Malawian Women's Retreat

29th November 2018

Malawian Women in the UK had a weekend retreat in Northampton on 2-4 November. The theme was 'The Powerful and Impartial God'. This retreat involved much prayer, testimonies and reflections. It was also a time for the women to encourage and connect with each other.

The programme began on Friday evening, with a warm welcoming speech by Malawian Adventists in the UK (MAU) women's leader Mrs Margaret Mwangalika from the Cardiff North church. This was followed by self-introductions. "It was magnetic how the women were delighted to be in each other's company," said Mrs Mwangalika.

The 22 attendees were reminded of the women in the Bible including the one who by faith touched the hem of Jesus's garment.

A sermonette by Mrs Victoria Mphande from Newbold church followed. Mrs Mphande began by highlighting the women of the Bible, showing how complex their challenges were, but how they (Hanna, Abigail, the Shunamite woman, and Esther) took big leaps of faith. "We live in a different era, and our challenges may also be different, but we are encouraged by faith to move towards God's will for our lives," she said.

Sabbath morning began with a devotional by Cynthia from Plaistow church IMG_9237in London. She began by inviting the Lord through singing; Mumtimanga, mumtimanga, Lowani Ambuye Yesu (Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus). She reflected on the experience Elijah had with God found in 1 Kings 17:1-8. Elijah went into hiding after delivering the shocking news to king Ahab that there will be no rain for 3 years. God sent Elijah food through ravens whilst he was hiding from the king by the brook Cherith. God was equally with Elijah at his time of coming out of the brook. Cynthia encouraged listeners to lean on the Lord through the journeys of life, whether we are going into or out of our own 'brook Cherith' experience.

The Sabbath lesson on Unity was a time of discussion, led by Martha Lonely Phiri from Beeston church in Leeds and Mrs Mary Nyengani from Newport church in Wales. The women delved deep into issues that stops unity in many settings. However, it was learnt that prayerfully striving for the spirit of one accord like the disciples did, will steer everyone into the unity direction.

The main sermon by Mrs Faith Mkandawire from Plaistow church took a turn away from the biblical women, and looked at one brave man, who understood the power of prayer. "Hezekiah was trembling when he read the threatening letter from Sennacherib, emperor of Assyria" said Mrs Mkandawire. "However, Hezekiah remembered the true God. He went to the temple, spread the letter and prayed. We ought to do the same, no matter how bad a report we receive, we are to take it to the Lord in prayer," she concluded.

The Sabbath afternoon testimony workshop led by Mrs Yvonne Kanjewe from the Bedford church saw testimonies being shared by Mrs Flossie Kainja from Upper Room church in Nottingham; Pacharo Chinamulungu and Dr Madalitso Kubwalo (Dr Mada) from the Chester church, Wales. There were many more testimonies that moved the women to tears, to praise and to surrender to God in prayer. "There was just an unexplainable kind of relief being amidst these women, I felt that it was a safe place to share," said Zimbabwean Ruth Manyera. "I am so glad I took up the invitation to come," she added.

"As a member of another Christian denomination, I was amazed by the spirit of calm and quietness that I experienced" said Mrs Brenda Msadala, "the joy I experienced by being in the company of these women is just unspeakable," she added.

Sunday, the last day, Cynthia-first-from-rightwas full of many blessings; a continuation of singing choruses, hymns and praying. There was a health workshop by paediatric consultant Dr Mada. "I was happy with how Dr Mada shared her knowledge with us, and also how she answered our questions or pointed us to where we can get further information," said one of the attendees.

The remainder of the day was spent in much prayer and reflection. The women poured their hearts out to God like did Hannah; spread their cares, threats and petitions to the Lord like Hezekiah; and thanked God for everything including affording them such a Spirit-filled experience.

[Judith Makaniankhondo Nyirenda ]

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