By Kevin Linthicum
When you place people in the presence of the Almighty, the outcome is always life changing.
The 2016 Malawi team witnessed more than 9,000 people come to know Christ. The team’s journey began in November 2015 and peaked in Malawi May 26th – June 8th. The impact continues today.
Preparing for this journey, there were far more unknown factors than known. We knew for certain God had called and set our team aside for this time. Often the greatest work is done in the lives of the individual team members. This team was no exception.
In a dramatic turn, the Good Shepherd sought out two of our team members and through His mercy and grace brought these two lost sheep into His fellowship. For these two individuals God began working in their lives well before our journey began, in ways almost undetectable.
For Ryan, it may have been when God placed him before 1,000+ students at a school to communicate the gospel message. Maybe in those moments, he realized he was not in fellowship with the Father. It could have been that God spoke to Libby’s heart as many believers were being baptized, revealing the true power and authority of His Word.
It might have been during one of the cold nights of the Jesus film events when God began to communicate with Libby and Ryan the significance of a personal relationship with Jesus and the false sense of security they had based their lives on. Maybe it was as the film ended and the gospel was being proclaimed with the Holy Spirit drawing hundreds into fellowship with Christ that the hearts of Libby and Ryan changed.
I suppose it could have been during our day at the prison. Our team had the opportunity to deliver the gospel message to thousands of inmates. Everyone listened intently to Nicole speak about how God has rejuvenated her life. Nicole related her personal journey and struggle with drug abuse, and how these circumstances destroyed her life. Every person in the room focused on Nicole and the impact of the decisions we make in life. She completed her story by communicating how God has restored her life. As our group prayed for these women, the Holy Spirit was moving. When the gospel message was delivered by Gai Gai, God brought more lost sheep home.
It could have been during the Sunday morning worship hour that Libby and Ryan recognized a significant difference in the church services in the United States and what they were experiencing in Malawi. Ryan and Libby were experiencing for the first time what it means to worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
All in all I believe the total journey impacted the lives of Ryan and Libby in a life changing way. I am very concerned about anyone that can walk away from this experience and say they have not been changed forever. We serve an awesome God, and our team was reminded of that fact during our time in Malawi.