“If one were to ask me, ‘How would you feel [about] the decision you made when you were 17 years old?’, I would say, ‘I’m more in love with God than ever before.’ My faith has grown, and every time I learn, […] I’m just drawn towards this Christ more and more.”

Charles Chayang'ana

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 43
Ministering in Mponela
Family Wife, one son, two daughters

Charles was saved when he was 17. Initially unsure if he could afford to travel to study at CAPA, he has seen God provide for him and is so grateful for the role CAPA has had in changing his attitude toward Scripture. He desires to continue his studies out of a growing love for God.

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

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Charles shares what he's gained from CAPA.


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Interview with Charles Chayang'ana

2017

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Q2

What have you gained from CAPA?

Q3

Have you faced any kind of hardships because of your faith?

Q4

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

Q5

What are you looking forward to learning this year?

Q6

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

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Basically, I should say that I was born in a semireligious family. My dad kind of, you know, never really bothered much about church or anything Christian, but my mom was a strong believer—okay, very, very religious, very strongly, and we grew under that kind of influence. My mom was really very influential, saying every Sunday we go to church, some kind of church.

But that was until when I was about 17. That’s when I was in secondary school, so there was a religious grouping for students, so I began to participate in that. So there was kind of like a trip—we went to another institution, where we met with students from different other schools. So there was a preacher. So after the preacher preached, I was convicted—I felt I needed this Savior. So I received; I believed that Christ is the Savior. I was, think, 17 years old—okay, still in secondary school. So that’s when, you know, I came to know Jesus, that He’s the Savior. But before that, I was just a church-attending person, but to really commit myself into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ as the saving Lord—that was when I was 17 years old. Yup.

If one were to ask me, “How would you feel [about] the decision you made when you were 17 years old?”, I would say, “I’m more in love with God than ever before.” You know, my faith has grown, and, I mean, every time I learn, or maybe every time my faith is just growing and—I just, I’m just drawn towards this Christ more and more. I can’t go back—I’m hooked up.

Q2

What have you gained from CAPA?

Yeah, there’s been a turnaround. You know, maybe, for your information, I was here two years ago doing the Advanced Diploma—you know, college. I mean, that was a life changer. Okay, you know, I was a believer before I came to CAPA, but if there’s been a turnaround—an outstanding, the most outstanding, turnaround.

I’m not saying this just to impress, but I’m speaking from the conviction of my heart. Even my wife bears testimony to that, okay. So many things—the understanding of Scripture, how to approach Scripture, even my attitude alone toward the Scripture. I used to think that anointing is everything, [laughs] but that changed when I came to CAPA. That, you know, Scripture is what we need, and everything stems from that. And even the impact I’ve seen that, even upon my personal life, even as a husband and a father to my children, and even the way I respond to different circumstances just changed, okay.

I’m always comfortable, yes—I do get affected, but I’m always comforted that God is always in control. He loves me unconditionally, [laughs] so what else should I do? I know He’s in control. I don’t have to perform to that level—I have to perform maybe out of just love because I’m responding to Him, but not because I’m trying to buy His attention or His love. No, His love is just infinite—I cannot do anything to change that. He just loves me because He’s love. Yeah, sure, so that has changed a lot of things. My faith and trust in Him is grown so tremendously. Sure, I just wanted to chip in that, you can go on.

Q3

Have you faced any kind of hardships because of your faith?

Hm, no, no. Not on a large scale, okay. I would say […] maybe some misunderstandings with some other people, okay, who look at things from a different angle. Yeah, because when you’re a believer, your thinking is determined by the Word of God; but sometimes in the society, you come, you relate, you interact with people whose thinking is not biblical, so sometimes there can be some sort of misunderstanding, okay. But I think we can live with that—that’s okay. But in terms of, like, you know, persecution or being misunderstood or kind of being, you know, ill-treated because my faith—no, no, absolutely not.

Q4

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

I’ll give two answers. Number one, a very good friend of mine, who also happened to be a most senior pastor in our church to me—of course, from a different branch—highly recommended that I come to CAPA. And because of the trust that I have for him, because of his good conduct, I wanted to, I decided to give it a try that I should come to CAPA.

Then, there came a sort of a hiccup; because of the time that I was about to come to CAPA—actually this pastor recommended me to come to CAPA—he brought me everything: the forms, and actually followed up with me to say, “I really want you to process these things and get to CAPA. It’s really good. I recommend for you.”

So in the process of doing that, you know, I was supposedly—I was going to come to CAPA, there came a sort of a hiccup. That was in in 2014. Now what had happened was like, when I was about to come to CAPA, there was a change. I was transferred to another city down south in Blantyre, so that made the distance longer. I was living here in Lilongwe, but I was transferred to another city, which is about 300 or 350 kilometers from here down south. So that made me to say, “I can’t go to CAPA anymore because I cannot afford the expenses of transportation and accommodation.” So 2014 I didn’t come.

Then 2015, the diploma class intern, they phoned me and said, “Your place is still there.” So that’s when I said, “Let me go and try just to do one module just to test the waters, alright.” But after just one week of that, I mean, I was just won over. I said, “Whatever it takes, I have to stay here.” So I finished the rest of the diploma class, I can tell you, all the eight modules, operating from Blantyre.

And it wasn’t easy—it wasn’t easy. If it was just a cost that was just ordinary, I wasn’t going to be moved or motivated to finish that because it was quite cumbersome. Sometimes I could travel overnight and without sleep—I have to get in the morning into class, and sometimes I would feel so heavy that I did need to sleep, but I had to keep on because I was so convinced that every portion of the staff in the classes, I can tell, I can assure you was quite beneficial—was really life changing. An eye opener every time, every class, was really doing a great change in my life.

So I did that. So I came to CAPA because, first, a recommendation from a friend and, secondly, because I decided to test and see if I would love the stuff. And I was in. And here, I am up to the M.Div. class first year, and I have to go all the way. As long, up to the extent of whatever, you know, CAPA offers, I want to finish that because I’m learning a lot and benefitting quite a lot.

You said you pastor a church in Blantyre right now?

Sorry, I left that out. Just this year in March, that’s when I was transferred from Blantyre to come back to the central region of Malawi, but not back to Lilongwe, but to a place called Mponela. We have a district called Dowa, which is just about 50 kilometers going north, yes, from Lilongwe here. So I do commute from there, every day coming to the classroom. Yeah, after classes, I go back and come back next day. Yes, sure, so right now I’m pastoring a church at Mponela (sp?) in the district of Dowa, which is about 50 or 60 kilometers from here, going up north, from Lilongwe here, the capital city. Good.

What are some of your responsibilities as a pastor at that church?

I’m the overall leader. Okay, here the circumstances in Malawi is that, when you are the most senior pastor, I’m not saying that—I’m not the highest ranking person, but I mean, just a definition, yeah—you oversee all the work that happens there and mostly, you’re the one that preaches. Okay, of course, sometimes other people come in and also assist at least to have a good balance, yes, sure. That’s what I do—and as of now, I don’t have an assistant pastor per se, but I do have a number of church elders that do assist me [to] do the work. So actually, we work as a team. So whilst I’m in class here, the fellow elders are doing the rest of the work. Good, I will join them over the weekend.

Q5

What are you looking forward to learning this year?

This year, I was—I always go back to the CAPA handbook, yes. So when I look at the syllabus for the M.Div., number one that comes upon my heart that appetizes me [is] Greek, okay, maybe as well as Hebrew. But besides these two languages, which are the original Bible language, I’m so much attracted to apologetics. I’ve heard some people allude to that, okay. So, I’m looking forward to that pretty much. Yeah.

Q6

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

In so many ways, okay. When I do get allowances, monthly allowances in my job, as a pastor, church pastor. But one thing that I’ve discovered is that, when I calculate, okay, my income, right, and tally expenses, usually my family expenses, they maybe double or triple the income that I do that.

So usually the question that I do ask myself is, “Where did I get the other money, the other supplies? How did I afford the, you know, such, you know, a large expense comparing to my income that I do get?” That proves to me that God always provides for me. Okay, for my family, okay. So that’s the provision.

Apart from that, in my life, I’ve seen God providing for me. For instance, I’ve traveled overseas several times; but most of those trips, I didn’t spend my own money. God would just move some other people, maybe to provide, okay. I thank God for the convenience that, you know, I have a car that I do drive, go to place when I do ministry. You be so surprised that I didn’t buy that car, but someone was just moved, okay, and just provided that car. I didn’t even preach anything about giving or blessings whatsoever. Somebody was just moved, okay, and said, “I feel I should do this about your ministry.”

So surely, I’ve seen lots of, lots of provision from God—miraculous provisions. Even being here at CAPA, it’s not, it’s not very cheap. I know the school fees are highly subsidized and all that, but there are also other expenses, like boarding, commuting from home and coming back from CAPA to home, CAPA and going back home again. Some of us are coming from far distances; sometimes you feel like, “Ah, my money’s gone, what am I going to do?” But you find that you keep coming to school—you don’t stop. There’s no single day that you become absent or you’re struggling because you don’t have mobility or means to come to school. God is always providing, sure, sure. More than 100 percent that God really provides, and I’ve seen that so many times. Amen.

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

Number one, I’ll be straightforward on that one: God should help me, okay. There is a purpose, you know—God did not lead me to CAPA for nothing, okay. There is a purpose. That purpose must be accomplished, to the pleasure of God, okay. It must be—that’s the cry of my heart. So if anyone would want to pray for us, or pray for my family and our children, pray for us that we should remain focused and faithful to what God wants us to do in His kingdom.