Reaching out: celebration and change





The work of Mthenga Wabwino is supported by SIM Malawi project #MW96653

The end of 2017 and the start of 2018 are turning out to be a time of celebration and change for SIM Malawi’s partner in outreach to unreached people groups, Mthenga Wabwino


A new National Co-ordinator designate, a new group of graduates and a new In-Depth Training Course: these are just three reasons why there is much to celebrate for Mthenga Wabwino now.

A Graduation Ceremony to mark the end of the In-Depth Course run throughout 2017, was held in November at the Blantyre Community Church. This was an opportunity for the students, their families and church leaders to come together to celebrate and congratulate those who had successfully completed the course.


Graduation 2017: Successful candidates and supporters celebrate at the graduation ceremony for the 2017 Mthenga Wabwino intensive course

“The In-Depth Course, as its name implies, is an intensive period of study which prepares students better to reach out to their neighbours who may be from unreached people groups or from other world religions,” said Nico Bontenbal, National Co-ordinator for Mthenga Wabwino.

“The students have to put a lot of work in, both in the seminars and also on their own, before they sit exams at the end of the course. Not only that, a number travel long distances to attend the regular lessons which, up to now, have been held in Blantyre.”

The Top Student for the Class of 2017, Revd Lyton Kilowe from the CCAP Blantyre Synod, spoke about his desire to reach out to his unsaved and unreached neighbours.

“I am passionate about reaching out, especially to those who are worshipping a god who is not the True God. This course has prepared me better to assist the Church to reach out to people and to help bring them to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

The distances travelled by some students has led Nico and his team at Mthenga Wabwino to look at developing a new In-Depth Course which will be delivered in the North of Malawi.

“There is a lot of demand for the course from people in the North, and often students travel every couple of weeks to Blantyre from towns and villages in that region, which is a big commitment,” he said.

“We are hoping that, by starting a course based near Mzuzu, we will be able to attract more people from the North where there is a great need to train Christians in outreach to unreached groups and people from other religions.”

The third significant occurrence for Mthenga Wabwino is the appointment of a new National Co-ordinator: Yunusu Mataka (left).

Yunusu brings some special insights to the job which will be fully his later this year when Nico Bontenbal returns to his native Holland. Yunusu was born to a Yao father and Tumbuka mother. When he converted to Christianity he found some family hostility to his conversion.

 “Having gone through this, I think I am in a good place to be able to train people how to deal with those who become Christians and go through similar situations. I hope that this will help us as we take Mthenga Wabwino forward.”

As he works through the transition period with Nico, Yunusu is very much aware of the strong foundations on which he will be able to build, and his own experience of dealings with Mthenga Wabwino in the past will also stand him in good stead.

“I first became aware of the project when I came in contact with Mthenga Wabwino at the 2008 SIM Malawi Pastors’ Book Set Conference in Mzuzu. Since then I have worked with Mthenga Wabwino, and have seen how the organisation has developed,” he said.

Training: Students at a session of the In-Depth Training Course ruun by Mthenga Wabwino

“I want to continue with the range of training events which Mthenga Wabwino currently runs. There are one- and two-day events up to the In-Depth course and, through these, many people have gained valuable insights into how to reach out to their neighbours. I think the Church has been blessed by these events, and I will look to continue this work.

“Another important area to develop is the provision of good-quality Christian books in local languages. We have a range in Chichewa, and are developing more in Chiyao and Chitumbuka. There are a number of titles which are currently in production, and having such materials in people’s own languages will continue to be a vital area of work.

 “All of this, building on the past and developing new ideas, gives me a good deal of confidence for the future of Mthenga Wabwino. I hope and pray that the voice of the Good Messenger will be heard for many years to come across Malawi, and further afield,” he said.


Yunusu’s Prayer Points

Please pray for:

1. Wisdom

As he works through plans and ideas, that he may find the right path

2. People to be targeted

For Christians that they may deepen their faith and be better disciples, and also for the unreached and those of other world faiths

3. Family

As his family depends on Yunusu, pray that he can find the right balance between work and family and also be financially supportive