It is not enough for those who desire to teach the Word to know the Scriptures; they must also live them. CAPA seeks not only to train pastors to learn to interpret the Word, but also to lead lives worthy of the gospel.
When asked about how CAPA has impacted them, students commonly refer to not only the tools they've received to study the Word of God but also the examples and instruction of CAPA faculty changing the way they live as individuals, love their wives, and lead their families.
A few years ago, students were studying Ephesians 5-6 in a class taught by CAPA President Jim Ayres. The passage reveals how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church and lays down commands for how husbands and wives ought to model it in their earthly marriage. To follow after Christ in the way He sacrificially loved the church and laid down His life for her, students were given a simple assignment: date night. The men were to take their wives on a date, write a reflection, and submit it to Jim.
This was not an easy task in a context in which Christ’s model of love was radically foreign. In Malawi, it is typical and ingrained in the culture that husbands rule over their wives, leave familial duties to them, or even abuse them. To love their wives in the way that Christ loved the church would not only be countercultural, but shameful. For a husband to help his wife in the kitchen, rather than an act of apparent care, would be misconstrued as an indication of his wife’s incompetence. It would bring disgrace upon his wife and family.
One of these students who was challenged by Jim’s assignment was Elia Kwenda. For this assignment, he took his wife out on a date for the first time in ten years. Regarding the way he treated his wife before, he said:
“I been a man who left everything to the hands and the shoulders of my wife, and just bring kids, training them. I thought that if I do well with her, then she is responsible. [...] I sent her to school, with an assumption that she would come back and train the kids.”
Jim said that, during the class break that day, many of the men went outside to repent to the Lord for the way they treated their wives and called their wives to ask for forgiveness.
“[CAPA] showed us passages and gave us work and they taught us and they, after teaching us, I was able to see by myself in the Scriptures and Ephesians the commands that God is giving us in the Scripture. So starting through book of Ephesians, especially from chapter 5 and chapter 6, I realized that it’s really my responsibility to lead in the training and disciplining of my children.
“Is the truth that I got here, realized I was not doing right. I loaded on her shoulders a lot of things that was supposed to be done by myself, and that I regretted, and I confessed before God and before my friends and so before my wife.”
The Word of God transformed Elia’s view of his role in the family as God designed it, and he obeyed.
“So the love between her and me, myself it’s okay, but the responsibilities the roles towards our kids, I left everything to her. So now we, we doing together, with me taking the lead, and training the kids and disciplining them, and is working.”
The blessings of obedience not only affected Elia’s marriage, but also his ministry.
When asked about His preaching, Elia said that God used his wife to encourage him every Sunday. Elia was often discouraged after preaching, worried that the people were not truly understanding the message in Scripture. However, his wife urged him to continue and even told him that she was going to teach the same book of Matthew to the women’s group she was in.
Studying the Word not only equips for preaching, but necessarily manifests in transformed living.
We praise God for the transformative power of His word in Elia’s life. We pray that the Lord would raise up students to, like the scribe and priest Ezra in the Bible, “study, practice, and teach” the Word (Ezra 7:10).
And we thank God for donors like you, through whom He provides the means for students like Elia to study at CAPA to study and teach Scripture.
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