Iris Malawi Bangula Church Conference
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied’ was the theme for our 2016 Iris church conference. Days before the conference, people began to gather, from north to south. With hunger at its worst in Malawi after three consecutive failed harvests, many of our Iris churches could not make the journey. Still, close to four thousand managed to attend. As usual, people came on bikes, boats, trucks, minibuses, and on foot. They came physically and spiritually hungry. They came poor in spirit, mourning their present state, meek, and hungry. This is just the environment God loves.
He met us in wonderful ways. People really worshipped, which was an answered prayer. Even amidst the usual distractions, men and women came forward for prayer and received deliverance and healing. One morning service I sat with three little boys. They snuggled up, and read the Bible as I pointed to the words. Many people came to ask for prayer and to find comfort.
I was struck by the number of fatherless children in the crowd, so many who do not know a father’s love, so many who have no one to teach them and train them. As we can see with our own Iris children, the long term effects of losing your father are real and often visible. We prayed for many children who received Jesus and entered the family of God. We continue to pray that the love they received will carry them into the heart of the Father where they will receive healing.
We had 25 international visitors including Rolland Baker and Supresa Sithole, international directors of Iris Africa. These visitors came from America, France, Australia, Mozambique and South Africa to the remote town of Bangula, to love the poor. We were so blessed by their encouragement and the Word which they brought. They prayed for all who asked in spite of the blazing sun.
In the evening sessions, dust clouds rose far above the conference grounds. The dancing was intense as many simply gave themselves to worship. There were many on the outskirts watching, checking out the girls, and chatting. We continue to pray that some truth might have taken root and provide the impetus to move towards faith. On Sunday morning, Suzanne and Mark Leech from Australia shared the amazing story of Mark’s death of a heart attack and subsequent resurrection 12 minutes later. As one of our Iris kids told me the whole story the following week, I realized that many seeds have been planted. May the fruit be plentiful and long-lasting.