As part of our purpose statement we are committed to “Sharing God’s Love with All”. Please take the time to read the story below, written by Neels Hubinger, as he writes about DMC’s involvement in Alpha in Malawi. If you are inspired to get involved in the mission work of the church, then contact the church office and they will put you in touch with the right person. In the meantime, enjoy the story below as it testifies to how mighty our God is and how His kingdom continues to unfold ……
Durbanville to Malawi – A Story of “Alpha” obedience…
Durbanville Methodist Church (DMC) has for the past 10 years, supported a missionary from their church, Maralise Potgieter in Nkhoma in the Lilongwe District of Malawi. This mission station was founded in 1889 by South African missionaries and today the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) – Nkhoma Synod consists of 172 congregations, more than 1 300 prayer houses with almost 2 million members.
Visits to Maralise
Annually, members from DMC visit Maralise to fellowship with her, strengthen relationships, encourage her in her ministry and bring gifts, blessings and resources from the congregation to support her work. Neels & Denise Hubinger are members of DMC who had just completed hosting an Alpha series at home in Durbanville, when they visited Maralise in October 2014.
During their visit, the principal of the local seminary at Josophat Mwale Theological Institute (JMTI) of the CCAP, Abusa (Reverent) Matalius Likhoozi, enquired with great interest about the Alpha series. He invited Neels to present an overview of the purpose, structure, content and practical elements of Alpha to a class of more than 25 theological candidates. Following a lively discussion after the presentation, the principal excitedly responded, requesting that Maralise and Neels investigate how they could help that the Alpha series can be presented as soon as possible to the 12 final year candidates who would complete their studies in June 2015. Matalius expressed a vision that the Alpha series should be incorporated into the final year curriculum of JMTI as an evangelism program, empowering and equipping new ministers for their ministry, before they leave Nkhoma after completion of their studies!
Request for assistance with Alpha
On return to Durbanville, Neels contacted the Alpha office in Cape Town. They were supportive and excited to do what was necessary to help launch this initiative. Preparations were made and training of two Master Trainers, Maralise Potgieter and a lecturer from JMTI busy with his Masters studies at the University of Stellenbosch, Rev Julius Siwinda, was done by Annalise Pietersen, Regional Coordinator in the Western Cape at the home of Neels and Denise in Durbanville.
With a comprehensive package of resources from Alpha Western Cape, Maralise and Julius returned to Malawi and immediately started the series at Nkhoma! An inaugural group of 33 people consisting of 12 final year theological candidates, four lecturers of JMTI with their spouses, diligently followed the Alpha series, ably lead by Julius and Maralise. The group could discover the elements of Alpha; wealth of knowledge, new practical learning, treasures of sharing thoughts and discussion and the overwhelming joys of fellowship, worship, swallowship (their word for enjoying food together) and learning that take place during an Alpha series!
Holy Spirit Day – 14th May 2015
DMC wanted to bless this new Alpha initiative in Malawi with gifts and support and Neels returned to Malawi to assist with planning, preparation and facilitation of the Holy Spirit Day on Ascension Day, 14th of May. All involved on the day could observe and experience how our loving God is faithful to his promises through Jesus Christ and the mysterious and majestic work of the Holy Spirit! God blessed this group of new ministers and their spouses during a day of humble submission to the Holy Spirit, prayer, restoration and worship. We were privileged to witness the empowering results of peace and joy when this new generation of “12 Disciples of 2015”, were filled with and renewed by the Holy Spirit! When prayed over by their lecturers of the past four years, in their own words, they experienced a “powerful release and empowerment” into their ministries in their new congregations…
Part of the Alpha group graduates
On 6 June 2015, 12 theological candidates graduated from the JMTI and become ordained ministers of the CCAP. Before the end of July, most will be posted to their new stations in 12 rural congregations all over Malawi. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the initial dedicated work of Maralise Potgieter and Julius Siwinda has borne first fruits and by the grace of God, will continue. The dream of Principal Matalius Likhoozi can now unfold and grow into a sustained and integrated Alpha Malawi program, not only in Nkhoma at the JMTI, but hopefully into the greater Malawi. An Alpha Malawi movement is pursued along the already established practices in 14 other African Countries and the Alpha Africa desk is very helpful in this regard.
I consider myself very privileged to be able to write a few lines in the beginning of the first chapter of this story… I am thankful and joyful to testify that through the grace of God, through humble obedience, through support of Alpha Western Cape, DMC, my church and my wife, Denise; we could observe how God works in mysterious ways to bring about his message of good news and blessings to his people, irrespective of where they are in the world…
I lift my eyes up and want to shout… Soli Deo Gloria!
Neels Hubinger Durbanville, South Africa, July 2015