On this morning at 4:30 AM, I was awoken by the sound of a dozen or so people singing African praise and worship songs. That is the time that the activities start at the teaching house. You would think that the EchoAfrica team had been at this for some time. The Holy Spirit is clearly in control because of such advanced improvements. We support Tony and the team as we complete the facility to operate as smoothly as possible. There are many different challenges that are present, such as consistency in electricity and water availability.
We were able to meet with Nazer and negotiate the purchase of two 125cc motorbikes, a generator, and a weed trimmer. This will give us the ability to travel out into the villages to stay in contact with the pastors. This mode of transportation will be much more economical, but still in a timely fashion. The generator will give us the backup power requirements, and is mobile to be moved to another location if necessary. The weed trimmer is just a more efficient way of maintaining the property. With so many beautiful trees, shrubs, and bushes, it would be a shame not to maintain it. The addition of a water storage tank would help eliminate the fluctuation in water availability. After further consideration, we came to agreement on the possibility of acquiring the property. We know that if it is God’s will for us to have the land, it will take place. Therefore, we contacted one of the individuals connected to the property.
A man named Joshua was living at the house when we first inquired. Chica, a cousin of his, is actually the son to the parents that built the house. Their mother passed away about eight years ago, so most of the family moved to South Africa. Joshua had reached out to us a few weeks ago in regards to possible employment with The EchoCenter. He is interested in getting a business degree in America, and is a brother in Christ. Currently, he is working in the youth ministry, and he has preached before. If it is the will of God for him to work with us while attending school, I am sure God will make a way. We asked Joshua to come over to the house to see what the Lord was doing. Also, we wanted to get some insight about the possibility of acquiring the property.
I knew that his visit would result in a better understanding of how God was using the property. Tony gave him a tour with the current configuration and presence of the pastors. I explained to Joshua how God adjusted the true purpose of how he wanted the facility to be used. Quickly, he understood the resonance this teaching facility could have with the pastors. In addition to that, he could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. We sat down and discussed his desire to come to America. I believe he could be a great resource in opening the eyes to many of the need in Malawi.
We then talked to him about the acquisition of the house, our hope was that he could give us some insight on the possibility of purchase. The fact that the facility fit our needs perfectly was truly a motivator. More importantly than that, none of us felt any restrictions from the Holy Spirit on moving forward. We made it clear to Joshua that assisting him in America has nothing to do with the property acquisition. The goal we had was for him to assist us if that was the Lord’s will. Either way, we will continue to supply Biblical teachings with discipleship follow-up and leadership training.
Rick and I talked a bit more about Pastor Duncan. We even entertained the idea of he being a participant in the leadership program. An hour or so later, Josh Webb sent me a text in regards to the same issue. This was confirmation that we should investigate further. I contacted Duncan and asked if he would like to meet. Later in the evening, Rick and I met with him. God has directed me to talk very frankly and directly with people. The nature of the straightforward approach can be interpreted as judgmental or condemning. Because of this, I must always use extreme caution and love.
I could go into great detail of our encounter. The bottom line was that I could not escape the feeling that there was deception. Additional information was given concerning Bible distribution that did not line up with previous comments. Duncan insisted that he had not done anything improper. There was a certain smugness about his attitude. Every time I would ask him a direct question, his eyes would dart away from me momentarily. During the rest of our conversation, this never occurred. I felt that he was intentionally being deceptive.
His continued insistence that he had lived a nearly perfect life was cause for concern in itself. There were several other factors that came into play, but ultimately, the Holy Spirit led me to move on. In other words, “Have I not revealed enough to you concerning Duncan’s character”. My hope is that the straightforward nature of our conversation will result in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Only by that power will his heart begin to change. If I am wrong about the situation and have misinterpreted his motives, I will gladly ask for forgiveness and repent to God for my errors. In addition to that, I will publicly ask Duncan for his forgiveness. I would actually rather do that than be right about my assumptions.
Near the conclusion of our conversation, Duncan was aware that things were not going in his favor. He made comments regarding Felix not getting assistance that were totally untrue. He used his insincere concern for Felix as an attempt for personal gain. On top of that, he brought Tony’s character into question regarding a meeting we had back in December. These are classic tools the enemy will use to divide and deceive. We can face these attacks knowing that we are actively participating in God’s will. This will always cause the devil to try to intervene.
Rick and Joe continue to work marvelously together in presenting the message to the pastors. The rhythm and cadence of their delivery is superb. This in itself is evident that the Holy Spirit is present. Our trip is already more than halfway complete. We have great anticipation of what the Lord will reveal to us on our remaining days. Heidi continues to be used by God in one-on-one situations. Everyday, she has stories to tell that reflect the goodness and love of our God. When we commit ourselves to serving the King, we can see His will in action no matter what type of situation we are in. As each new day dawns, we are eager to serve our Savior.