Obedience is Our Joy: Lessons from Malawi Part 2

James Hammack and Hamilton Richardson in Malawi (2018)

This is Part Two in a three-part series focusing on missions in the African country of Malawi and how missions work there affected a small church in Alabama.

In Part One, I talked about how Malawi missions became a reality for His Way Community Church in Prattville, Alabama and what the team experienced during a two-week trip to the country.

After a successful first trip to Malawi in 2016, the discussion began on when to return. Many on the original team were excited at the prospect while others whose life circumstances had changed, realized they would not be free to join the team.

It was decided however that 2018 would be the target for the next missions endeavor and the team started to form.

The group formed more slowly than two years prior as some tentatively joined the team then decided against their participation and others, like Worship Leader James Hammack, initially said no but then life circumstances changed and what was previously not a possibility, became one.     

Hammack, although joining the His Way mission group a little late in the process, none-the-less began to prepare for the teaching opportunities that would come in Malawi.

The 2018 team, like the 2016 group, worked hard prepping, raising funds through many yard sales, and completed all the necessary documents.

The two-week trip came and went with wonderful and unexpected results and new relationships formed with a local reformed pastor and his church, a prison ministry opportunity and some heavy and fruitful biblical ministry.

“We had a wonderful time joining in with Pastor Mala (Malamundo Chindongo) and the church (Antioch Baptist Church) there,” said James Hammack. “It was great to learn what the local church was already doing and then partner with them in those endeavors. I was blessed by the faithful saints there and even challenged.”

James discussed some of the issues he found that are facing the African church.

“In addition to the sin and temptation of worldly cares, there are many churches outside of Mala’s church that have fallen into the prosperity gospel,” he commented.

The His Way leader added that consistent and biblical preaching in both regular Bible studies and worship on Sunday would be the main remedy to the false gospel taking over many churches.

Hammack said that he believes the church in the U.S. and the church in Africa share many of the same struggles.

“People may be in different cultures with various customs, but we are far more alike in our struggles with sin than we are different. And the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy to our sin,” he said.

Many on the team had not been to Malawi before and James shared his thoughts on his first trip.

“For the most part, it was what I expected. This was mostly because of sweet time and conversation with Mala before we joined him on the ground,” explained James. “He prepared us very well for the needs that we would encounter.”

James also shared his thoughts on his missions experience from the perspective of American Christianity.

“I think there is a great apathy and even laziness towards mission efforts in the ‘American church’. Obedience to the will of God is the sustaining power and drive of his people. It’s our joy,” he said. “So, when we allow ourselves to succumb to disobedience through apathy and laziness, we forfeit the great joy of the Lord in obedience. That’s a sad place to be in. We need to return to the call that we have as kingdom establishing people. This will bring a fullness to our joy in Christ and display His glory to those around us.”

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