“I have learned that He is faithful where there are no challenges, [and] He is faithful even when I am going through challenges.”

Raphael Zimba

Program Advanced Diploma ('16)
Age 49
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife and three children

Raphael is currently an Advanced Diploma student residing in Kasungu, Malawi. He pastors a small church of 20 people, mostly comprised of single women. His favorite part about Malawi is the rural areas, because he sees the needs of the people: “This is where my heart is.”

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Raphael talks about his desire to learn how to preach expositionally.


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Interview with Raphael Zimba

2015

Q1

Are you currently a pastor? How big is your church?

Q2

So what kind of challenges have you faced in ministry?

Q3

What do you think the Lord has taught you through these challenges?

Q4

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

Q5

What are your future ministry plans?

Q6

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

Q7

What is your favorite part of Malawi?

Q8

What do you hope to learn from CAPA?

Q1

Are you currently a pastor? How big is your church?

My church is very small—it started in 2012, and it completely, you know, finished [ended] because pastors… were not willing to pastor that church. Yeah, yeah, because you know, they were not getting the returns which they wanted to get. Yeah. Yes, I am the only pastor, and I’ve been there for a year because I went there last year.

Q2

So what kind of challenges have you faced in ministry?

Hm… yeah, I have faced challenges in ministry. Um… the first one I can say, support, because my church is small—20 people. But the majority are women who are single parents because most of men in my area, they go to South Africa looking for work, and they leave behind women with the children. So, my support, you know, cannot come from such type of congregation. And I am a married person—I have three children, all of them are in secondary school. So, I need money to send them to pay for their studies, and my survival.

And the other challenge is the place of worship—we were using a classroom so we had to identify our own property. But, that one, we haven’t yet fully paid for that property, such that 2 weeks ago, the owner threatened us to leave the place if we do not pay the remaining amount of money.

Yeah, the other challenge is that… people not coming to church regularly. Because they are looking for money for their survival. So, even Sundays, you find them absenting themselves from church, and looking for money.

Um, there is also another challenge, and this is, lack of Bibles. [pause] The church… lacks Bibles. You know, members cannot manage to buy Bibles, most of them. So, for them to study, even after, for them to read when we are in church with the pastor, and when they are at home, for them to study on their own, they have difficulties because of the absence of Bibles. Yeah.

Q3

What do you think the Lord has taught you through these challenges?

Yeah it’s… I have learned that He is faithful where there are no challenges, [and] He is faithful even when I am going through challenges.

The Lord has confirmed my ministry, to keep on going, and depending on Him. Because, you know, I was tempted to say, “Let me look for a job for my survival.” I did interviews somewhere, but I was not picked. And I had, you know, many questions about God. Is He really caring for me and my family? Why I am not getting the employment, because the church cannot support me?

But I thank God, that, He kept on speaking to me, that I should do… ah, be faithful to the church, in teaching the Word. And I should not look elsewhere for support, but to Him only. Yes, amen.

Q4

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

You know, it was through sickness. So I was suffering from a sickness, and I had body pains. Now, I was getting, you know, medication, but I was not getting, you know, healed. So, I kept on asking myself, “Suppose I die with this illness. Then, which shall be my destination?”

And I saw, there was no other place where I could go apart from hell. And I said, “No, but I don’t want to go to hell, so help me God.” And I had my brother, who was a believer, and he helped me to accept Jesus as my personal Savior.

How old were you then?

Well, I was in my 30's.

Q5

What are your future ministry plans?

Ah! Um, I plan not just to use my church as a place of exposing the Word, but even using the print media! Yes, I am planning to be writing expository sermons, so that even those who do not go to church can meet Jesus Christ through the writings.

And, um, I am also not scared that after the training, I will also use the radios. We have televisions in this country, you know, so I will use them by preaching the message through the radios, televisions.

Yeah but um, the other way is that I have a dream… of coming up with the school… which will focus on expository preaching.

That's like CAPA, right?

Yeah, just like CAPA. But where CAPA cannot go, I will go there. So there will be a complementary work, yeah.

Q6

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

Um, I need prayers, that God… helps me in being faithful in the area of teaching the Word. Prayers, I need it, also in areas of financial breakthrough. [pause] And that my future plans materialize. Yes

Q7

What is your favorite part of Malawi?

Well, I… my favorite part of Malawi is the rural areas, yeah. Because they are… disadvantaged people, you know, they don’t have many things. Even things they need for their daily living—they don’t have. So, this is, you know, this is where my heart is, so that I can make the difference through the help of God. Yes.

Q8

What do you hope to learn from CAPA?

Yeah, from CAPA, I am expecting to learn exegesis, homiletics… above all, expository preaching. Yeah, yeah. Nowadays, there are a lot of fake preachers. I can just call them fake prophets. They are just, you know, deceiving people in the name of preaching.

So, I just want to present the real truth by digging out the real meaning of the Word and making proper applications. Because, the greatest need of this time is the presence of true [ministers]. And, the most dangerous thing in our present time, is that false prophets are numerous. So I would like to make a difference.