“When I got news that I’ve been chosen to come to CAPA, this is also my time that I said, ‘Wow! God is still alive.’ He can see all this through. And He has seen me passing all this situation, and He was just considering me to be part of this program, and I know I’ll finish it.”

Joseph Grem

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 34
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife, three sons

Joseph is currently an associate pastor of a church in Lilongwe. Although he was persecuted by his village and asked to leave his old church because of his faith, he desires to pour into the lives of others to help them grow in the faith.

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

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Interview with Joseph Grem

2017 2015

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Q2

Have you faced any hardships or challenges because of your faith?

Q3

What are you looking forward to for this year?

Q4

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

Q5

Is there any way we can be praying for you?

Q1

Why did you decide to attend CAPA?

Q2

What is one thing you hope to learn at CAPA?

Q3

What are your future ministry plans?

Q4

How did you first hear about Jesus? How did you come to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Q5

Any prayer requests you’d like to share?

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

I come to know the Word in the year 2008. Ah, no, no, no… uh, 1998. So there was a meeting somewhere—I mean, through World Vision. So they come up with a trophy—like one way of winning souls. So, they organized some games to play and, at the end of that game, preaching the message.

So by then there was a divorce—my mom and dad. Then that took about 22 years. Yeah. So it was like—I was lacking the love of my dad and… you know?

Yeah, so when I got the message, I was so convicted because that was the time when I said, “Okay, this time around I cannot see my dad, but I have this opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior so that he can take care all of my problems.” That’s why I came to know the Lord after the message was preached. Yeah. So I gave my life to Christ; then I started following Him. Yeah.

Q2

Have you faced any hardships or challenges because of your faith?

Yes. In the first time of my ministry, then—you know, after receiving Christ—then I started ministering, going here and there, you know. As you know, most of the times when you just convicted, you have this zeal of preaching the gospel to others so that as they’re passing through the same situations that you’ve gone through, then Christ is the answer also. So this is how I did it.

And I started a ministry—that was on 20 December 2003. I remember the time, there was a problem because I was ignored from the village. Even the chiefs were saying, “No, no, no. We cannot tolerate this. We don’t want this. Then choose a place.” So I was chased away from the village. And also the church that I was going said, “No, no, no. We can’t tolerate this because you are bringing now a confusion among us, the church.” So they did not understand, until I continued.

Then yeah. God sustained me. Yeah. So I finished—I mean, I started on 20 December 2003 as a ministry, and it was growing, growing, growing, growing. So I’ve been going through a number of churches because I wanted to find someone who can be like my father—my spiritual father. Because the one who preached by then was pastor. So it was like I did not have a father—a spiritual father. So I was looking for someone until 2004, when I got someone. Yes; starting caring me, accepting me, and also trying to teach me this and that. Yeah, yeah. That’s how far I went through.

As I am saying, you know, it was like, I think with the fear that I had by then I said, “No, I don’t want to go ahead with a preaching and doing this and that.” So when I got to a certain church, and people realized that I have a gift of ministry, then they say, “Okay, we have chosen you to become one of our elders.” I said, “No, no, no, no! I don’t want that,” because I was fearing of that. So about five churches when I’ve been chosen to be in a certain position, I said, “No! I don’t want it,’ until when I got here in Lilongwe in 2012.

So I started working somewhere as I was cleaning church—the toilets. Yeah, yeah. They said, “I can see that this guy has got a ministry,” because I was hiding myself saying, “No, I’m not ministering, but I just want to survive.” Because I’ve been—I was in a certain situation, yeah, in my family. My wife was sick and nearly died. So she got paralyzed and, as I’m saying, she cannot walk—she use a wheelchair. So it was like, whatever I had by then, it was finished. So yeah—and it was like, you know, I should go somewhere and find a job so as to sustain my family.

Yeah, so when I got up here—I started mopping, cleaning the church—is when they discovered that this guy has got a ministry. They started nurturing me and nurturing me until I got this news of coming to CAPA. Yeah, yeah. So I came here, and I did it—the diploma—and I applied also to do bachelor’s, and I was, you know, offered to do master’s because of the work hard I had during the past. Yeah, that’s it.

Q3

What are you looking forward to for this year?

I’m very much excited, especially being chosen and being part of this [Master of Divinity] class. […] The work that God has started in me will be finished because I’m aiming high. I started a ministry—a teenage ministry. I want what I’m learning to deposit into these young men so that as they grow up, they should be a better leaders and also teach others better ways of how they can live their lives through Christ.

Q4

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

Yeah. It was 2013—because the kwacha that I was receiving—by then it was 3,000 kwacha per month, of which it could not sustain my family. Until when I was offered—say now, “We’re looking for someone to work in the office of administration as an administration assistant.” I said—people said, “What if you can just apply?” I said, “No, I think… let me do this.”

Then I did it. And I was chosen work as part of that, and since then I’ve been seeing God work through me. Yeah, starting through me to reach, at this point, to work as an administrator, I thank God. Yeah. Because it’s Him who has taken me through all this, up until this point, and I believe that, yeah, He has a lot to do upon my life. Sure. And when I got news that I’ve been chosen to come to CAPA, this is also my time that I said, “Wow! God is still alive.” He can see all this through. And He has seen me passing all this situation, and He was just considering me to be part of this program, and I know I’ll finish it. Yeah.

Q5

Is there any way we can be praying for you?

Yeah—I mean, it’s two things. Courage. That’s one thing. Because, you know, as I’m having a family that needs me—also I’m also doing work at the same time I’m studying—so I need courage.

And the other thing is, also pray for my family—because most of the time, when you’re doing such other things, you know, home is best sometimes. You know, you have to care [for] your family; and I pray for the grace of the Lord to protect my family as long as I’m studying here.

Q1

Why did you decide to attend CAPA?

As of now, I’m working with Pastor Manganga as pastoral assistant. And they decided to send me to CAPA. The pastor himself said, “You know, you should go there. So that we can help each other pastor this church.” I love this ministry, because people, they don’t know God. So was this CAPA, you know, when I heard of this Central African Preaching Academy, I said, “Wow, they are so many, so many Bible schools that are teaching the Word. But how special is this CAPA.” Then I discovered that, “Oh, wow, there is something which I wanted, and that is expository teaching.” That I should learn here, and I’m not taking this for granted, because I’m coming from afar.

Q2

What is one thing you hope to learn at CAPA?

I want to get a degree in theology. So that I can have more capacity to deliver to others who don’t know.

[Also,] how I should work hard just to achieve what I wanted. So that people should hear clear message, clear message. Who God is and how they can worship him, how they can believe him, how they can trust him. Part of that encouragement is that God is there, and that God is real.

Q3

What are your future ministry plans?

After we’ve been trained here, I think, I don’t know what the church can do with me. But I am ready to go everywhere. And you know, this is my life, this is my life. When I say my life, I mean it. Because I depend upon this. Had it not been that God upon my life, then I would be somewhere else, and I would not be Joseph like the way I know myself. I am speaking this from deep down broken heart; that this is what is making me be what I am today, because of God.

So I’d like to plant the same spirit to many, to preach the gospel to many, to teach the way, that people should be examples, that they should live by the Word. So if they take me, send me somewhere else, that’s where I will be.

Q4

How did you first hear about Jesus? How did you come to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

There was an environmental organization that was World Vision International, and they were preaching the message. Then, with the situation that I was in, when I heard somebody preaching, if you are in a certain difficult situation and you have nowhere to go, Jesus is there for you, then he can help you. Then with my life, I gave it to Jesus Christ and I started ministry. That was 1998, when I got saved.

Q5

Any prayer requests you’d like to share?

My prayer is that God should allow me to complete the vision. Then I will be free indeed. Then God will remain God on my side. And this is my prayer, that I should complete the way that I started. May God open the doors, that I should reach what he wanted me to reach. To preach worldwide, or maybe even in America.