Malawi

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When Tim Endean and Kristopher Endean arrived after dark on a Thursday evening, the first thing they grabbed from their bag was a down coat. It is winter in Malawi. The days were pleasant and the nights cool. Because it is winter, darkness came by 5:30. And when the darkness falls, it is incredibly dark. The stars light up the sky. What a glorious display of God’s power and the beauty He has created. It was a wonderful place for camp.

Camp began sooner than expected! Saturday evening, as Tim, Kristopher, and Navigator, the Malawian host and camp director, sat in the kitchen, they could hear the distant sound of children singing coming across the fields. Navigator perked up nervously. “I’m scared—that they are coming here.” Over a dozen campers arrived by Saturday evening, rather than arriving at the Sunday afternoon start time. Camp started early!

This was the first camp for Navigator and his staff. Nearly all of the counselors had a strong Bible background from the local Bible institute. Many are already heavily involved in Bible clubs for kids.

The counselors were very eager. Even as Tim explained some games for the upcoming week, they begged to play. They participated well in discussions, took notes during training, and sang with energy. It was a great group of young adults! One counselor told Tim, “We have done youth ministry consistently for many years but never with this kind of training. This will be helpful for our ministry to youth even with an event next month.”

There were about 200 campers at this camp—maybe 120 girls and 70 guys. Within hours of the start, many counselors knew they had unbelievers in their group. This was an answer to prayer as opportunities to share the Gospel had been an ardent prayer. The counselors were particularly diligent about leading group discussions and pursuing conversations with their campers.

On the soccer field, Kristopher led neighborhood kids in an effort to remove scraps of brick that were scattered around the field. The campers played soccer as often as possible. The campers seemed unbothered by the bricks and other obstacles on the field—including two trees growing at midfield. They just played around them!

Many good evenings of fellowship were enjoyed with Navigator. He enjoyed saying, “Where there is fellowship, there is ‘swallow-ship’.” The link between food and community made the kitchen a natural gathering point. During these times of fellowship, Navigator shared his heart for ministry, the training of a new generation of leaders, and his desire to see camp play a role in that. He has plans to develop the property to serve the youth of Malawi even more effectively in the coming years.

Camp was a great success. The campers were well fed, well exercised, and well taught through the week. The campers and counselors are already excited for the next camp which will take place, Lord willing, around the same time next year.

Most importantly, some have come to know the Lord. On the second day, two had made professions of faith. Two souls. Two lives eternally changed. Even just those two make it worth it all, but by the end of the week that number was 72. Most of those decisions came from conversations the counselors had with their campers during their group discussions. By God’s grace, this is just the beginning of what He will do in the lives of hundreds and thousands of teens in the far reaches of Malawi.


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