Love Malawi “A Dream Come True”
To celebrate the culmination of a three-week long nationwide campaign in Malawi (Africa), thousands of people gathered for an evangelistic gathering of unprecedented magnitude and impact called “Love Malawi,” with international evangelist Andrew Palau. The campaign—which was four years in the making of conversation, prayer, and planning—mobilized thousands of Malawian Christians and hundreds of churches to share their faith, serve their communities, and come together in unity around a common vision to see all of Malawi embrace the love of Jesus Christ.Watch video report >
“There are tears today, because this is a dream come true. I am humbled to see this happen. In Malawi, we have been blessed.” - Rev. Mallison Ndau, Minister of Transport and Public Works
An unused field adjacent to the city’s largest prison was transformed for the two-day event into a venue which included a kid’s area and children’s stage performance led by evangelist Duggie Dug Dug, an action sports show with professional BMX and FMX athletes from the United States and South Africa, performances from local favorites Faith Mussa, KGB, Kamuzu Barracks Gospel Singers, Great Angels Choir, Suffix, the Love Malawi Choir, Dave Lubben, and more. The high moment of both evenings was a message of biblical hope given by Palau, followed by an hour-long set from internationally acclaimed worship leader Don Moen.
The tone of the day was celebratory as festival goers gasped at high-flying action sports stunts, children laughed as they enjoyed the kid’s zone, and people sang along and danced to some of Malawi’s most popular local artists.
As the sun set behind the stage each evening, the crowd listened intently to Palau’s words about the accessibility of hope, the reality of heaven, and the free gift of salvation.
"On behalf of the participating Churches and the Evangelical Association of Malawi leadership, I would like to sincerely thank the whole Luis Palau Team for the unique and powerful ministry that has shaken our nation for Christ. People are still talking about the Festival. It has gone down in the history of this country as the largest Christian gathering ever. When we hear comments such as “it was massive!," “it was powerful," “It was a taste of heaven," “It was unprecedented," we know that God’s presence was with us during this Festival. To God be the glory!" - Francis Mkandawire, General Secretary of Evangelical Association of Malawi
The festival in Lilongwe was a fitting culmination to a three-week campaign that included partner evangelists Alan & Vicki Greene, Reid Saunders, P.J. Meduri, Richard Hamlet, Daniel King, and Keith Cook leading outreaches in several other cities in Malawi—Ntcheu, Mzuzu, and Blantyre. In addition, Andrew partnered with Alan Greene to lead an outreach in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp, and Wendy Palau partnered with Vicki Greene to lead an outreach event for women in the camp.
In addition, more than 600 women gathered on August 18 at Lilongwe’s Convention Center to enjoy dinner and a message about loss and the comfort found in faith in Jesus from Wendy Palau, followed by an invitation to receive the Gospel from Andrew Palau. One of the women in attendance shared that she accepted Christ and immediately went home and reconciled with her brother, whom she had not spoken to for years.
The next evening, hundreds of businessmen and civic leaders gathered for a similar event, which included a message from the country’s beloved former vice president and was attended by members of Parliament and the Presidential Cabinet, key business leaders, and several ambassadors and High Comissioners.
“In a nation where many people lack hope, getting the clear message of salvation is instrumental. When people come to Christ, and they embrace fully by faith what God has done for them, they can trust God fully for what he can do to transform their communities, their families, with His help.” - Sean Kamponendi, local pastor
Also as part of the campang, dozens of local volunteers—many of them young people—worked at local clinics to distribute reading glasses, led with Duggie Dug Dug at children’s outreaches, and worked at a soccer camp alongside a handful of volunteers from around the world. Two local organizations mobilized a handful of local doctors and nurses to provide health screenings throughout the city. In addition, 2,000 people were trained in evangelism techniques, who in turn took their newfound knowledge to more than 300,000 people throughout the country.See more photos from Malawi > Watch Malawi Video Report >
August 21 – Final Day
As the sun set in Malawi this evening, I was remembering the scripture that tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Tonight, thousands of Malawians joined in a chorus of “Thank You, Lord” as a slight breeze blew through the crowd and the sunset lit up the sky with color behind them. It was just one of many moments of this week in Malawi to savor, because the Lord has done amazing things here!
The day began with the children’s zone and children’s main stage performance with Duggie Dug Dug. With the help of a few mission team members, they put on a great show. Afterwards, there were children streaming into the counseling tent! The BMX and FMX performances followed next. Vic Murphy, John Andrus, and their team were definitely a highlight of the festival for the local Malawians. They performed a great variety of stunts (the front flip was a hit!) and then Vic shared the Gospel with the already attentive crowd. The FMX team followed with some truly spectacular stunts. I think Malawi may have more action sports in the future, judging from the reaction of the crowd!
Several local artists were up next, including KGB, Suffix, Faith Mussa, and the Kamuzu Barracks Singers. The crowd was lively and excited, with people dancing and singing along to the music. Then, Dave Lubben performed a few worship songs and introduced Andrew.
The crowd was again very attentive as they listened to Andrew’s message. There were more people in the audience today—apparently there was a soccer game the night before which had made the crowd a bit smaller. The counselors were also placed directly in the crowd (rather than just at the counseling tents on either side of the stage), so people who wanted to find a counselor wouldn’t have to leave their spot—after all, Don Moen was up after Andrew! The amount of decision cards I saw being processed tonight looked amazing—I’m not sure of the exact numbers yet, but I know that there were many, many decisions tonight!
As Don Moen was singing, I ran into Lucy—the local festival assistant coordinator. I asked her what she thought of everything, and I loved her response: “I climbed up on the stage today, and I saw all of the people, and I just cried. Malawi . . . we have been so blessed.” Every local volunteer or pastor has expressed the same thing—an event of this magnitude is unprecedented in Malawi, and the locals are so thankful for what has happened here. It truly is something special—I know I will never forget it!
Day 1: Love Malawi Festival
August 19 Update
It was another great day in Malawi as the festival begins tomorrow. The eyeglass clinics wrapped up today and amazingly we have distributed all 10,000 pairs of reading glasses! The local volunteers as well as a team of interpreters have done a great job this week with the clinics.
Decision maker at an eyeglass clinic.
Volunteer checking up on visitor to one of the eyeglass clinics.
Andrew sharing the Good News at an eyeglass clinic.
Andrew spent the morning doing several interviews with national media and Don Moen. Don is very popular here in Malawi! This is Don's first visit to Malawi and the excitement within the church for his being here is off the charts. They conducted one Christian radio interview and three TV interviews. One of those outlets was MBC - Malawian version of the BBC.
Andrew sharing the Gospel at one of the many evangelistic events this week.
Tonight we also welcomed 14 delegates from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Zambia,and Zimbabwe who are here to see the festival with the hope of hosting a future Andrew Palau Festival in their own nations. Our final day of outreach before the festival also included the final day of the soccer outreach. Hundreds of kids heard the Gospel as NGA evangelist Torrey Babb shared the Good News at halftime.
Children’s outreach event.
Vic, John, and Joey gathering the kids so they can share the Good News.
Vic Murphy sharing his testimony with the kids.
Children raising their hands in commitment to Jesus.
I (Brittany) wanted to share an encouraging story from the week. I talked to an American from Florida at the prison outreaches. I began to ask him what brought him to Malawi. He shared that he had always felt called to Africa, but he didn't think it was possible. After his wife passed away two years ago, he decided to move to Malawi and is now working with a local church to begin a ministry for inmates who are released from prison, helping them get back on their feet. He shared that the ministry was unable to make much headway in the prison system, but with the Love Malawi team leading the way, they will have a much better chance of getting the ministry off the ground. It's encouraging to see how the festival is already having long term impact!
Andrew helping distribute supplies to the juvenile detention facility.
Pray for the festival tomorrow! It begins at 11 AM with the children's area, then BMX at 2 PM, and finally music and Andrew's message at 4:45pm (7:45am PST). Randy Glanz and the team preparing the venue have created one of the best venues we have had yet for one of our African festivals. Now pray for thousands to come out and for a wave of salvation. It's time!
Kids enjoying the music before the Gospel is shared.
“Today is the day of salvation!” 2 Corinthians 6:2
August 18 Update
"As the Church, we consider this festival to be very timely. Right now we are passing through a lot of challenges. Malawi has always been a God-fearing nation. We are looking at this festival to restore those values. We're doing that in our own churches, but that was not enough. Now, we are doing it together." – Rev Francis Mkandawire
All week we have seen the outpouring of God’s spirit on Malawi. From the refugee camp to the youth correctional facility. From the women’s dinner to the press conference. From the children outreaches to the eyeglass clinics. And that’s not to mention the multiple evangelistic festivals that have taken place throughout the nation all month long in partnership with NGA evangelists!
It is clear – the people of Malawi are hungry for God’s word – and so responsive to the message of salvation. And the local believers are finding renewed vigor and passion as we help them unify under the banner of evangelism.
It’s been a crazy week. And a crazy month. But God is truly answering our prayers. The major festival in the capital city of Lilongwe is this weekend, yet already we have seen thousands come to faith through Love Malawi Festival!
This morning was the second prison outreach. This prison houses more than 2,600 people, both men and women. When we arrived, all of the inmates (or close to all!) were gathered into a large enclosed field. It was one of the hottest days of the week and the sun seemed to be beating down right above where we were sitting! The program kicked off once again with a prison choir and was followed by several speeches by prison officials. Dave Lubben shared his testimony and then sang a few songs in Chichewa. Vic and John performed BMX stunts (with a lot more room this time around) and were met with applause and cheers--BMX is a hit in Malawi!
Andrew followed Vic and John, and shared a great message with the inmates. At the end, hundreds of them came forward to pray with a counselor. As it turns out, a former inmate who is now a volunteer at the prison held a counselor training for the event, and more than 50 inmates were trained as counselors! (That’s a first!!) One particular man asked to pray with Andrew specifically after the program, and he accepted the Lord.
Andrew preaching at the prison
This evening was the business leaders dinner. There were many high-ranking officials in the audience, including the High Commissioner of Zambia, US Ambassador, leader of the opposition, Head of the Military and many more. The first speaker--the former Vice President of Malawi--shared a moving speech about leadership. Don Moen also performed, as well as Dave Lubben. LPA board member Scott Hanson shared his testimony as it related to business and leadership, and was followed by a presentation of the Gospel from Andrew tailored to fit the crowd. It was a great evening! The US Ambassador had indicated she would have to leave early as her office had double booked her. Once the evening got going she seemed to be listening Intently. It was amazing to see that she stayed all the way through Andrew’s message.
Andrew at the Business & Civic Dinner
Excitement is building for the festival here in Lilongwe, and the local Christians are truly believing God for big things!
"The biggest element we are looking at is transformation . . . We are looking for transformation for every sector of society. Transformation is what is at the heart of the Love Malawi Festival." – Rev Grey Mwalabu
August 17 Update
Today was the first of two prison outreaches in Malawi. It was held at a juvenile correctional facility in a bustling shopping center. The facility itself is contained with a rickety wire fence and consists of a few threadbare buildings and a concrete courtyard, which is where the festival was held. The facility houses only boys who are for the most part under the age of 18 but there are exceptions. The entire prison--except for just 4 inmates--gathered in the courtyard under blazing sunlight and sat in semi-orderly fashion, packed closely together to make room for everyone.
After a few short speeches by prison leaders, a group of boys from the prison who have formed a choir performed two songs. In Chichewa, they sang about pleading for God's mercy and the love of Jesus. It was some of the most beautiful music ever sung.
Afterward, Dave Lubben shared a few songs with the inmates. A few moments prior to the beginning of the outreach, he learned the Chichewa translation for a few worship songs and hastily scribbled them onto his arm. The inmates appreciated the effort! Following Dave, Vic Murphy and John Andrus performed a few BMX stunts--a feat made even more impressive by the uneven concrete they were performing on! The inmates loved their presentation and many of them crowded around to see better.
Andrew followed with a message about God as a father, which was very fitting for the audience. He emphasized the goodness and the mercy of God in his invitation. Thinking about what that message must sound like to a young boy who may feel like there is no hope or that he's made too many mistakes to be forgiven made the message even stronger. At the end, more than half of the boys raised their hand to accept the Lord.
Later in the day, Andrew and a small team met with the High Commissioner of Zambia for a last-minute meeting at the Zambia Mission (the embassy). She is a strong Christian who desires to see a revival in Zambia, and was very receptive to the possibility of having a festival in Zambia in a few years. The meeting was arranged by a local Zambian pastor who lives in Malawi who has been greatly impacted by the festival. It was encouraging to see the ways in which God is bringing things together for future festivals! Tomorrow we will have 12 leaders arriving from 4 African nations - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
This evening, 600 women met at the convention center here in Lilongwe for the women's event. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, with many women wearing traditional African dresses and others dressed in what we might wear in America! The event had an amazing women's committee, and they did a great job. The highlight of the evening was Wendy sharing her story and ending with the powerful truth that our stories do not have to end with pain. Andrew followed and did a great job of explaining the Gospel with the theme of the Samaritan woman at the well. He emphasized that while some in the room have probably heard the Good News, they still have to accept it for themselves. He closed the night with prayer and invited the women to pray along out loud. The audible prayers of hundreds of Malawian women praying to Jesus was a great way to end the evening!
August 16 Update
Today was another great day in Malawi, beginning with the press conference. Malawi's most prominent media channels were represented in the room. The Love Malawi local leaders were present for the most part, including Rev Gray Mwalabu, Rev Francis Mkandawire, Rev Matilda Matwaba, and more.
It was wonderful to hear their perspective on why they believe the festival is important for their country. One of the speakers touched on some of the systemic issues that Malawians face and why this festival will help people to find hope in the midst of those. Rev Mwalabu shared that "the festival is a dream come true . . . We consider ourselves greatly blessed. We need a new beginning in every sector of society."
Each of the speakers expressed a deep sense of pride in their country and a sincere desire to see it change. Andrew then shared the vision for the festival and wove in his testimony, the story of his family's plane crash, and the Gospel. It was a wonderful Gospel presentation, especially considering the audience of prominent members of the media. The conference ended with a BMX demonstration from Vic Murphy and John Andrus, right in the room! Several people here have shared that Malawians have never really seen BMX stunts before, so that is definitely a big draw! All in all, it was a really great time and everyone seemed to be excited for what is to come.
Andrew then had an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting, a news station in Malawi. He was also interviewed by several other media outlets following the press conference.
The mission teams were also in full swing for day 2! I heard many, many great stories from the other teams--hundreds of children joining the soccer tournament, great moments at the children's outreaches, and many decisions for Christ from the eyeglass clinics. One of the eyeglass clinic sites moved to the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. I visited that clinic today and got the opportunity to interview one of the camp's pastors. He is a refugee from the Congo, and shared a little bit of his story with me. He fled his country in the night, was arrested several times, and has now lived in the camp for a few years. It is amazing to think that our work could play a role in a story such as his--yet another testament to the power of the Good News.
Tomorrow, Andrew is sharing the Gospel at a youth correctional facility, and in the evening, Wendy will join him for the Love Malawi Women's Dinner. Keep these events in your prayers!
August 15 Update
Today was another great day in Malawi, beginning with the press conference. Malawi's most prominent media channels were represented in the room. The Love Malawi local leaders were present for the most part, including Rev Gray Mwalabu, Rev Francis Mkandawire, Rev Matilda Matwaba, and more. Rev Mwalabu shared that "the festival is a dream come true . . . We consider ourselves greatly blessed. We need a new beginning in every sector of society." Each of the speakers expressed a deep sense of pride in their country and a sincere desire to see it change. Andrew then shared the vision for the festival and wove in his testimony, the story of his family's plane crash, and the Gospel. The conference ended with a BMX demonstration from Vic Murphy and John Andrus, right in the room! Andrew then had an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting, a news station in Malawi. He was also interviewed by several other media outlets following the press conference.
Tomorrow, Andrew is sharing the Gospel at a youth correctional facility, and in the evening, Wendy will join him for the Love Malawi Women's Dinner. Keep these events in your prayers!
Today was the official start of the mission teams. There are two teams conducting eyeglass clinics throughout the city, one team doing a children's outreach, and another doing a soccer outreach. Today’s clinic took place at Living Waters Church, which is located in a neigborhood in Lilongwe where the homes are made of brick and straw, chickens and goats roam the streets freely, and the majority of people speak Chichewa. The line of people was long enough to stretch around the building.
One of the best parts of the eyeglass clinics is the fascinating people that come through the line, as well as the local volunteers and interpreters. One of the interpreters is the wife of a local pastor and they have been so greatly encouraged by this festival. Andrew came by to share the Good News with the people waiting in line in the hot sun. It is really amazing to see the way people respond here!
Later in the day, Wendy Palau and Vicki Greene shared the Good News at a special service for women back at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. There were two interpreters, one for Swahili and one for another language. Most of the women in the camp are from Burundi or Congo. A highlight was when they performed a traditional welcome dance for us, and we got to pray for them. Much of the service was done in three languages, and it was a beautiful display of the cultural diversity present in the camp.
John Andrus and Vic Murphy also led some outreaches to the children at the camp. See photos below.
The people we are meeting here are amazing models of what it looks like to follow Jesus, even in the face of extreme challenges or even horror. God is doing something special here in Malawi and we’re overjoyed to be able to play a part in the process.
August 14 Update
This morning, Andrew shared the Gospel at two local churches. First, he shared at St. Thomas Anglican Church. Approximately 280 people people attended the service, with about 35 decisions. Retired Bishop Bernard Malango conducted the service, which followed a traditional mainline format, including readings from scripture and liturgical worship. The next service was at Living Waters Church. This service included extended times of worship with a worship team from the church's congregation, and a message from Andrew Palau focusing on Mark 2. Andrew concluded the message with his testimony. This service will be broadcast via national television on Kodiak Broadcasting, a secular television station.
Later in the day, Andrew and the team arrived for the final evening of the Dzaleka Refugee Camp Festival. The camp houses refugees from Congo, Burundi, and several other surrounding countries. More than 20,000 people live there and are sustained by food rations provided by the U.N., a water well in the center of the camp where women could be seen throughout the day pumping water for their families, as well as more than 60 churches housed within the camp and led in part by refugees.
The story of how the festival came to the camp is remarkable. A local organization called “There is Hope” works within the camp to strengthen the churches, encourage the pastors, and help build the growing Gospel movement within the camp. The organization’s director is a man by the name of Innocent Magambi. He was born in a refugee camp in Congo, after his parents fled Burundi several years prior. He lived in a refugee camp for 27 years, until he was able to re-patriate and earn citizenship. He got a passport and returned to the refugee camp he last called home--the Dzaleka Refugee Camp--in order to come alongside the people living there.
He shared this of the festival: “As a refugee, you live a life of isolation. You feel forgotten. Even God, you feel like he has forgotten you. To see people like you, Andrew Palau, Alan Greene, all the way over from the U.S.—that signals that we are not forgotten. And knowing that there are thousands of people praying for us, praying for refugees, it brings such encouragement."
It was fitting that Andrew’s message then focused on the theme of being “seen” by God, not being forgotten. 5,000 people were in attendance.
August 8 Update
Keith Cook, Daniel King, and P.J. Meduri each led outreaches over the weekend in Ntcheu and Mzuzu. NGA action sports evangelists joined in the effort. Praise the Lord for the decisions made through these outreaches! Keep the upcoming outreaches in your prayers.
About Love Malawi: More than 700 churches will collaborate with Andrew Palau and Luis Palau Association partner evangelists in Malawi for a significant effort to foster unity and reach out with the Good News through Love Malawi, August 5 through August 24, 2016.
The campaign will visit five of Malawi’s larger cities, including the capital city Lilongwe, as well as the Dzaleka Refugee Camp which houses people from a number of nearby countries including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Evangelists Keith Cook, Daniel King, and P.J. Meduri will kick off the campaign in Ntcheu (Meduri) and Mzuzu (Cook and King) from August 5-7. Then, over the next weekend evangelist Richard Hamlet will share the Good News in Blantrye, Reid Saunders in Zomba, and Alan Greene and Andrew Palau at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
The campaign will conclude with a two-day festival at the open fields by Maula Prison in the heart of Malawi and the nation’s capital city, Lilongwe. Professional action sports athletes Vic Murphy, John Andrus and their team from the United States will perform BMX stunts, and will be joined by an FMX team from South Africa. Malawian artists Great Angels Choir, Kamuzu Barracks Gospel Singers, KBG, Faith Mussa, Suffix, and the Love Malawi Choir will perform, along with Gospel music artists Don Moen and Dave Lubben. In addition, the festival will include a children’s area led by evangelist Duggie Dug Dug from London. Each day of the festival, Andrew Palau will share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Luis Palau Association is again grateful for the strategic collaboration of “Bibles For The World” in providing 40,000 copies of the Gospels in English, 60,000 copies of the Gospels in Chichewa (a local dialect), as well as 4,000 copies of the New Testament in English and 6,000 copies of the New Testament in Chichewa. Bibles For The World has partnered with the Palau team in Haiti, Jamaica, and Burkina Faso.
Throughout the week preceding the festival in Lilongwe, dozens of volunteers from around the world will join in several service endeavors, including providing reading glasses at several eyeglass clinics, assisting local medical teams, and leading outreaches for children and at several prisons. In addition, Palau will share the Gospel at a dinner for business and civic leaders, and his wife Wendy will join him to share the Gospel at a dinner for women. Ministry partner “The Shoe That Grows” is providing 2,200 pairs of shoes and Torrey Babb with “The Mission Ball” is providing 400 soccer balls to aid in these outreaches.
Local Love Malawi sponsors include Fulcrum Partners, Evangelical Association of Malawi, Timveni, Nation Publications Limited, P.O.P. Car Rentals, Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Golden Peacock Hotel, Mercantile International, The Times Group, TNM, and Mamma Mia Restaurant.