Malawi is a country of 12 million people. It is one of the ten poorest countries in the world! It is small in size but the numbers of AIDS victims are very high. Malawi has over 1 million orphans because of HIV. The Minister of Education said in the last seven years, they have lost 7,000 teachers because of AIDS. This means that 1,000 teachers die every year because of HIV/AIDS. It is a big challenge for Malawi.
It is a moral issue, a character issue, and an integrity issue.
How do you solve this issue from the family point of view? By using FamilyLife strategies. Ignatius Nyaga, the Expansion Ministry Coordinator for South Africa, said “It is only through FamilyLife strategies that we can present principles that can help a person with integrity to say no to sin.”
Ignatius and his wife, Astrid, have woven FamilyLife in everything they do including their vision to start HomeBuilders groups around the country. He uses the leaders of the HomeBuilders groups to show the Jesus film. These men become the core leadership for the regional areas for the Great Commission.
We were trained to speak for Weekend to Remember conferences, but we thought it was very expensive, especially in a poor country like Malawi. We realized we had to do it differently in Africa. So we asked a pastor if he would allow me to preach in his church. I spoke to the congregation one Sunday. “Maybe you are here and interested in a FamilyLife seminar? Are you are wondering why one of you is talkative and one is quiet? Why is one of you organized and one is disorganized?'”I could see it opened their eyes. “I will talk with your pastor and your leaders about having a one-day seminar. Let me know how many of you would like to attend.”
Then on Sunday I asked the pastor, “Would you allow me to present a sermon and make it more of a Family Sunday where I will talk about all the stages of marriage, children, mother, husband, all those issues?” After 45 minutes of sermon, I taught some of those things, but before I concluded I said, “Yesterday we had a seminar and we learned three to four things, and this afternoon we are handling the topic of sexual intimacy. After the seminar you can take the projects and work on them on Sunday afternoon.”
I found people coming in large numbers on these Sundays. They had to walk a long distance to attend. When I presented the project to the couples, I thought, what do I do with the single men? What about the women who are there whose husband has not come? Most of the women come, and it is the husbands who do not come.
So we have devised a plan. We divide these men into groups of three, men without wives and groups of three, women without husbands. When both husband and wife are together as a couple and are doing the projects, these groups of three discuss these principles that have been taught and they pray for each other. When the others are finished, all groups come back together.
I make my conclusion and talk about how salvation is necessary for families to be strong. The marriage institution is older than any region or country, older than the church. It is God’s idea, and for a marriage to work, God must be involved. I asked them, “How does God fit into your marriage? By allowing Him to be the Lord and your Savior. How do you do it?'”Then I use the “Four Spiritual Laws” tract and my wife and I share how Christ paid the price, and then they accept Jesus Christ. It has been very exciting–and we use FamilyLife to bring many people to Christ.