“I thought I know the Bible, but, that first week in class, it has showed me that there is a lot that I need to learn. I’m just here, open up my heart, ready to learn and understand, and have the Word of God minister to me personally and grow.”

George Vilili

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 43
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife and three daughters (15, 10, 6)

George is a pastor at his church and works full-time. Although balancing the two can be difficult, he trusts that the Lord will provide. Although he has been a pastor for over 20 years, George said that CAPA has already taught him a lot within his first week of school. He hopes to share what he has learned at CAPA with the leadership at his church.

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

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George shares his plans for ministry.


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Interview with George Vilili

2017

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Q2

Have you faced any hardships because of your faith?

Q3

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

Q4

Is there anything you’re nervous about?

Q5

Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Q6

What are your future ministry plans?

Q7

How is managing the duties of a being a pastor and having a full-time job at the same time?

Q8

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

Q9

Are there any ways we can be praying for you?

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

I came to know the Lord when I was starting at [college]—that was 1995. […] And I prayed, I remember, but I couldn’t remember what I was praying for. And when I woke up in the morning, I went to one of the born-again believers to tell him about happened in the night, and he led me to the Lord. And since that time, I’ve been walking.

Was there anything in particular that he said that stood out to you?

Yes; he told me the need to be born again. He had asked me why I had felt to pray during the night. [...] I said, “I didn’t find anything right that I could’ve mentioned in prayer, because I saw myself as a sinner.” So, he says, “Yeah, that is God calling you to repent and become a born again.” So, I followed what he taught me and I gave my life to the Lord.

Q2

Have you faced any hardships because of your faith?

Yes, the first few days when I give my life to the Lord, I had some challenges because people didn’t believe I’ve changed, so most of my old friends still invite me to my old life, including the lectures at school, so I found it a bit tough. I had to make a decision to continue following Jesus Christ or go back to my old ways, but I decided to follow Jesus Christ. So, I had a tough life with my friends, especially the first year where I gave my life to the Lord, but then later on, people accept my decision and then I moved on with life.

Are you still friends with them?

Oh, yeah. Interestingly, four of the friends who gave me a tough life, today, they have all given their life to the Lord. Two of them are pastors, so it’s exciting. [laughs]

Q3

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

I heard about CAPA three years ago. I had a friend who was doing Master of Divinity at African Bible College. He had told me that I need to do Bible school. But then, I wasn’t convinced yet because I was afraid of the languages, the Greek and the Hebrew. And my senior pastor also told me that I need to go to Bible school, and by then I was looking for other Bible schools that do not teach languages. But my senior pastor insisted that I need to learn languages for me to understand the original language of the Bible. So, with the passage of time, I had made up my mind, and decided to come to CAPA.

Q4

Is there anything you’re nervous about?

The languages. [laughs] Greek and Hebrew. But, [after] the first week in class, I think I can keep up, yeah.

Q5

Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Yes, I’m looking forward to learn more about the Bible. I’ve been serving the Lord since 1995. I thought I know the Bible, but, that first week in class, it has showed me that, there is a lot that I need to learn. I’m just here, open up my heart, ready to learn and understand, and have the Word of God minister to me personally and grow.

Q6

What are your future ministry plans?

My future ministry plans is serving the Lord. We have plans as a church in the future to train our leaders. That passion and that dream is becoming more clear now after coming to CAPA, because if I’ve served the Lord for the past over 20 years and my ignorance has been exposed, I’m thinking about the kind of leaders that we have in our church, that they need also to have some training—not Master of Divinity but in the basic understanding of the Bible. So, I’m thinking for the future, once I finish this school, we’re going to have serious training for our leaders, at the eldership but also at the deaconship so that they can know more about the Lord and how they can interpret the Scriptures.

Q7

How is managing the duties of a being a pastor and having a full-time job at the same time?

It is managing, and one of the things I’m trusting God for His grace is helping me to manage the time. Pastoring a church is demanding, work is demanding, but also studying is demanding. And on top of that, I have a family made up of three girls—one needs attention, and the other is going into the teens shortly, so she needs Dad around, but I trust in God for grace, and wisdom, and time management, and discipline.

Q8

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

God has been providing for my life and for my family. I remember one instance in 2009. I didn’t have a job. I stayed home for three years without a job at that time. I was not sure whether God was calling me into full-time ministry, or it was just a crisis in life, but you know that time, the Lord has been providing to send the kids to school, I was able to support the family. How? I don’t know. I just know that God was there for us.

Q9

Are there any ways we can be praying for you?

Yes. I just talked about the four dimensions of my life: church, family, work, and school. It could be intimidating and threatening at the same time. But it is manageable, so that is an area where I need God’s guidance.

Our church is at the point where it’s growing and there is a lot of demand, so I just hope that God is going to grant us the grace, and me specifically as a leader of the local church to manage the growth and to impact lives. So yes, I need God’s grace and wisdom, and much prayers, I think, in that direction. Yup.