In Ecclesiastes, we read of “a time for everything” and “a season for every activity under heaven.” But nowhere does it mention “a time to repeat” or “a time for something new.” Yet, “a time to repeat” and “a time for something new” are true in the life of Superintendent Phiri of Malawi. He is an experienced church planter. After planting four churches, he felt it was “a time to repeat.” But not only repeat; now he has embarked on “something new.”
The new thing is the where of the church plant. Superintendent Phiri is planting a church in a predominantly Muslim community. He began working with one of his pastors who had trained at the Great Commission Bible School. Together, they identified an area near a market. They organized a prayer walk in the area, asking God for a person of peace. Then they began going door to door. After introducing themselves, they would explain that they were sharing the gospel and ask the person, “Would you be willing to let us share with you?” It wasn’t long before they found a man of peace and several other interested people who listened to the good news.
After several visits with the family of the man of peace, the pastors agreed they should begin looking for a larger and more long-term place to meet. To their surprise, a Muslim man who owned a place used for weddings and other special events offered them a space to meet for free! The Muslim landlord has even attended their meetings a couple of times. God is working!
One Muslim family in the community has a son around 11 or 12 years of age. As the pastors shared the gospel in their home, the son responded, putting his faith in Christ. The boy wants to go to church and does so with his parent’s permission. Other people have come because of the door-to-door visits. Superintendent Phiri says most are of Muslim background. Some come simply as visitors. Others have a strong interest in spiritual matters, like one woman who recently gave her life to Christ. These are all confirmations of God’s leading and working. It was the right time for “something new.”
Ecclesiastes does mention “a time to plant,” and we pray, along with Superintendent Phiri and his co-workers, for God’s continued grace to open hearts as they plant seeds of the gospel and bring forth fruit for a kingdom harvest in this community and beyond.