace and love. Greg’s students have a few more years to go before they are ready to graduate and lead congregations, but some of their insights were as helpful to me as they will be to future church members. Greg still has a way to go as he learns how to teach theology meaningfully in such a different culture, and together we are learning how to grow and change and serve in impactful ways.

As we near the completion of our first year at Nkhoma, we praise God that we have an opportunity to take two weeks of vacation to rest, reflect, and strategize for the months and years to come. The country is adjusting to new leadership which is intentionally trying to root out corruption, and Nkhoma Hospital is reaching a stride with COVID-19 preparedness and management. Even more changes are in the future for us. Half of the missionaries who stayed in Malawi at the beginning of this crisis will be finishing their terms or hoping to take brief trips home in the coming month, but with issues of immigration and flight cancelations, it is unclear whether they will be able to leave the country, or to get back in. Either way, some of our closest friends who we have shared dozens of meals and Bible studies with may be away for some months, and we could use your prayers and encouragement especially during this time.

This month, please join us in prayer

- For our fellow missionaries to be able to travel safely and to come back soon

- For the country of Malawi as the COVID-19 death rate increases alongside unemployment, abuse, and teen pregnancies

- For wisdom about priorities and directions as we move into our second year in Nkhoma

Thank you for your prayers and support, Greg and Christina

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