“When I'm finished, it's not just about me, it's about God who has done a work in my life.”

Blessings Gondwe

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 25
Ministering in Rumphi
Family N/A

Blessings graduated from CAPA in 2015 with his Advanced Diploma, but decided to come back to receive more training and learn more about preaching. He hopes to grow in discipline as a student and in his trust in the Lord to provide for and sustain him.

$100 a month provides a pastor a scholarship to study at CAPA.

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Blessings Gondwe shares about his passion for truth especially in the midst of false teaching.


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Interview with Blessings Gondwe

2017 2015

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Q2

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

Q3

Is there anything that you're nervous about for this upcoming school year?

Q4

Is there anything that you're looking forward to learning this year?

Q5

Are you pastoring at a church right now?

Q6

What are some ways you have seen God's providence in your life?

Q7

Do you have any prayer requests?

Q1

Why did you decide to become a pastor?

Q2

Are you currently the pastor of a church?

Q3

Why did you decide to attend CAPA?

Q4

What is your current ministry?

Q5

What are your future ministry plans?

Q6

What are challenges you have faced in ministry, and what have you learned from them?

Q7

How did your reverend hear about CAPA?

Q8

How did you first hear about Jesus? How did you come to believe that Jesus died for your sins?

Q9

What’s your favorite thing about Malawi?

Q10

What prayer requests do you have?

Q11

What are some things about CAPA that you are thankful for?

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Well, it was in 2010, when I attended a night of praise organized by the Student Christian Organization of Malawi, SCOM. So a certain guy was preaching there; that's where I heard the gospel and then I was convicted of my sins and then, by God's grace, I became saved. Yes, that was in 2010.

Q2

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

Well, basically I felt called to work for the Lord in pastoral ministry, so when I heard about CAPA it was like, “Hey, this is some opportunity to study and then just do the work of God.” So I did my Advanced Diploma right here at CAPA, and then I graduated in 2015. And later on, I had to go to a different college. Then I came back this year to pursue my M.Div. Yeah, so basically, I just want to be trained so that I can preach rightfully God's Word, and apart from that, be able to be a man who can also live out what I'm teaching to other people, because that's one of the hard part of [these times].

Q3

Is there anything that you're nervous about for this upcoming school year?

So, well, [laughs] it's like I've been hearing so much about what is school like: There is lots of work, and even from today I can see that it's lots of work, but then it's something that I'm here actually trusting God that is actually better. […] When I'm finished, it's not just about me, it's about God who has done a work in my life, so that's the good part. So this part with challenges that come along with it, but then the good part is I'll be disciplined enough to actually serve the Lord better. Yeah.

Q4

Is there anything that you're looking forward to learning this year?

Sure, I'm looking forward to learning Greek. It's something I'm very excited to [learn] the alphabet and all that, but then it's something that I'm actually looking in forward to learning. Yeah, I can't wait to continue to learning Greek; and then one thing that I also love is systematic theology, so I also look forward to learning that.

Q5

Are you pastoring at a church right now?

I'm not pastoring a church [right now]. It's kind of critical because I was in a Presbyterian church, but due to some of the challenges I faced at the college I had to leave. So I had to withdraw. I also had to make another decision to change churches, so I've come to just join [International Bible Fellowship Church], yes.

Is there any way that you hope to help the church grow at IBF?

Sure, sure. One of the things is I'm ready to preach God's Word, and anything that the elders can say, "Hey, Blessings, do this." I'm always ready because I know that I'm called to actually serve in the church, yeah.

Q6

What are some ways you have seen God's providence in your life?

Well, basically when I came to CAPA in 2015, my big struggle was how I was actually going to pay for my tuition and all the things which are required for me, but […] by God's grace, actually God provided and money to graduate, and even now some of things that I'm actually seeing God's hand upon my life like providing [housing] for me through Pastor Gideon Manda, which I'm so grateful for.

Q7

Do you have any prayer requests?

Sure, sure. I think one of the things that I would love for people to pray for me is, as I'm starting, God would just help me to be disciplined enough to manage the work; but also, I think one of things that I'm also looking at is purity stuff. As a young person, it's one of the things I must be sure, because we're already going to have to live out what I'm teaching and what I'm learning. I have to practice that, and I also think decision-making, as I'm actually planning to go to ministry, that God should actually guide me. So the decision I made should actually be guided by God, yeah.

Q1

Why did you decide to become a pastor?

I feel called to work for the Lord. I have a passion for the gospel and for ministry. I feel like it is good that I should become a pastor so that I can teach the Word of God to other people. As Jesus said, “Go and teach the world. Teach them, baptize them.”

I was just 18. It was difficult for me because people were saying, “Don’t do this, don’t do this,” even up until now people are still against it. I only do what God says I must do, so if God says I should do this, I should do the ministry.

Q2

Are you currently the pastor of a church?

I am currently not, because in my [Presbyterian] denomination, we have to explain that we feel a calling to our pastor or to church elders so they will examine you and report back to the session (which is the group of people that discuss church issues).

The year after I did that, it was 2012, and they said, “You are too young for this according to the doctrine of our church.” Thereafter, they said I have to wait up until I reach 27 years [of age]. So I said, “OK, what should I be doing as I’m waiting for that 27 year mark?” I wanted to go to ABC [African Bible College], so I underwent the application process, and I was successful, but I failed to go there because I had nobody who could sponsor me. I don’t have my mom, and my father passed on many years ago.

So since then, I thought I should come to CAPA. When I heard about CAPA, that was last year, so I decided, “Let me go to CAPA and get the required skills.”

Q3

Why did you decide to attend CAPA?

The reason I chose to attend CAPA was because I have this interest that I should be teaching the right stuff, or the right message, that is not the twisted gospel where some people think, “It is like this.” No—but I should teach what God says I must teach. Sometimes we learn something for the sake of teaching others, or we read the Bible for the sake of others.

When I heard about CAPA, it’s like, “You understand the Bible first for yourself, and then you practice what you’ve learned, and then you teach others to practice as well”; it’s do as I do, so you don’t just “do” as the Pharisees and the Sadducees were doing.

I felt like I should come to CAPA so that I should be trained. It’s good for me—nowadays, I do have opportunities to preach. So when I preach, I should be preaching the right stuff due to the training that I’m getting at CAPA.

Q4

What is your current ministry?

Currently, I’m just working as a deacon. Sometimes they take me as a part of the evangelism committee. I only preach as an evangelist, but I want to be not just an evangelist, but after evangelizing, I also have to teach them so that I should mold them and build them for Christ.

What does an evangelism committee do?

The evangelism committee is where they organize evangelism rallies, outreach programs, maybe some conferences, especially for building the churches. We go, and we preach the gospel. It’s like outreach.

So we are there to say, “Which area should we explore for the time being so that we should teach them the gospel so that they should come to church?” So after teaching them, winning souls to Christ, thereafter we decide to build a church.

Q5

What are your future ministry plans?

My ministry plans for the future is that, number one, I should preach the truth. I should teach the people. I should give words of exhortation, because we are in the last days, where many people are preaching the prosperity gospel, which I and the Bible, we are against that.

As I will be preaching to them, I know there are people who are sick. But I cannot be preaching just about sickness the whole day, or prosperity the whole day. I know, as the Bible says in the book of Matthew, that God knows what you need, all these things.

People nowadays, we focus much on prosperity: you get riches, or you do these things. It’s like we give them false hope. I don’t want that. I should give them hope that though we are suffering today, at the end of the day, when Christ comes, we will have eternal life.

Q6

What are challenges you have faced in ministry, and what have you learned from them?

So far, as a young man, the first challenge after hearing the calling is that I thought they will accept me, though I am young, so that I should go and do the work of God. So I felt lots of challenges.

You know, we usually have some church elders who are not born again. And sometimes when you preach different from what they think you should preach, they think, “Oh, this guy is pompous.” I am not like that! So that is a very big challenge. I have already waited for a year, and now I am waiting four years.

When I see that the church is going astray, I feel sorry. I feel like when people are doing bad things, I am also responsible, because if I am their pastor, I will be preaching the gospel full-time. But I take it as a privilege, because if I had gone out that year, I could not have attended CAPA.

The other day, I was with my reverend—I take him as my mentor—and he said, “You know, Blessings, go to CAPA. The training you will get there, though your church may not recognize it, but God will recognize it. The training that you get there, we do not provide it, so it will be for your benefit, and for the benefit of the church.” So what I learned is that God has a purpose for every situation that you are going through.

Q7

How did your reverend hear about CAPA?

My reverend was at ABC [African Bible College, where Brian Biedebach is a professor], so as he was there, he heard about this school. He was doing his master’s and graduated this year. He heard about it through ABC because he told me like that Jim was once there. Yeah.

He told me [CAPA] is a good school, and go, because of courses in expository preaching and stuff, and the course that are being offered there, like systematic theology. Myself, I love systematic theology, and even expository preaching, because there are lot of mess which people preach in the village, because we don’t know anything, we don’t know the Scriptures, so we just preach for the sake of preaching. We preach what we think the Scripture says, not what God says in the Scriptures, yeah.

Q8

How did you first hear about Jesus? How did you come to believe that Jesus died for your sins?

I was raised up in a family that didn’t believe in Christ. They are Christians, as we are called Christians, but my father was a drunkard, a womanizer. All sorts of evil things. And, eh, it took me time to come up to know about Christ. So I was growing up as a child, I could do all sorts of evil things in the first place as an evil child.

So it was in the year 2010 when, ah, there is a group in the secondary schools which is called Student Christian Organization of Malawi, commonly said “SCOM” [pronounces as “scomm”]. I said, “No. Let me go and see what they do.” So I went there. Somebody preached a very touching message.

He was talking about the last days, and I felt like he was just talking to me. So it’s like, I felt like I have no peace in my heart. And if I am to say I should not repent today, then these things will happen to me. By the end of it, I will go to hell. So what way to let me repent today?

So he said, “Those people who want to give up their lives to Christ, they should stand.” So I stood, and then he made up a confession prayer, so I did just that.

Thereafter I felt the Holy Spirit, and since that day, I saw my life changed, and I never wanted to do the things I used to do. I liked beating people, yeah. I have a short temper—I was short-tempered back then. So I could do all those things.

But since the time I made that confession prayer, I believed in my heart that today Christ has entered in my life, so the Bible says, “Whosoever is in Christ, the past has gone and he is a new creation.” It is from the book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17, if I’m not mistaken. So I knew, and I know up to date that my all my past is over, and the new has come. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Q9

What’s your favorite thing about Malawi?

Favorite thing about Malawi… I personally love Malawi because yes, we hear about conflict in other countries, but in Malawi, it is a peaceful country. So I love Malawi because it is a peaceful country, and, it is a country where if you want to minister the gospel, you can minister freely without any interference.

Q10

What prayer requests do you have?

1) Ah. The time being, my prayer request is that God has called me, and, uh… I am having lots of challenges that I’m going through because I said I’m living with my uncle, but in the true sense, I’m not really with my uncle. I’m living [with] someone who has just like adopted me, because I don’t have my mom, and I don’t have my father. So I have financial challenge, and ah, yes, we are people who are spiritual, but we also need the physical—I mean, the basic needs. So my prayer is, help me to pray that God should give me peace because Jesus said that in this world, you shall have trouble, but in Me, you shall have me. That is from the book of John 14, if I’m not mistaken. So I should always have peace..

2)Because of stress, I even now have ulcers, peptic ulcers, because I could think too much, but He even give me that problem of ulcers, and I thank God that nowadays, I am having peace as I am here. I feel like I am at peace because I am seeing my dreams coming to pass. So my prayer is that my calling should remain permanent and I should do the work of God for the rest of my life. Though many other challenges, God is providing for me, and He will keep providing for me for the rest of my life.

Q11

What are some things about CAPA that you are thankful for?

First thing is the affordability of the school fees. The school is very affordable. And this thing of training pastors at an affordable—because many pastors, it’s hard for them to raise funds for themselves.

Now the fact that CAPA is offering that training at an affordable price, it is giving them room to come and study. And the knowledge that they will learn from here, it will expand the kingdom of God.

Another thing is that what we learn is quite interesting, and I believe by the end of the day, many souls will be brought to Christ.

So that’s why I love CAPA because of the affordability and the quality of the education which is being offered there. They are teaching us how to understand the Bible, not as we think, but as God—so we should understand the Bible as it is, and we should preach as it is, not adding what we think—“I think it is like this”—no, no. Yeah. But we should just preach the Bible as it is, as God says it is. Yeah.