A few weeks ago we were approached by our landlord and asked to move from our current space to a different room within the building. Our relief was that he was not evicting us. This was another reminder of what life has been like for our church in this particular area. We moved quickly as requested by the building owner. This was sad because we have moved so many times as a church, meeting in schools, office spaces, shops, under a tree once, etc. This is our 8th meeting room since the church was planted. We have had a fair taste of being "strangers and pilgrims on the earth." The comforting part was that the owner was willing to give us the new space for the same price as the old venue. We were grateful. The challenge with moving venues like this is that it communicates a number of negative messages to those we are trying to reach in this part of the world. The bottom line is that it indicates instability. Most people consider such movement as a lack of seriousness and also look at the existence of your ministry as temporary. Most people consider your ministry as something lacking meaningful progress and moving toward failure.
While we were mourning about the unsettling move, the Lord decided to encourage us. A Christian Malawian couple decided to give our church a piece of land they owned as a gift. It is very humbling news for us. This property is right along the main highway in the city of Blantyre and not far from where our church is currently renting. It had been listed before on the market for $40, 000. The piece of property currently has a house that was once gutted by fire. We would need to remove all the rubble to put a structure on it. Our church has been praying for a long time that the Lord would allow us to make some considerable progress toward a permanent meeting place.
Having a permanent meeting place for our church would mean a lot of things for us. It would help our church to be independent in many ways, including financially, quicker than the time frame we are looking at right now. It would provide our church with much-needed stability, not only for us but even for those we are reaching out to in the city of Blantyre and beyond. While self-sustaining does not mean money alone, it remains a significant part of the process for us in becoming an autonomous church. We are praising God for this wonderful gift. At the moment we have some legal work that needs to be done. The men in our church have already started working on these few things. We need to apply to the city council to get them to designate the land for activities like religious purposes. Thankfully, we have been told that 4 months ago the area was changed from residential to commercial, which opens more opportunities for our request to be granted. Please pray for us in this area.