Pastor Yembekezeni Kantini leads a growing Free Methodist church just outside the capital city of Lilongwe, Malawi, in a village called Mtonda. Though a fully organized society, the Mtonda Free Methodist Church had been without a pastor for some time following the death of its pastor. The conference had been unable to provide one, as there was no available trained pastor. During this time, Yembekezeni Kantini volunteered to lead the church. Yembekezeni had no theological training, but he was willing and available.
Here was a man who wanted to serve God in a pastoral capacity but had no pastoral training. To make matters worse, he did not know English. Knowing English would allow him to study a Great Commission Bible School. However, when the principal of the school, who doubles as the interim superintendent of the conference, saw Yembekezeni’s zeal and enthusiasm for the things of God, the Great Commission Bible School provided special theological classes for him and a few others with similar situations.
Yembekezeni Kantini has proved to be a fast learner. He is leading the church well, and the church is growing both spiritually and numerically. He has been evangelizing in the nearby villages of Kaluzi and Nathenje. Yembekezeni was assigned an ordained minister as an overseer. With this pastor’s help, Yembekezeni recently baptized 75 adults into full membership of the Free Methodist Church. Holy Communion was celebrated, and around 25 men and women recommitted their lives to Jesus and received a warm welcome back into the church! This can only be God at work!
The Rev. Bern Kalukusha is the principal of the Great Commission Bible School, which was launched decades ago under the direction of Henry and Bonnie Church. Leadership was passed to succeeding missionaries Ryan and Katie Bartlett and Ryan and Jenn Wilson. Later it was placed in the hands of Rev. Kalukusha. Right from the beginning, the school aimed at being particularly adapted to the pastoral education needs of their context. This account of Yembekezeni’s specific learning needs and the school’s response shows the school’s steady eye for expanding the reach of the church in Malawi. The Great Commission Bible School welcomes visiting teachers and mission teams.