Camino de Santiago (aka Way of Saint James) was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middles Ages. Today, it is one of the most popular treks in the world with almost 330,000 pilgrims (even mix of men and women) arriving at the Pilgrimage Office in Santiago de Compostela last year. Although there are now many routes to Santiago, the traditional trek of 500 miles across northern Spain is the one I chose, in the accompany of a good friend, Pete, and his brother, Martin. The experience exceeded our expectations.
In A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago by John Brierley, the author asks readers to ask this question: Why am I doing this? So, I asked myself that question, reflected on it, and came up with this answer: I’m walking the Camino to enjoy the company of God and fellow pilgrims, step-by-step… My goal was not to get to Santiago de Compostela, which takes about five weeks (I was going for three), but to enjoy the journey in good company. Years ago, I was given a plaque with the inscription, “The Journey is the Reward.” Although I believed that statement to be true, I didn’t live that way, and it bothered me. So, I decided the Camino would be a step-by-step journey, not a destination. And so, it was…
On the Camino I sometimes walked with Pete and Martin, somethings with others, and sometimes alone. To give you a taste of my experience, I share a few selections from the journal I kept. April 25th – The joy of hiking for me today was meeting interesting people from all kinds of places, who are walking the Camino for all kinds of reasons. I spent a lot of time walking with Conner, who just finished a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry, and will be starting Medical School in the Fall. Conner is walking with his mom and aunt. Wow! April 27th – Walking alone was a good time for me to reflect, pray and thank God for this amazing experience. The trail was quite picturesque and pleasant with streams, pastures and woodlands. On the way I came across some fellow pilgrims trying to get a horse unstuck from a barbwire fence. I pitched in and we were able to set the horse free. Great comradery! April 29th – I connected with Julius (aka Juju, a 6’7” young man from Germany. He shared his story, and I shared mine, including my faith. Juju is searching for purpose and meaning in life. He gave me a big hug when we parted, and said that he hopes we meet again. I hope so, too! May 1st – It’s impossible to describe the beauty and simplicity of walking trails on a lovely day that moves one leisurely from mountain to meadow to farm to woodland to wheat field to olive grove. The views are magnificent, whether wildflowers up close or snow-capped mountains in the distance. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
Each day on the Camino I had a daily word, a thought to ponder and a verse to apply. One particular word became especially precious, because it encapsulated the entire experience, and continues to serve as a good reminder for what matters, and what does not. The word is CONTENT. Ponder this: CONTENT is a state of being satisfied, not with things alone, but with life itself. Apply this: If we have food and covering, with these we will be CONTENT. (1 Timothy 6:8). On the Camino I had all my worldly possessions in a 13-pound pack, enough food each day, a roof over my head each night, beautiful scenery to behold each moment, and wonderful company each step. I was CONTENT. I am CONTENT!
To view my Camino photo album, click Camino de Santiago – 2019
My name is Edward. I am one member of the Readson Family who is happy today due to the support I have received for my education over the past few years. I would like to report that I finished my 4-year Plumbing program at college, so now I am a Plumber qualified for commercial and residential jobs.
It was a long journey with a lot of research and hard studying – a very hectic period. But I thank God that he has seen me through all the way up to this date. Thanks very much to all who have been part of my success, especially donors. You are such wonderful people! God has trusted that you stood with me during my trip of Academics. It was not possible without you, and it is good news for me, because you gave me your time, resources, prayers and all kinds of support, so I say thanks again. To me, thank you is a great prayer to you, and it is from my heart, so I repeat my thanks for your love and support along my way.
What I’ve acquired will help me work everywhere, both in government or privately without any problem when hired. Malawi is rich in natural resources, and needs skilled people. I believe change will follow with the support you have given me for this education. God bless you.
ONE IMPORTANT THING
I am done with my studies, but what is required now is for me to have tool books and a plumbing kit box. This will help me to work without any challenge. When I shall have such a box, I will have everything I need to fix anything concerning plumbing work. So, by the grace of God I need that tool box, because without it I’m like a soldier who’s ready for the fight, but has no gun.
Cerebrate with me that I have been called for an internship program with the Government Statutory Blantyre Water Board. This is the big company that supplies water in Blantyre city. I went through their interview, and out of many candidates only a few were picked. I happen to be one of them, and will be doing a 6-month internship. Glory to Jesus! If my performance impresses them, I might be hired there. I start my internship on 14 January 2019. Glory to Jesus!
So, I will be looking for help with transport and lunch for this period of 6 months, and appreciate any assistance. Thank you again!
Submitted by Edward Readson
Happy New Year! I hope 2018 ended well and 2019 has started well for you and your loved ones. Dawn and I recently returned home after spending two weeks with another couple enjoying a delightful time visiting lots of Christmas Markets in France, Germany and Czech Republic. It was a wonderful adventure but, as always, it’s good to be home again!
Regarding the new year, on Sunday, January 6th, Dawn and I will open our home as a place for The Haus (German word for House) to gather. We are following God’s call to start a house church with Acts 2 in view as our model to imitate. Our intent comes from verse 42, which says that the people who responded to the gospel “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” With the Lord’s help, we will put into practice the mandates of Jesus, plainly stated in His Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-39 – Love God; Love Others) and Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20 – Make Disciples). This expression of church will have no paid clergy or staff, but all involved will be encouraged to exercise their particular spiritual gift(s) in community for God’s glory and the edification of all involved. Our goal is simply to experience a loving relationship with the Lord and one another in the context of a caring community of brothers and sisters in Christ. Our hope is to reach people who are not involved in a local church, and perhaps interested in this particular expression of Christian community.
We would appreciate very much your prayers for The Haus to be all that God wants it to be as caring, loving community of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Submitted by Bart Physioc, Director of Disciplers International
Christopher (on the left) and Edward (on the right) are brothers-in-law, who live under the same roof with six other “extended” family members, to include Christopher’s sister (Mervis), Edward’s brother (Patrick), Patrick and Mervis’ two children (Joel & Esther), Patrick’s sister (Triza) and Mervis’ niece (Glory). Did you get all that? Yes, it’s a diverse collection of family members, but they are all deeply committed to the welfare and well being of one another. Several years ago, Disciplers International, started Operation Education as a means to educate members of the Readson household. What follows is a story written by Christopher about a useful seminar that he and Edward recently finished. Both will complete their college degree programs very soon, and are excited about the future. They invite you to share in their excitement by learning a little bit about what they learned:
We (Christopher and Edward) had an opportunity to attend a seminar that focused on how to present a good dissertation. Learning how to convince an audience through lecture was a new and very helpful experience for the two of us. We learned that there are two types of Dissertation Presentation:
1) MID-RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS – students present their dissertation work at mid point in their research. These presentations are usually made to a panel comprised of various faculty members from your department. The purpose of mid-research presentations is to provide students with an opportunity to show their progress and identify any weak areas that need to be addressed.
2) ASSESSMENT PRESENTATIONS – students present dissertations as part of their overall assessment. In this stage, instructors assess research projects of each student and test the level of scholarship demonstrated by each student.
Good grades are very important to us, so the session on HOW TO EARN A HIGH MARKS was especially useful. Edward and I learned that high marks are earned when the following are practiced:
– Knowledge of the subject matter and good presentation skills (e.g. speaking clearly and concisely)
– Professional Behavior, to include staying calm and focused throughout the presentation
– Answering questions with objectivity and professionalism, and avoiding debates with listeners
– Referencing subject matter experts and scholars whose work supports that of the presenter
– Taking time. Many students rush through their material and answer questions too quickly
Lastly, our instructors talked about the importance of being yourself when presenting, and not being afraid of the audience. They said that presenters should never be shaken by the views of others, but have a courageous spirit, maintaining good eye contact at all times and remaining alert and ready to respond at all times.
It was an excellent learing experience for me and Edward, that will be useful to both of us in our career fields!
Submitted by Christopher Readson, Malawi, Africa
God gave Pharaoh the dream of 7 fat cows and 7 lean cows; then God gave Jacob’s son Joseph the interpretation: 7 agricultural bountiful years and 7 years of famine (Genesis 41). Pharaoh responded by giving Jacob the opportunity to create a plan for Egypt to survive the 7 years of famine. It is clear from this biblical narrative that Jehovah Jireh (God provides) prepositioned Joseph in Egypt to save the entire family of Israel, and to fulfill prophecies about the future enslavement and subsequent deliverance of his descendants. I see how God ultimately used everything that happened to Joseph for the good of a countless number of people.
Patrick’s dissertation for his Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development is the result of a research study about why community development projects are not succeeding in Malawi and other African nations. The problem his research revealed is called “allowance syndrome.” When government, non-government organizations (NGO’s), other organizations and individuals endeavor to improve the living environment in a certain area, they give money (“allowances”) to the local leaders. This is done to encourage them to attend meetings arranged for the discussion of improvement plans. These leaders, and others, are also given allowances as an incentive to participate in the improvement project itself. Patrick’s research has clearly revealed that those who receive allowances are less interested in the project itself, but more interested in the amount of incentive money they receive. The result is that projects intended to better communities fail and living conditions remain substandard.
Like Joseph, God has revealed to Patrick a problem that is hurting His people. I believe that, like Joseph, God is going to give Patrick wisdom to implement ways free of allowances to improve living conditions in Malawi, and perhaps other nations as well.
Generous contributions to Disciplers International have enabled Patrick to get a bachelor’s Degree in Community Development, which has given him both knowledge and wisdom to improve with help from God the lives of thousands, if not millions.
Submitted by Michael Weiss
Since Disciplers International began supporting Patrick and Mervis Readson in Malawi almost three and a half years ago, the three small congregations they had planted at that time now number 25 churches spread over a large geographic area. As you can imagine, in a poverty-stricken country like Malawi, funding for their annual Easter Conference is not possible without assistance. Thanks to generous donors, the conference was a great success, as indicated by Patrick and Mervis in their story…
We would like to report about the precious Easter Conference in Mulanje, Malawi, which went well because of generous people involved with Disciplers International. After fasting all week, we arrived at the location for our conference on Good Friday. At midnight we started praying and waiting for people to arrive. In all, 595 attended the conference, gathering from districts of Nsanje, Chikwaw, Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo and Blantyre in Malawi. Most rode in vans and trucks of various sizes, but some walked long distances to be with us. We even had 15 people traveling for 24 hours from our neighbor country of Mozambique. Of the 25 churches we have started in various districts and two countries, members from 18 churches attended this important annual event.
Know Jesus was the title of our Easter Conference, and John 3:16 was the key verse. Our focus was on the tribulations of our Lord Jesus Christ, and especially His resurrection on the third day. Our hope was for people to know Jesus by receiving Him as their personal Savior, and to know what He went through for us to be saved. Salvation came to this world because Jesus died for us on the cross.
The conference went from Saturday through Sunday, and a big highlight was feasting on a bull, which we killed and prepared for a big meal. The saints celebrated Jesus in bright colors and dancing with music. We are very grateful for Disciplers International donors, who paid for the bull and all festivities. The attendance was good, and the Holy Spirit was with us.
We say “Thank you Jesus” for a very successful Easter Conference this year, and we give Him the glory! We also thank all who contribute to the mission work of Disciplers International, and we appreciate so much your faithful support of the ministry of Jesus here in Malawi. Our Easter Conference could not have happened without your help – thank you and God bless you!
When I (Micheal Weiss, Disciplers International Mission Director) first met Edward over 5 years ago it was instantly obvious that he loved working with his hands and longed to be a plumber, or as it is pronounced in Malawi – Plum Ber. Since our first meeting I’ve enjoyed hearing what he is learning, and had the opportunity on one occasion to go with him to his trade school. If Edward knew the song “Whistle While You Work” he would be whistling all day long. What follows is Edward’s account of his current experiences and future hopes…
My name is Edward Readson. I was born in the family of 8 (6 girls, 2 boys), and am writing from Malawi in Africa to report about the school trip I had to Salima, where I was connecting pipes of different sizes as part of my four-year technical education to be a commercial plumber/pipe fitter. It was a very practical experience, because each person was required to connect pipes without using notes, so what I had studied in the classroom was put to the test!
After I finish technical school in December this year, I plan to work with my brother, Patrick Readson, and brother-in-law, Christopher Nankhonya. Disciplers International is funding their educations as well, along with other members of the Readson household. Eight of us live under one roof, and we are committed to working and serving in business and ministry together.
This is all possible only because we are fully supported by those who donate to the ministries of Disciplers International. I am blessed to have a couple from the U.S. providing my educational expenses and making sure that my studies are going well. With their help, I have come a very long way since the first Disciplers in Action story – Edward the Plumber (to be!) – which was written about me in 2015!
I am very thankful to God and many His blessings, which have no limit or boundary. My parents could not provide for my education, but God is making it happen through very generous donors and the mission work of Disciplers International. I also thank my sister, Mervis Readson, who serves as “Madam Director” of Disciplers International in Malawi. Mervis makes sure that each family member in school gets all the support needed, such as transportation, accommodations and counseling. As leaders of the Readson household, both Patrick and Mervis are a big part of my success, because they provide the personal support I need to do my best in school. Thanks to them; thanks to Disciplers International, and thanks especially to God!
Submitted by Edward Readson, Malawi, Africa
As we begin a new year, let us not take for granted the many opportunities we have in America to achieve our dreams by getting a good education that leads to good jobs and a bright future. Such is not the case in many countries of the world, like Malawi, Africa. What follows is the vision of Patrick Readson, a young man with tremendous potential, but very little opportunity until he connected with me (Bart Physioc) and Michael Weiss from an internet cafe six years ago. Now, just months away from a college degree, thanks to donors and ministry initiatives of Disciplers International, Patrick has a Vision for 2018 and beyond….
MY VISION AFTER GRADUATION
I envision all children in Malawi receiving a good public education through High School, and many getting a higher level education, enabling our beautiful country to thrive rather than just barely survive. Few Malawians complete High School, and most only finish 6th grade due to poverty and lack of nearby schools.
My country is rich in resources, but one of the poorest nations in the world. Innovation, change and a brighter future is only an education away, but this requires leadership and funding for all levels of education, both public and private. 80% of children in districts of Malawi do not have access to good education. Parents don’t own cars, and schools don’t provide transportation. All of this promotes poverty and a lack of development. My vision includes assisting parents in their efforts to encourage children to work hard in school, and have hope for the future. Education will abolish poverty when young people finish school, get good jobs and contribute to the development of my country. We are poor today, but that does not mean we must remain poor.
I also want to work with those who can’t speak in their own defense concerning education, and also employment. I will help people in villages improve their lives by using local materials and role models with different abilities to inspire children, and give them a desire for education. Many parents do not encourage their children to go to school, so I will mobilize village chiefs and gate keepers to work together on this issue.
My major is in Community Development, because I want to do all I can to help my country develop and prosper. When I finish my Bachelor’s Degree in in June 2018, I am going to help our government move our education system forward, so that every Malawian child can have the same opportunity for a bright future as I have been given. I went to High School, and am now in College because others helped me. I want to help others as well.
May the good Lord bless you all,
Patrick Readson, Blantyre, Malawi
What’s your favorite scheduled event in any given week? Think about what you look forward to most, and what always leaves you wanting more. For me, it’s my GET REAL group of guys. The four of us started meeting just a few weeks ago, but have already become a close-knit band of brothers, in spite of the fact that the three men I invited didn’t know each other previously. How can this be? The answer is as simple as it is personal, purposeful and practical.
GET REAL was born out of a growing awareness that people in general, and men in particular (myself included), are looking for intimate relationships that are deep, personal and meaningful. I’m not talking about physical intimacy, but spiritual intimacy. In a nutshell, GET REAL is about getting real with God and one another in small groups (3 to 4, but no more). Before kicking things off, I preached a sermon entitled IN-TO-ME-SEE to convey openly and dramatically the need I think all of us have for intimacy, both with God and one another.
I’d like to introduce you to the three guys in my GET REAL group (five GR groups are meeting at this point). Lee is married with two small children, and lives in my apartment complex. Lee is a Marine, who teaches Leadership to Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. Jon is married with four children, and reported just six months ago to the Naval Academy, where he serves as a Battalion Chaplain. Lee and Jon graduated from the academy where they now serve. Rush is married with two children, and works as a business executive. Rush served in combat as an Army officer previously. Our military backgrounds are as diverse as our personalities and life experiences. What we share in common is our faith in Christ, and a strong desire to know Him more intimately and to serve Him more faithfully.
The four of meet at my place from 6:30-8:00 a.m. on whatever day works for all of us. Dawn provides a delicious breakfast, so we’re always off to an outstanding start (food always enhances fellowship!). We begin by sharing our stories (backgrounds, life experiences, challenges, etc.) at the breakfast table, one at a time. The honesty and transparency coming out of our story-telling time has been impressive and refreshing! After breakfast, we gather in the living room to ask each other four questions that relate to a chapter in the particular book of the Bible we selected. The depth of insight and intimacy that results from asking and answering the questions is amazing. Our time together, which passes too quickly, always concludes with heartfelt prayers for one another based on what we shared in confidence. It’s what I need. Perhaps it’s what you need, too.
To know more, click GET REAL
Submitted by Bart Physioc