An Adventure… In the Hospital

First of all, I’m ok now. 🙂 I’ve been taking the Kopp kids advice and getting well soon…

Saturday Chris and I hiked a nearby mountain with a group of friends.

Yesterday I stayed home from church with some tummy issues – not muscle issues as I would have expected from hiking! I couldn’t pinpoint anything I’d eaten but tummy bugs are fairly common here so I wasn’t too worried about it. Chris went to church without me (at my insistence) but within an hour or so I was in pretty extreme pain that was getting worse. Chris came home and took me almost immediately to a clinic recommended to us by a nurse from church because they have an American doctor there and the clinic is Seventh Day Adventist so they would be more open on a Sunday. 🙂

The doctor came to see me after getting blood drawn and an exam from a Malawian doctor there and it seemed certain that I had appendicitis.

Hospitals here are not like American hospitals (probably the understatement of the year) and usually expats who need any kind of invasive surgery require an emergency transport to South Africa. But the doctor suggested we do it here, right away. Also, he is a skilled surgeon, had a clean (and brand new) operating room and was able to do it immediately. Due to some of my other medications, I would have been more likely to have a rupture had we waited for transport to South Africa and that would have been bad news. We got to the clinic around 1:30 pm and I was in surgery before 3:30. The surgery took almost 2 hours but he was able to remove my inflamed and angry appendix and clean up the area. Some of the CAPA men and ladies came to be with Chris during the surgery and brought us food for that night and prayed with us – and they got to see my appendix (so lucky for them!). I slept well last night at the clinic… no beeping heart rate monitors to keep me awake or noisy roommates or loud nurses (nurses did check on me, don’t worry)… And I’m recovering well so far! It’s amazing how fast everything happened but we are so thankful to God for his provision for my care here.

Please pray for my continued recovery and that there wouldn’t be any complications or infections. Pray for CAPA as well as Chris will be mostly staying home a few days with me this week and it is the start of a new module. Jim, the president of CAPA, has been so kind and supportive with covering for Chris and making sure he is able to take care of me. And the whole CAPA team has been incredibly helpful with bringing us meals and praying for us and helping with other practical needs.

It certainly wasn’t an adventure that we would have chosen but we see God at work in it. The clinic we went to isn’t one that we would have even known to go to apart from a referral by a nurse at our church here, the doctor was compassionate and thorough, they had an operating room, and being here let our CAPA friends help us – we seriously feel so loved by everyone! We get to sleep in our own bed tonight. And, kinda funny to say it, but it was cheaper to get it done here and pay cash than it would have been to have it in the US with insurance. Plus, I get a permanent reminder of our time in Malawi every time I look at my belly in the future. 🙂 God is good to us!

Merry Christmas from Malawi

Merry Christmas from Malawi! It has felt like a very different Christmas this year. Last year, we celebrated Christmas away from family as we are this year, but this year it feels very different. We are into the rainy season/summer here in Malawi. The maize crops were planted a few weeks ago and with all the rain we’ve had they are sprouting up. Nowhere in Malawi does it snow (though a local dollar-store-like shop was selling snow shovels).  We have regular thunderstorms instead of regular snow storms.

Snow Shovel in Malawi Around Christmas Time

Photo Credit: Rachel Floreen

Buying Christmas gifts when you know you will be returning with a limited carrying capacity makes things interesting. And listening to Christmas music when it’s summer-like weather just doesn’t quite have the same effect.

But the most important thing is the same: The Son of God still became the 100% God and 100% Man to sprinkle us clean from our infinite guilt and debt.

Behold! My servant shall have success. He shall become exalted and shall become lifted up and shall become very high. As many were horrified on account of you (his appearance had so much disfigurement more than man and his form more than mankind) so he was sprinkling many nations. On account of him, kings shall shut their mouth because what has not been reported to them they see and what they have not heard, they show themselves to have understanding.

Who has put trust in the report to us and the arm of Yahweh with regard to whom has been exposed? He sprung up as the shoot before Him and like the root from ground of a dry country. No form belonged to him and no splendor so that we should consider him and no appearance so that we should desire him.  One despised and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and one acquainted with sickness and as one hiding face from us. One despised and we did not esteem him. Nevertheless, our sicknesses he himself carried and our pains, he bore them, but we esteemed him stricken, struck down of God, and humiliated. But he was being pierced because of our rebellion, being crushed because of our offences. The chastisement for our peace was against him and by his wound we were healed. Isaiah 52:13-53:6

I had my Hebrew Exegesis students at CAPA translate Isaiah 52:13-53:12 because I wanted them to see the glory of the Messiah’s propitiatory death predicted around 700 years before Jesus lay in the manger as the humble God-man-servant-Messiah-king. No majesty, no splendor as Isaiah predicted, but God in human flesh. What glory!

We have finished with the first semester at CAPA for this academic year. At semester’s end we had 18 third year MDiv students looking forward to graduation in April; 28 first year MDiv students looking forward to graduation in 2020; and 28 Diploma students looking to graduate this April as well. I had the privilege to teach all three classes in different subjects.

  • Hebrew Exegesis to Third Year MDiv
  • Introduction to Exegesis to 1st Year MDiv and Diploma (team-taught with Tony McCracken)
  • Academic Writing to Diploma (team-taught with Matt Floreen)
  • Beginning Greek 1 to 1st Year MDiv (covered for Jim Ayers for the last module)

WhatsApp Image 2017-11-06 at 1.40.55 PM

Photo credit: Maya Kuthyola

In addition, I had the opportunity to serve CAPA in administrative tasks and help with IT work. Ashley and I have also had a chance to serve International Bible Fellowship (the church connected with CAPA) with youth ministry. Through youth ministry, we have gotten a chance to spend more time with one of CAPA’s students, Maya Kuthyola. Maya is a wonderful man pursuing full time pastoral ministry and we have come to be good friends.

Kuthyola, Mayamiko

At IBF, I also got to teach an adult Sunday school on how to study the Bible, and Ashley has been able to help with the accounting at the church a bit in addition to helping with some development work for CAPA.

Suffice it to say, we’ve been busy, and have had many adventures! We’ve (re)learned many lessons as well. Here are a few:

  • God DOES give you more than you can handle (contrary to a popular notion) and asks us to do things that we can’t handle on our own to make us rely on Him and His power (2 Cor 12:9-10).
  • A performance mentality versus a gospel mentality will make ministry an idol and rob it of its joy and make you ineffective in ministry. For that matter, this holds true for the whole Christian life.
  • God’s qualifications for the leaders of his church are first and foremost about character and integrity, not skills, talents, or education (1 Tim 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Pet  5:1-4).
  • God uses pressure and trial to expose sin that you didn’t know you had in you. It is a painful display of His love and desire for the holiness of His children.
  • It is the local church’s responsibility (not primarily a seminary’s) to train men for ministry. A seminary can come aside the church to help, but it must be the church that owns the responsibility of training men (2 Tim 2:2).
  • The bond of salvation in Christ creates a family of faith that transcends nations, races, socio-economic status, distance, and denominations (Gal 3:27-29).
  • There are many things that you think you need in life but don’t.
  • Good friendships are forged through being in the trenches of ministry.
  • Missions is not just for the theologically trained. It’s for faithful men and women (who do know their Bibles and have godly character) who are skilled in IT, mechanics, carpentry, etc. There are key and needed ways these folks can serve on “the field.”

One last lesson. Here it is: There is injustice and inequity in this world that will not be solved until Jesus establishes His earthly kingdom. This is an elephant in the room, but it is something that has been on my mind. Malawi is a very poor country. Even the poorest American has opportunities in the US that a Malawian could only dream of. What is the solution? We could talk about political and economic reforms and education and international aid, and while these things are not bad and can be helpful, they do not address the fundamental problem.  From what we have heard, there are over 2000 aid agencies in Malawi. Some of these even compete with one another. And the country still has problems.

So, how can well-intentioned outsiders help? How can I help? My heart goes out to people I see in the streets, people I see in villages, and people I know personally. They don’t have the means that I do. They don’t have the opportunities that I have had. The reality is that as much as I want desperately to see that inequity erased, I cannot do it. Not if I gave away all the money I had 1,000 times over. Do not misunderstand me. There is a time and a place to give money. There are concrete ways to show compassion. There are good ways to pursue social justice that every Christian, including myself, should participate in. But I cannot erase the social injustice. Jesus didn’t do that during his first coming. He gave a taste of the healing and justice He would bring in His kingdom, but not the fulness. He dealt with the deeper problem of man’s broken relationship with God. He bought by His death the ability to escape from the corruption of sinful desire in ourselves that has ruined the world. There is great suffering here on this earth, yet it is finite. The suffering due to God’s wrath is eternal. Jesus dealt with the greater problem during His first coming. He will deal with the remaining problems during His second coming.

The church should show compassion in concrete ways to help alleviate suffering, but it cannot fully erase it. Yet it can faithfully preach the message of eternal comfort (its primary mission (Luke 24:45-47) )while not neglecting to show compassion in concrete, wise, and helpful ways. So, what Malawi needs is an army of preachers armed with the true good news of Jesus Christ to preach faithfully in local churches throughout Malawi. They need to offer the true hope that spans races, countries, and socio-economic statuses. The news that we all need to escape from God’s wrath and not the often repeated half-truths of prosperity gospel charlatanism that deceives Malawians and bilks them out of what meager means they have.

This is why I believe in what we do at CAPA as we seek to train faithful preachers of the gospel. It has been amazing to see how hungry the guys are for the truth and the means to preach it. There is nothing quite like being able to help someone to study and teach the Bible better, and to think of the impact that that can have under God’s blessing. Although we are already half way done with our time at CAPA in Malawi, it has increased my appetite to train men for ministry wherever God would have us in the future.

Please keep Malawi and CAPA in your prayers. If you are interested in giving to CAPA please follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Merry Christmas from Malawi,

Chris and Ashley Mullins

We got here!

Hello from Lilongwe, Malawi! We’re so excited to be here! A few really great things:

-Our flights were mostly on time and quite smooth, including all of the security checks and plane transfers. 

-All of our luggage was at the airport waiting for us when we got through customs. I was concerned about this but it was no issue at all! Praise the Lord!

-We’re staying with Matt & Brianne Kopp this week. They are such a blessing! Their home is comfortable and they & their family are so kind and helpful!

-We got Malawian cell phone numbers! It’s a small step but we’re excited to dive into life here.

-We came early to be able to train with Sam & Amanda before they leave and we’re so thankful to be able to do that!

More details, photos & updates will be coming soon!

The Mandate and Multiplicative Effect of Training Men for Ministry–A Brief Theology of Why We want to Help Train Pastors in Malawi


Jesus, the Head of the Church, gave the church the mandate to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20). A disciple of Christ is one who follows Christ and loves Him and shows his or her love by obedience to His commands. But a big follow-up question is, “How?” How are disciples to be made among all the nations of the world? Of course, disciple-making may take on a variety of forms, but what do the Scriptures have to say about how the Great Commission is to be fulfilled? Paul answers part of this questions in Romans 10.


For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:11-15


Sent preachers are the start of a chain reaction that God empowers to save souls. When Paul speaks of a preacher, he has the idea of a herald, an ambassador preaching his Lord’s edicts. Of course Paul has in mind the need for initial cross-cultural missionaries to speak the gospel to those who had never heard it (in fact his whole purpose in writing Romans was as a support letter to get the church of Rome behind him to bring the gospel to Spain [Romans 15:22-24]). Yet, if we left it there, we would have a very poor understanding of disciple-making in the New Testament.


After initial preaching and reception of the gospel, the model that we see in Acts is the establishment of local churches under qualified male leadership.


When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Acts 14:21-23


After the initial establishment of an outpost of God’s Kingdom through the manifestation of a local church, disciple-making continues in the context of that local church through the preaching of the word of God.


Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 TImothy 4:13-16


Preachers in the church must be able to handle God’s word well and be able to train up men to teach others also.


and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15


It is through such men, morally qualified (see 1 Timothy 3) shepherd-teachers that the local church body is equipped to do the work of ministry, a work that is oriented around seeing the body of Christ grow.


And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12


The multiplicative effect of training men who will be able to train others also can hardly be overestimated. Consider that if you are a Christian, you are the fruit of Jesus’ training of a few ordinary men. Consider Paul’s ministry in Ephesus.


But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. Acts 19:9-10


No doubt, Paul’s ministry in Ephesus that reached Asia Minor produced men like Epaphras, a Colossian, who became preacher and shepherd to tiny Colossae 100 miles from Ephesus. Paul probably never went to Colossae, but his ministry impacted them through Epaphras.


just as you learned [the gospel] from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:7-8


In the case of my own home church in Spokane, the obedience to the mandate to train men to be elders, missionaries, preachers, and shepherds has literally had ripple effects around the globe. Currently there are seven men from my home church at the Master’s Seminary. Four of these men I grew up with from elementary school or earlier. Three of those who I grew up with are actively pursuing future work in missions. A friend from high school now works with Bible translation efforts in Asia. An elder’s son is now doing missions work in South America. Many whom my church has invested in and sent to seminary now pastor churches in such places as Nevada, Michigan, and Florida. I attribute much of this to the mindset that we all grew up with: current leaders are to train men to have multiplicative impact. I am very blessed to be part of this heritage of training men.


How does this all relate to missions and Malawi? What is the strategy to have long-term impact for the gospel in Malawi and throughout the world? Is there a need for initial cross-cultural missions to proclaim the gospel in foreign countries? Yes! Local churches in Country A must send preachers to Country B. However, the baton of leadership in the local church must be given to qualified men in Country B for generational gospel impact.


Let’s view it another way. Does it make more sense to send 20 preachers from Country A to proclaim the gospel throughout Country B (an expensive undertaking indeed!) or does it make more sense for Country A to send one preacher and teacher to train 19 men from Country B as careful preachers of God’s word? Those 19 men from Country B will know Country B’s culture way better than the one missionary, and they will have natural inroads that the one man from Country A could never have.


This is The Master’s Academy International’s (TMAI) missions model. It’s model is to vigorously train national pastors for long-term multiplicative impact in not only the school’s country but surrounding countries. The TMAI in Malawi (called the Central African Preaching Academy) follows this same philosophy. Lord-willing, I will be helping current Master’s of Divinity students at this school (many of whom are current pastors) learn how to accurately handle God’s word in the Old Testament by using the original Hebrew language. What excites me about this opportunity is the chance to continue the multiplicative ministry of training men for ministry. With God’s empowerment and blessing such a work will have ripple effects geographically and generationally.


Will you commit to partnering with us by praying for God to use us at CAPA in Malawi? Will you seriously consider partnering with us financially in this multiplicative ministry? Thank you to those who have already committed to partner with us in these essential ways!


To help us know how many are willing to support us to go to Malawi while we are still waiting for official authorization from Grace Community Church for this trip (we should hear back later this week!), please fill out this form.


Thank you for reading and sharing our excitement as we prepare to go! God bless!