Namikango Mission

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Greater Impact

Jul 8, 2015

by Ben Hayes

Soon after our coming to Malawi, one of our staff members talked to us about the future plans for the Mission. He emphasized the need for a strategic plan to help guide us in planning for what is ahead as this had not yet been done in a comprehensive manner here at Namikango. This sounded reasonable and during the 2 years since then, we have gone down this very exciting road. Our first step after those initial discussions on the need for a strategic plan was to begin brainstorming with our key staff members . . . we started dreaming together. We gave a questionnaire to the staff to get their input on:

· where we now are,
· how things were in the past, and
· what they would like to see in the future.
Many good ideas came from this; high on the list of things to strive for in the future were the following:
· become self-sustaining as a mission,
· begin vocational training (skills, carpentry, etc…), and
· approach our ministry in a more holistic manner
(consider the complete, whole man).

Namikango has always combined service with Bible teaching as we do with the Maternity Clinic, our partnership with the Malawi Project, Ntonda Primary School, World Radio, etc…, but in this case the staff meant that we should evaluate our Bible School and outreach ministries to see where we could improve in the way of broadening our teaching to reach all the needs of the people we serve. Some suggestions were presented such as to include teaching about agriculture, finance, micro-finance, counseling, and HIV/Aids Education along with our teaching about Christ. The WHOLE man needs to develop all areas of his life. Since the Mission is looked upon as a place where churches can seek guidance and a place that has access to many resources, we can become an open door for greater impact on the people we serve.

Included in this questionnaire toward a more complete approach was the desire to see the Namikango Bible School (on campus) expand to include a curriculum taught in English. This opens the door for more resource and better material for training, as well as a degree that is more marketable for students who come through the program. In addition, the Maternity Clinic was discussed with the desire to see it take on an outpatient clinic, a pharmacy and perhaps a laboratory. It was very exciting to see these ideas coming from our staff.

Soon after this, we began discussing together what (1) our Vision Statement, (2) our Mission Statement, and (3) our Core Values should be as we move forward.

We discussed why this was important. We asked staff to contribute their thoughts and we began to develop these important plans. We found all of these discussions as vitally important as we looked to the future . . . And . . . as we continued to pray, we began to see God giving us some clarity. One day after we had had these vision planning discussions, Ryan took us through Community Health Evangelism (CHE) training, which is a ministry approach that he and Justine had used while working in Kenya. It is a broadened view of evangelism and discipleship combined that looks at the whole person/community, and seeks to repair the root problems to bring healing all the way to the surface. The goal is to bring about the "abundant life" that Jesus talks about in John 10:10; physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. As Ryan was talking – and the truths from Scripture that he was speaking of were sinking in – I suddenly realized that God was giving us direction. We had already spent a lot of time in prayer, seeking God’s direction, and He was answering our prayers about broadening our outreach in ways we never dreamed, especially when he sent Ryan and Justine to us. This is the very thing they are trained in - Plus , several other visiting speakers advised us along these lines. A few months ago, Sam Shewmaker from Mission Resource Network came and held a discipleship workshop that expounded on the discipleship approach that emphasizes – save the complete man: body, mind, and soul.

I’ve heard it said, “If you see something very similar said or done three different times in different places, pay attention, because the Spirit may be saying something to you.”

After months of concentrated prayer about this, we saw God affirming the direction our vision should take, and we have been given the training and tools to carry it out. The Mission Board has reviewed this and shared our desires in this broadened approach to reach the whole man.

Almost all of our key staff members have been trained in Christian Health Evangelism, with further training still to come this year in August. We are evaluating our current ministries based on what we have learned as well as praying about the community of Thondwe where we live and how we may further reach some of the people we have not yet reached, people who are right in our midst, our neighbors.

In order to fulfill these lofty dreams a lot of tools are required and the tools at hand are getting old. They have served us well over the past 50 years but buildings and facilities are slumping from the wear and tear. They have done well but they are just getting old. We have been told by many what we already know, “You need to upgrade your facilities.” Yes, we know this; but how, where do we begin?

Once again we lean on the Lord to pave the way.

Thanks in large part to Brother Sidney Vaughn, a team of engineers from America called EMI (Engineering Ministries International), a non-profit organization, visited us last week to aid us in developing realistic plans for upgrading our facilities, etc. We will have more details about this next month.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: English is encouraged in Malawi and it is taught in schools, but villagers still speak Chichewa as their primary language, plus, our Village Bible Centres teach in Chichewa, so an English course would be a step ahead.) SV