God is using World Challenge supporters and trainers to empower pastors in southeast Africa.
World Challenge is based in beautiful Colorado Springs, in the shadows of the Rockies. Almost every time I or my team members hit the hiking paths around our sunny—or frequently snowy—city, we are bound to encounter intrepid bicyclists aggressively challenging the same mountain trails.
Dust or mud flying, they’ll careen off rocks and jump gaps with seemingly fearless abandon. No sooner do they appear than they vanish between the trees or around the path’s hairpin turns, flying down the hill.
While with a friend and one of our trainers in Africa, I tried to capture the flare and energy of these Colorado sportsmen and women.
Gerald listened with a smile then was able to share his own unique bike story, this one involving thirty pastors trained in Chikwawa, Malawi.
A Key to Freedom
“When we offered a vision seminar for these thirty pastors, some of them were willing to cycle thirty kilometers every day to attend, they were so excited.”
The idea of riding for over 18 miles over terrain that may hide lions, hippos, puff adders or extremely poisonous black mambas is daunting by any standard.
“Almost all of them have a bicycle, but I noticed some didn’t have one and were receiving a ride from others,” Gerald relayed. “I could tell that the pastors themselves are in need and that our work will not only transform the communities around them but start with them and their households.”
Many pastors, particularly in rural parts of Africa, have received little formal Bible training in addition to occasionally still observing cultural practices that can lead to physical illness or hold them back economically. The people in their churches and villages rely on them and will follow their example, a trust these pastors are eager to honor in every way they can.
“What they do for a living is agriculture and farming, and some of them come from small churches with big families,” Gerald explained. “The community evangelism lessons are often the only tool and training that they have for ministry to reach their families and communities.”
Making the Dream Reality
Bicycling here in the United States is a pleasant exercise, and being able to ride in a place as beautiful as Colorado is a bonus. For these Malawian pastors, their ride is a luxury of another sort.
That bike ride may be one that leads to a future where they can economically provide for their families and uniquely bless their communities.
I would especially like to thank all of the people who support World Challenge’s ministries. They are making these types of life-giving “biking” excursions and transformative experiences for pastors in Malawi a reality.