Seth & Emily Phippen Newsletter (Spring 2019)

Dear Friends, 

We hope that spring has come your way and that you are thawing out from the cold winter months. Life and ministry with Teen Missions in Malawi continues on with exciting new opportunities, ministry expansion and kingdom growth. Thank you for praying for and financially supporting our family. We thank God for the opportunity that we have to serve Him here in Malawi because of the sacrifices that you have made and continue to make because of your love for us and the people of Malawi.

The Phippen Family

It’s amazing how fast kids grow up! When we came to Malawi in January, Emma was just two months old and just acting like a newborn—sleeping and eating a lot and that’s about it. Now at six months old she still sleeps and eats a lot, but now she has some new tricks! She has started to babble to anyone who will listen and can roll over, but only when she is really motivated to. James is her best friend and he always knows how to make her laugh. Speaking of James, he has been doing a lot of growing too! He has been doing school with Emily every day and loves it. Writing, math and drawing are his favorite subjects. He even has a pile of papers he calls his “work” and sometimes when I go to work he wants to come to my office and bring his papers so he can “work” with me! He continues to become more and more creative with his legos and loves playing outside with Lauren. In addition to her adventures with James, Lauren also likes doing her school work. After her Bible story, she paints a picture with watercolors and she is always excited to hang it up on the refrigerator and show anyone she can. She loves reading books and watching the monkeys and chickens do what they do. She likes to follow her daddy everywhere and is always eager to go to the city because she loves to shop. Emily continues to run the Finance Office, making sure that everything is getting into the system correctly as well as tackling many other office projects that I have been trying to finish. She has also been busy printing all the lessons and crafts for the next six months for the 69 weekly Sunday schools that Teen Missions runs in Malawi. That’s about 11 boxes of paper and hours of photocopying! I have continued to coordinate the work of Teen Missions and the 60 staff and more than 100 Bible school students and help them with their various problems. 

I have had the opportunity over the past few months to meet with many of the chiefs who oversee villages that Teen Missions is working in and to convey our appreciation to them for the work they are doing in the villages. I believe a good relationship with the local chief of village leaders as well as government officials is important for the ministry here in Malawi. Navigating all the government policies and requirements of a ministry in a country that operates different from your own, I find both challenging and stimulating. The hardest part is finding time to get all the things done that need to get done while you are also figuring it out as you go! 

Please continue to pray for our family that we would be effective ministers for the Lord in Malawi and that we would be faithful examples of the love of God.

Agricultural success vs Floods in Malawi

Partly due to the early rain that came in November and partly to the hard work and creativity of the teachers and students at the Bible school in Chipoka (where Emily and I live), we have had a great year of agricultural prosperity. Last season we harvested 10 bags of rice from our fields, but this year we have already harvested 15 bags with an additional 15 bags worth of rice waiting to be harvested. We have also harvested maize and continue to have bananas coming in from the garden. Our fields of cassava are also doing well and we should have many cassava by the end of this season. God has really increased our fields and we are grateful to Him and remember that every good gift comes from His hand. Here in Chipoka, the Central Region of Malawi, we have had a very good amount of rain this season, but our neighbors in the southern region of Malawi have had too much rain. Yes, even for a country that agriculture means life or death, it is possible to have too much rain. In the beginning of March, Malawi was struck by Tropical Cyclone Idai that killed 28 in Malawi and left many without homes or other necessities. None of the Teen Missions staff or property were directly affected, although a few of our orphan Rescue Unit and Sunday school ministry staff do know people where they minister who lost houses or other personal things due to the flooding. Please continue to pray for the many people who have lost homes and other things and for those families who have lost loved ones due to the floods. Pray also for those who are helping during this time and that the hope of the Gospel would be brought to broken hearts.

It’s That Time of Year Again

For many of the staff this is their favorite time of the year because we are getting things ready for our annual youth missions trips where youth come from all over Malawi to be involved in one of our three Boot Camp programs. This is how Teen Missions began and for many of us it was the thing that God used to introduce us to the ministry of Teen Missions and everything else that God is doing through those who are serving faithfully in this ministry. Last year we had more than 400 Malawian members and leaders participate on one of 15 mission trips! Lord willing, we will have about that many again this year or if He stretches our money for camp, perhaps we will have even more. We know that God can and often does do even more than we ask or think. Leaders and members come at the end of July for their two weeks of training before going out on their project time. During the project time, some teams will do construction projects while others do evangelism door-to-door and before or after our sports programs, through open-air by sharing the Good News about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. Whatever the project, we want this time to be effectual for the spiritual growth of each member who participates in the Boot Camp program. Please pray that God would help Emily and I, as well as the staff and leaders of the Boot Camp program this summer, that we would be sensitive to the spiritual needs of each member and that we would truly and faithfully equip them with the Word of God to go out and share it with their neighbors all over Malawi.

Ministry Expansion

We have mentioned before about the 69 Sunday school programs that we teach all over the country. We have plans to add five more villages to our Sunday school program and bring that number up to 74! We have begun the process of choosing five villages not far from the Bible school here in Chipoka and hiring another four staff to manage the teaching in those villages. We are very excited about this expansion and the opportunities that it brings to the area around us. Although Chipoka and the surrounding area are heavily Islamic with many mosques and village leaders following the teaching of Islam, Teen Missions has been invited to come and teach because of the kindness and love we show to their kids. We believe that through the kids and youth, God will change their hearts to Himself and through their kids, even parents will believe in Jesus as Lord. Please pray for this new opportunity that we have to begin working on a weekly bases in these villages, that God’s will would be done and men, women and children in Chipoka would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. We hope to have these Sunday school programs running by October.

We really are encouraged by your prayers and love towards us as we serve the Lord in Malawi. Some of the students that come to Teen Missions for Bible training have been chased out of their homes because they wanted to be taught the Bible and learn more about Jesus. We feel a sense of privilege to be here with so many people back home who are encouraging us in this work. We see the glorious things that God is doing here in the lives of so many. Anywhere we go we have people who come up to us and tell us about how their lives have been changed by Teen Missions. We are grateful to be part of that change because of you and that makes you part of the change too! We are all in this great mission together and we can’t do it without you.

For Christ’s Glory and Crown,

Seth, Emily, James, Lauren & Emma

Email us at [email protected] or you can text us at (321)-413-6394

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