“I may see with my eyes, but I want Him to lead me on, saying, ‘This is where I want you to be, because where He puts me, He will be there.’”

Ernest Kanzangaza

Program Master of Divinity ('18)
Age 38
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife, one son (3), and one daughter (1 month)

Ernest has been at CAPA since its inception in 2014. He is involved in ministry full-time. Since being at CAPA, Ernest has seen his teaching change dramatically as he comes to embrace expository preaching. Now, he says that because he understands Scripture better, he also enjoys preaching more.

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

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Interview excerpt from September 2016


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Ernest shares about the significance and the need for expository preaching.

Ernest shares his prayer requests.


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Interview with Ernest Kanzangaza

2017 2016 2015

Q1

What class have you liked the best so far?

Q2

How has your preaching and teaching changed?

Q3

What has been your biggest challenge in school?

Q4

Is there anything that you look forward to learning?

Q5

Are you currently in full-time ministry, or are you working as well?

Q6

Do you have any prayer requests?

Q1

What do you like to do when you have free time?

Q2

What is your favorite memory at CAPA?

Q3

Why is CAPA both a blessing and a curse?

Q4

What is one thing that has been challenged while you've been at CAPA?

Q5

What has been your favorite class at CAPA so far and why?

Q6

What is one attribute of God that you've personally experienced this past year?

Q7

What wisdom from wise men has benefited your ministry?

Q8

How has CAPA influenced your family life?

Q9

In what ways has the Lord grown you this past year? What has He been teaching you?

Q10

What are you looking forward to this year?

Q11

What challenges have you faced in ministry?

Q12

What are your future plans for ministry, and did this past year change your future plans?

Q13

Do you have a favorite textbook that you've used so far, and what did you learn from it?

Q14

If you could leave a word of encouragement to your fellow believers in Malawi, what would you say?

Q1

How did you decide to join CAPA?

Q2

How come you wanted to do expository preaching and not business, or accounting, or something else?

Q3

How did you come to accept Christ?

Q4

Are you currently pastoring a church?

Q5

How long have you been teaching Sunday school? What are some of the challenges you've faced in ministry?

Q6

Do you have any plans for future ministry?

Q7

Did the way you look at the Bible or the way you do ministry change after you did your diploma here at CAPA?

Q8

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

Q9

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

Q1

What class have you liked the best so far?

So far, I'd say, though I did it sometime last year, it has had an impact in my life, that's biblical counseling. I would love to teach that class. Because my coming year, I wanted to learn the languages, that was my main thing which I wanted to be a part of. I enjoyed the Greek very much, I'm enjoying Hebrew, though I am struggling with it, but biblical counseling, I can point out that it is a unique class, mainly that I've heard people being counseled. But the way I was taught very different than the way people have been doing it, so it really helped my to understand that this was the right way to do it.

Were there any specific difficulties that you were going through that biblical counseling helped address?

Not necessarily, but the whole concept, before I was married, I went through counseling, like marriage counseling, but the way that they did it for me, it wasn't really biblical.

I just saw it as regular classes. They weren't preparing anyone for anything in the future. But when I sat in the class, and they began to explain to us how it has to be done, it was all biblical, and it gives one a foundation to stand on.

Q2

How has your preaching and teaching changed?

It's changed a lot; because now, since CAPA emphasizes expository preaching, so it has helped me to begin to focus on the texts, getting to understand what it means. If it is an Old Testament passage, trying to find the best approach to communicate the truth, [all the way] to the New Testament. It has helped me to really enjoy the Scriptures. When I preach, I'm happy.

Q3

What has been your biggest challenge in school?

I would say academically I didn't have many problems. Spiritually, it's just helped me to grow spiritually; because, like I said, I am able to enjoy the Scriptures, because now I am seeing them the way they are originally. So it has helped me to grow spiritually, through my understanding of the Word of God, and understanding what God expects of me and I know these things.

The challenge has not been academic, but to balance family and school. That's been something else. There have been moments where I would feel like quitting and letting go, because the family has to move. You need to pay rent, and do the things you are expected to as a husband. The Scriptures say if a man cannot even manage his house, he is disqualified for ministry for the Lord. But I think God has enabled me to be where I am right now. My family is still standing, they have no issues with me. School is going well, even though there are times where I felt like I wasn't doing well or putting in the effort. But God has been gracious.

Q4

Is there anything that you look forward to learning?

I'd say if there is one thing that I want to learn, even though there is a lot, because you can't stop learning, but narrowing it down to say CAPA, I'd say that the path that I have taken is right; and I believe by the time I graduate, God willing, then I will be well-equipped. And if there will be need for more, then I hope I can attest for the professors and everyone else in CAPA, and they can come to us for counseling.

Q5

Are you currently in full-time ministry, or are you working as well?

I am working; when I am on break, I am working. It's 50/50. I am helping a friend, helping pastoring his church. It is almost every Sunday that I am standing and preaching, but I am helping him because I am a member of another church, so he asked me to help him fill in another pastor's place.

So yeah, for now, I am full-time, preaching almost every Sunday. But previously, I had a church where I'm not a pastor but just a member.

Q6

Do you have any prayer requests?

Prayer requests are always there. Like I said, I have a family to manage, now with another daughter, so we are now four, as in number of people in family. So now there is a lot responsibility, and everything else. So my prayers is always, “God, help me to be a [godly] man first and foremost, then to be a good husband to my wife and a good father to my children.”

I don't want to just be a pastor at school or a pastor at church, but I want to be a pastor, a father, and a friend to my children and my wife, who they can look up to and say, “This is the person I want to be, and the Christ I want to believe in.”

I want my family to stand on the basis of the Word of God and walking in that path—that's my prayer. Now that are my children grow up, and live where they will honor God, and even when they make choices, they will come back to God before they begin to reprimand their things.

Number two, like I told you, I'm not a pastor full-time in my church. I'm still praying that God puts me in a place, and I pray, that God should plant me where He wants me to be, and that's where I will flourish, that's where I'm going to be fruitful. So I don't want to follow my own ideas or my own ways or whatever. I may see with my eyes, but I want Him to lead me on, saying, “This is where I want you to be,” because where He puts me, He will be there.

Q1

What do you like to do when you have free time?

When I have free time. I stay home, watch a movie, basically—oh, and read a book.

Q2

What is your favorite memory at CAPA?

Favorite memory at CAPA. Um… the first day when I entered class, Dr. Brian [Biedebach] telling us, "Your coming here into CAPA is both a blessing and a curse." You know, and he explained why it's a curse and why it's a blessing. That has not gone out of my mind this day.

Q3

Why is CAPA both a blessing and a curse?

He said that because he knew that we were coming from a background that didn't really focus much on the Bible; we are kind of topical, and you know, without really looking into the Word and understanding what does it say, you know. So yeah, he explained it would be a curse because a lot of things we believed in will be challenged in this class. It will be a blessing because you get resources that will make you to stand out there and effectively teach God's Word.

Q4

What is one thing that has been challenged while you've been at CAPA?

One thing I have been challenged by being in at CAPA is previously I would just look at a Scripture, jump with it, without really looking at the context and all those things which I've learned when I came to CAPA. So now, if I am asked, "Oh, you are preaching next week," I need to give more time to the passage. Previously, I would do that even the morning on the day of preaching. I would just wake up, and "OK, I will take this passage and I'll preach." But these days, it's not, because I need to explain things in there. So that is one thing that has been really been challenged.

Q5

What has been your favorite class at CAPA so far and why?

Oh! Oho! There are several though, but one class I can really mention is Greek. I've enjoyed Greek class. First because of the professor who [teaches] that class, he's one who's really been there encouraging us. And at the same time, the way Greek is structured as we've been studying it and again comparing it with the other [Bible translations] we've been using… yeah. It's so great.

Q6

What is one attribute of God that you've personally experienced this past year?

His faithfulness, that God is faithful. It's not been easy to be in class every week — every module. It's not been easy. But since I started class, I've never missed a class. It's not by my own strength. No. I've never been in financial problems, maybe [inability] to pay school fees. I've seen His hand every day, every module. So… yeah, He is faithful.

Q7

What wisdom from wise men has benefited your ministry?

When Pastor John Koh [Faith Bible Church], was here, he spoke about a plane, that it has to fly on two wings. And he spoke of prayer [stretches out right arm] and relying on the Holy Spirit [stretches out left arm].

Q8

How has CAPA influenced your family life?

It has influenced my family life mainly through the class of counseling. It made me begin to realize what responsibilities I have toward my wife. There are moments to just look at family as a give and take issue, but when I was in that class, I [realized] no, it is about I giving. I need to keep on giving and giving and giving.

Q9

In what ways has the Lord grown you this past year? What has He been teaching you?

One area He's been teaching me and is still teaching me is about faithfulness. His Word, His work, and to be faithful toward my family. You know, there have been times, I think, I have heard Pastor Jim Ayres saying, "You know, your family is the priority. Even when you fail in class, but if your family is standing, that's the greatest thing."

Q10

What are you looking forward to this year?

This year, I am looking forward to learning new things. Now that we are to start Hebrew, I'm looking forward to understanding it indeed, so that I can be able to also understand how the Hebrew text was written, the context of it, so I want—my desire is that I can understand that language and be able to go through it fluently, if God willing.

Q11

What challenges have you faced in ministry?

Challenge has been balancing school and family and work. Yes, I do my own thing with business so I'm able to organize my time, but during breaks, it becomes a challenge. Sometimes the school suffers one hundred percent because I just need to provide for my family, I've got customers to service, at the same time, I'm desiring the money to pay school fees… So yeah, to make all these things work, it's not been easy. But His grace has been sufficient, and here we are. Yeah.

Q12

What are your future plans for ministry, and did this past year change your future plans?

No, this past year didn't change my future plans. My future plan is to pastor a church where I can be able to see people grow by His grace, and getting established in the ministry as well. That's what I desire to become and to be. And I still pray that God will order my steps to that effect. Yeah.

Q13

Do you have a favorite textbook that you've used so far, and what did you learn from it?

Favorite textbook… Idols of the Heart [by Elyse Fitzpatrick]. It really challenged me. I read it, I think, twice. It really challenged me, because it was — it dealt directly with me. I was reading it, when it was dealing with [uprooting] anger in your heart. And I would begin to see, reveal myself, and yes, these things have been there and they're there indeed. Reading through that book, I came to realize that if God can't help me, and if I can't come to Him for help, I can't manage it. It has really challenged my life.

Q14

If you could leave a word of encouragement to your fellow believers in Malawi, what would you say?

I would say God loves us, but He hates sin. And His desire is that, going to the Scripture, that He wants — His desire is everyone should come to the knowledge of the truth. And Malawi is still open to the gospel, and we shouldn't abuse the opportunity that God has given us.

Q1

How did you decide to join CAPA?

I was running a ministry where I was preaching every Tuesday or Friday, when I saw… I realized that I needed some more formal education. And for some time, I wasn’t convinced of getting one. But when I married my wife, we began to talk about it, and she said, “Are you willing to do school so that you can really understand what you are supposed to do?” But then the challenge was, what type of school? I’ve always desired to do expository preaching, but then in Malawi, there wasn’t any school of that sort… until I heard about CAPA.

And a friend told me about CAPA—then I talked to the teacher who was teaching me in the previous school where I was. So the teacher said “Ah, let me see.” So he met with the teachers from here [CAPA], so, he recommended me to them. So they sent me to the program, so that’s when I came in. And when I went into the class, then I saw—what I really wanted was what this school was offering.

Q2

How come you wanted to do expository preaching and not business, or accounting, or something else?

When I gave my life to Christ, then I began to study the Word. So when I go to church, what I found out was mostly topical preaching, which was missing out on some other things. And I would ask myself, “Why don’t people talk about Daniel, the whole book, verse-by-verse? Why don’t people talk about Matthew verse-by-verse, explaining it to me so that I can understand it?”

And again, as I read the Bible, I could find the footnotes where they would write Greek, Hebrew, and I said “Come on, I need to understand this language, so that I can read the Bible and understand it… know how it was written, why it was written, and how did they understand it [when] they very first believed.” So that’s some of the things that pushed me to say, “I’m looking for a school that does expository preaching.”

Q3

How did you come to accept Christ?

That was 2000, 9th May. I remember, really. I can’t forget that day, yeah. That changed everything.

I wasn’t a church person, per se. My parents weren’t church people as well. So going to church or not going to church, it was optional. You could go, you could not. So there was no problem with that.

So when I came through secondary school and I entered into college, a question bothered me—someone just asked me, “Who are you?” and this one was a friend. He knows me, you know, and he asks me, “Who are you?” But this one was a Christian already, he already believed in Christ. So I said… I had struggled to know who I am, so he tried to explain a bit. But later on I realized, no. The answer I gave myself was, “I am a created being.”

So I came to him and I said, “I am a created being.” So he said, “OK, fine—go and explore more.” So when I went back and beginning to understand I am a created being, who created me, and why did he create me, and what does he want of me? So, those questions.

But I had no answers, until this other day when there was this service at church, a school program. So I happened to go to attend the service—it was a Christian movement at a school. It’s called SCOM: Students Council of Malawi. They meet in almost every single school, colleges… this organization is there.

So, I went to attend, and I don’t remember what was preached, but one thing I remember was: if you die today, what is your fate? And the altar call was made, announced to be a Christian, “Come and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life.” That was it.

So… that day I gave my life to Christ, and since then, I have always walked with the Lord.

Q4

Are you currently pastoring a church?

Currently no, but at my church—I go to Presbyterian Church of Malawi—I teach Sunday school, and I am an elder. Yeah, so, I love teaching! Very much. Right now a curriculum has just been formulated, so two weeks ago, I was teaching on prayer. So, next week, we are supposed to begin to talk about, to go on in prayer, but looking at prayer and fasting.

Q5

How long have you been teaching Sunday school? What are some of the challenges you've faced in ministry?

Five years now. The challenge that has been there is people [trying] to adapt to the new teaching of expository preaching. You know? They are used to topical and all those things—now you come in and begin to explain things. You take them to a passage and you’re trying to [explain, but] sometimes they look at you and they [say], “What is this?” You know?

And again, I’m not a pastor in this church, you know? Maybe, like, in a year, they can ask me to preach twice. And everyone who is coming—these other [men] are preaching topical. So you can see the gap. When you’re standing there and you say, “Okay today, we are looking at Matthew 5:3-4,” and you begin to talk about these ones—there are some who catch it! But tomorrow, it goes. Because when they come tomorrow, someone is coming and saying, “Okay today, we are doing James 3.” And he takes them all everywhere. So that’s one thing that has been a challenge.

The other area is resources—we are limited in resources. I thank God for CAPA, [that] they are able to give us resources. But truly, here in Malawi, resources are rare to come by. I can give you an example: the books we are getting here. Not only can we not be able to buy them, because maybe of financial constraints, but again! You can’t find them in any other bookshop in Malawi. You get it? So, how do I come to… yes, I’ve got the desire to preach! But when you have these other materials with you, they help you, they broaden your understanding, you know? That’s another challenge that we face as a nation, and again, as an individual. Yeah, you really need to study more, but you don’t have the resources to help you out to say, “Okay, how did these other people saw this verse? And how am I supposed to look at it?” And that’s it.

Q6

Do you have any plans for future ministry?

I love, as I’ve already said, teaching. Yeah, so, I’ve been a young man, I’ve been a youth myself. Now I am in, yes mid-30s, I’ve been a youth. I’m [working] with youth right now. But the challenges I’ve faced, the very challenges I faced [during my youth], maybe now they are escalating [because] of the Internet, Twitter, and all those things. They are affecting a lot of young people. And I’ve always prayed and I’ve believed that God will give me a platform, where I’ve always desired to equip young people, prepare them in whatever way I can by God’s grace.

And what I want even still: I know, and I know, I will become a pastor… standing in my church, preaching every Sunday, even in the midweeks as well. And that’s my focus—to equip others, to train others. The way CAPA is doing with me, I just want to do the very same thing. That’s I think, that’s the only way I can repay CAPA—to go out there, equip some people, prepare them, not only for ministry, but for the Lord who is coming.

Because as I talked to some today—you see it, that, we’ve lost it. The way we preach in our churches, it’s not about, “Be ready. He’s coming. Behold,” and all those things. Our generation today, people are focusing about you getting rich and all those things. But, that’s not the Bible way. The Bible first and foremost is salvation; this guy, this woman, this young person, must be saved. And that’s our emphasis, and I want to emphasize those things—bring people to the Bible and show them the main thing.

So, in short, I just want to equip others, train others, make them realize their dream as well and what God has called them to be and to do.

Q7

Did the way you look at the Bible or the way you do ministry change after you did your diploma here at CAPA?

[immediately] Yes. I’ve changed. The way I approach the Bible now—it’s different from the way I approached the Bible then. Because today, as I study, I want to understand it.

Previously I would just read for the sake of reading and memorizing the verses without bringing out, “Okay, this is what I’ve received. This is what God wants me to do.” So I wouldn’t really apply, or sometimes I would apply to others and say, “Ah, this one! It’s better off with that one, not me.” You know?

But today, when I’m going to the Bible, number one: it’s speaking about me, it’s speaking to me. And whatever I’m getting out of it, first it must apply in my own life. That’s how I approach the Bible these days. And it should minister to my life.

Q8

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

1) Number one things: wisdom. Pray that God would give me His spirit of wisdom and excellency. That’s what I cry for. And that I would be faithful to Him, and Him alone. That’s the first thing. I always [tell] people when they ask me, “What do you want us to pray for?” I seek wisdom, that I can really be faithful to God—share His word, and be someone who is faithful to God. So to be filled with that—wisdom from God.

2) The second thing is that…[pause] The one thing I want is to be a pastor… in one church… the rest of my life, at once place. Building up people. And all that. So, what I would ask you to pray for me about whenever you remember me, is that God will guide me, and order my steps, that I should be able to do that, and to show me where He wants to [be].

Sometimes you can go, you can believe yourself and say “If I stand here, if I preach here, it will work.” [But] when God has not planted you, everything becomes in vain. So I don’t want to labor in vain—that’s why I’m asking you, pray that God will plant me where He wants me to be.

Q9

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

Favorite thing about Malawi… we are a peaceful nation. That’s one thing I love about Malawi. Where people, not that we don’t have unforgiveness and bitterness and all those things. They are there, you see them. But the fact that we are not violent… I just love it. That we are able to relate in spite of arguments and afflictions we may have, but we are able to work together, to live together happily, to support each other—we are open to each other.