This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

African evangelist ‘born for mission’

Madalitso Kaputa of Malawi has an insatiable hunger to share the gospel. With the joy of the Lord as his strength, his life’s purpose — to reach the unreached — is clear.

Madalitso Kaputa with son Temwanani and wife Ethel Chirwa. — Doug and Barb Miller/MWC
Madalitso Kaputa with son Temwanani and wife Ethel Chirwa. — Doug and Barb Miller/MWC

“I was born for mission,” he said. “I will die for mission.”

The Brethren in Christ Church in Malawi, a landlocked country in southeast Africa, encouraged Kaputa with opportunities to serve and lead since he was a youth. Honored, he has not looked back.

Kaputa was born to a Christian father and Muslim mother who separated when he was 5. He lived with his mother for two years.

“I remember being trained to be brave and to understand Islam,” he said.

At age 7, he went to live with his father.

“The messages of faith preached at my dad’s church grew roots and budded in my heart,” he said.

At 16, he repented of his sins and was saved after listening to a gospel message. He avidly read an English Bible.

“I was fascinated with the stories,” he said.

He and his friends began to minister in Mposa and Mtepa villages in Machinga District.

“I shared my personal testimony,” he said. “People gave their lives to the Jesus I now knew.”

People were keen to listen to Kaputa because he was a good football player.

“Bit by bit, I quit going to soccer games,” he said. “My Saturdays were fully occupied with evangelism work, and that gave me more joy.”

The BICC Malawi Conference sent him to World Missions Centre, an interdenominational institute started by the Assemblies of God Church, for a year of study.

“The hunger I had to reach the unreached was fired up,” he said.

He and a team of friends traveled on borrowed bicycles for up to six hours one way on evangelistic missions. Kind people gave them food and shelter.

“At times, we slept in the bush, but we were happy to see people saved,” he said.

The BICC sent him for further studies at Evangelical Bible College of Malawi from 2009 to 2011. He is now turning his dissertation into a book.

“I believe a church is not like stagnant water but that it must move,” he said. “Church needs to go out to bring in the people.”

After he asked the bishop to send him on a mission, he went to Paraguay to attend the Mennonite World Conference Global Youth Summit in 2009.

“I was greatly encouraged and motivated to get back home and do more in sharing the gospel,” he said.

A year in Pennsylvania

Next, the bishop encouraged him to apply for the International Volunteer Exchange Program with Mennonite Central Committee. He spent 2013-14 in Souderton, Pa., assisting the chaplain at Dock Woods and Dock Meadows retirement communities.

“This exposure also helped me realize the importance of service,” he said.

In 2016 he was to be commissioned to share the gospel with the predominantly Muslim Yao people of the Mangochi region.

The evangelism approach was different than his previous work, so he followed the footsteps of mentors Doug and Barb Miller: start with developing relationships, especially with the chief.

Once the gospel had taken root, the villagers began to ask him to visit their relatives in other villages.

Kaputa is involved with a Christian radio station, where he runs programs on Bible discovery and daily devotions. Many villagers get together to listen.

Kaputa and his wife, Ethel Chirwa, have a 1-year-old son, Temwanani.

Kaputa smiles a lot. A talented singer and dancer, he has a gift of interpreting sermons in different languages.

“The gospel of God’s love is full of grace and love,” Kaputa said. “Peace is paramount.”

Only death will stop him from sharing it.

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