At the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus was given the opportunity to speak at His local synagogue. He pulled out a scroll with a 700-year-old prophecy and applied it to Himself:
(Luke 4:18-19, NIV)
Those verses described Jesus’ ministry, and Kindle is helping to continue that ministry right through to the present day.
Spirit of the Lord
In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus promised that he would send His Spirit to dwell in those who followed Him, empowering them to continue God’s work. That same Spirit is alive in us today, ministering in and through us.
Proclaim Good News
In everything we do at Kindle we try to emphasize the importance of our relationship with God. We do not discriminate among beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries based upon their beliefs, but we do believe that each person’s spiritual life is a vital part of who they are.
Jesus’ ministry was varied, but it always included the “good news,” that God has made a way to restore not only our relationship with Him, but also our relationships with one another and our own self-image.
According to the latest World Bank figures, Malawi is the poorest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The area where we work is populated mainly by subsistence farmers, which means that almost everyone lives below the extreme poverty level, currently defined as receiving less than $1.25 per day. So the people with whom we work are among the poorest of the poor.
Freedom for the Prisoners
The people among whom we work are not sitting behind bars, but they are trapped in a cycle of poverty which holds them as surely as if they were in a prison. Our work in education, food and livelihood security, youth groups, family life groups, and training all contribute toward breaking this cycle of poverty. It is our prayer that God will bring about the necessary changes in hearts and minds to bring freedom to these people.
Recovery of Sight for the Blind
People flocked to Jesus for physical healing, and he restored not only sight but all kinds of physical infirmities. About half of Kindle’s staff and more than half of our funding is dedicated to this type of ministry based at Katawa Community Clinic.
Set the Oppressed Free
When Kindle began, the predominant belief system in the area was Gule Wamkulu, the African Traditional Religion of the Chewa people. It is animistic in the way it deals with the spirit world, and promotes many behaviors that have led to a worsening of the AIDS crisis in Malawi. In this society there is also a prevalence of poisoning and visiting witch doctors and traditional healers to place curses on people or to have curses removed. Many people’s lives are motivated by fear of other people and of spiritual powers.
We see this as spiritual oppression, but freedom from this oppression can be found in Jesus. We recognize that others have different views on the Gule Wamkulu religion. For a different and much more positive view of Gule Wamkulu and its possible compatibility with Catholicism, see the publications produced by the Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art.
Year of the Lord’s Favor
The regional leader of the Gule Wamkulu unintentionally gave us a report on the influence that Kindle is having: We attended the funeral of a chief whose village is in the heart of the area served by Kindle, and this regional leader was the honored speaker. In his message he expressed great disappointment with the people in and around the village because of the way that they are turning away from the ways of Gule Wamkulu to follow other ways. At Kindle, we received this news with celebration.
It is our hope that God will continue using Kindle and the local churches to proclaim the Lord’s favor, turning people from the ways of their fathers to follow the Living One.