The (Phone) Call

  • Post category:Personal stories
  • Reading time:6 mins read

10am 31st January 2022
WhatsApp messages

Lance: “Morning. Are you guys good for a proper call this evening?”
Sheree: “Does 7pm-8pm work for u guys…”
Lance: “Yes. Or 6pm – 12pm”
Sheree: “hahahahah. That bad hey?”

At the time of these messages, Lance and his wife, Sue, (who Sheree views as her spiritual parents) had been pioneering new work for Four12 in Malawi. We had plans to host them at our house for a short stay a few weeks later.

The Phone Call starts

Holding the phone between Sheree and me, set to speakerphone, we talked with Lance.
After some initial conversation, he said, “I need to chat to you guys about the churches in Malawi.”
“I still have quite a huge headache,” Sheree said, anticipating a long, deep conversation, “can we rather chat about the churches when you come and visit us?”
“No, sorry, I need to chat to you about the churches now,” Lance said, respectful but adamant.
We looked at each other, raising our eyebrows, wondering what was so urgent, not knowing this phone call was about to change the trajectory of our lives.

The Permanent Revolution

In the month prior to the phone call, I had been reading the book of Acts and the letters of Paul, recounting the miraculous stories of the early church. I had also been reading a book titled, The Permanent Revolution, which is a deep-dive study into Ephesians 4, focusing specifically on the gifts of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers.

Writing in my journal on the 19th of January, I recorded how I was feeling that God had a shift in store for us, thinking it may be in 3 years time, not knowing we would receive the phone call two weeks later.

The Question

Back to the phone call with Lance.
“We are moving down to Blantyre to lead the Living Stones Church,” Lance said, explaining the recent developments and revised strategies of their ministry in Malawi.
“Wow!” we said, “that’s a big move, but it sounds like a good one.”
“However,” Lance continued, “we have this small group in Lilongwe that we’ve been meeting with, gathering for prayer, worship, and teaching, and we believe God wants to start a church from this group.”
“Okay…” we said, glancing at each other, wondering where this conversation was going.
Then Lance launched his question, throwing it out across the airwaves like a rock thrown into a peaceful lake, swallowed with a splash, the ripples racing across the mirror of water.
“Will the two of you consider coming to Lilongwe, to lead the group and start a Four12 church?” Lance said.

The Response

Speechless for a moment, our mouths open yet no sounds uttered, our eyes expanded, shocked, trying to take in the question. Lance explained that he and Sue, and a few other JoshGen church couples, had been praying about this for a time. He had also spoken to Andrew Selley and Ryan Kingsley (Apostolic leaders within Four12) about us, and both of them had given their approval to approach us, asking us to consider the call.
“Thank you for thinking of us,” I said to Lance, after a bit more discussion, “we’ll have to pray about it.”

The New Adventure

In the following weeks Jesus started pressing it on our hearts, more and more, that He was asking us to follow Him to Malawi. Like apostle Paul experienced, God was opening a wide door for effective work for us (1 Corinthians 16:9 – a verse that spoke to my spirit). In another one of my morning quiet times, I read a quote from Oswald Chambers, the teacher behind one of the most popular devotionals of all time (My Utmost for His Highest).

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R

It was a daunting prospect to pack up house, sell our stuff, and relocate our lives to a foreign country. Especially a country where there would be some significant language barriers and cultural differences, a country that was one of the worlds least developed and most impoverished. But despite all of this, we felt God was leading us this way. He was our King, He had brought a venture to us, and so we had to trust Him, obey, and take it… and so we did.

Now the new adventure begins…

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Claire

    Thank you for sharing this context and backstory! Great to hear how it all started.

  2. Sacha

    Blessing follows obedience! Your faithfulness is going to build His kingdom

  3. Kristina

    Wow! Just wow. 🫢❤️

  4. Janene

    He will continue to lead you!

  5. Elsie

    Wow ! God is faithful and He will be with you every step of the way. God will take care of all the barriers and soon enough I believe language barrier will not be a problem.
    Looking forward to testimonies as you journey.

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