|Posted on June 7, 2013 at 9:15 AM|
I first met Abusa (Pastor) Chisoni Bridge at a discipleship conference end of last year. My first impression of him was “he's got a booming voice for a little guy!” It’s one of those voices that makes you stand out as a preacher and one that makes people listen to you. Little did I know back then that he would be the next AEC National Youth Coordinator. I think it was by God’s sovereignty that we met at the conference and that we kept in touch right up to the point that he was appointed into the role.
Chisoni and I have a few things in common. Firstly, the circumstances surround our births where we both could have died if not for the grace of God. Secondly, our names were derived directly from the circumstances surround our births. Thirdly, we are both the youngest among our siblings, and last but not least, we both have three young children, all in the same order: girl-boy-girl!
In God’s timing too, we are both about to start our respective ministry roles after we both move into our respective houses. My family and I will be relocating to another house mid June, and Chisoni is planning to move up to Blantyre by the beginning of July.
He visited Blantyre a few days ago and I thought I would take the opportunity to interview him and feature him in our belated May newsletter.
P: Chisoni, you have quite a unique name. “Chisoni” in Chichewa means “sorrow” and “Bridge” is not Chichewa is it? Tell us how you got your name, and the significance of it.
C: This is indeed my real name, and was given to me by the doctor who delivered me in the hospital. The doctor was touched by the way I was born because my mother when she was about to give birth to me fainted for about 4hours, after 4 days of struggling. The doctor thought my mother would die or that she would bear a dead son hence the name “Chisoni.” “Bridge” is the nickname of my grandfather. His real name is “Miles.” He was given his nickname because he was a drunk and he often slept under the bridge. For me, I am using it spiritually… feeling with people to cross on the ‘Bridge’ to the Lord.
P: Tell us about your family.
C: I am in a family of five children. First born is a female. Four are boys and I am the last born. I was born on 26th July 1981. I am married to one wife, Memory, and we have three children – Deborah (13yrs), Joshua (8yrs), and Naomie (3yrs). My parents - Benford and Miga - are still living and their occupations are farmers. All my relatives are married and some are staying in rural areas. One is a chief of a village and another is a plumber. About my academics, I went to primary school, junior and secondary school. Mind you, my family was not real Christian family because my parents were beer drinkers and practiced traditional beliefs. But one day I asked my mum to leave her traditional practices and turn to God, and challenged her to collect all her things of traditional practices to be burnt which she finally accepted. Beer is practiced no more, and my parents are now church elders.
P: Tell us abit about your spiritual journey. How did you become a Christian?
C: Even though I was born into a family of not real Christians at the time, my parents still sent me to church activities like Sunday school and youth group. In secondary school, I also joined the School Christian Organisation Ministries. Although I was involved in these I was still doing evil things like smoking, drinking, walking with ladies to mention a few. I also made a decision to be baptised but this didn’t transform anything in my life. After finishing my secondary level I went to Blantyre to search for a job. There, I attended Ndirande AEC with Pastor Ndekha who helped me to understand about Christianity. By then I was a teacher of Sunday school and I asked him about Bible college because I had a calling to serve God in his ministry as a full-time minister. And the Pastor helped me from John 1:12 to understand that I needed Jesus to be my personal Saviour, and have power to be sons of God.
P: Who had a great influence on you growing up? Why?
C: I have a lot of people who influenced me spiritually like Pastor Jimu Major; and Mrs Katukiza who was my Sunday school teacher; and Mr Lidi my patron in youth group who came every mid-week to share with us the Word of God.
P: Before being appointed as the AEC National Youth Coordinator, you were a pastor of a church… in fact several churches in your area. How did you become a Pastor? Why?
C: I can say it is by the grace of God because in our family there was no one who was a pastor. Again through the involvement of His activities, these made me to join in pastoral ministry in order to serve Him since the harvest is plenty and the workers are few.
During my pastoral work I was involved again in youth ministry under Area Council level while I was in Nkhotakota as youth coordinator. So when I got the information that HQ was looking for a youth coordinator for AEC national, excitement rose in my heart because from the beginning I have done from church level, Area council level and now the time has come to coordinate on a national level and create a direction for youth activities and involvement in church development.
P: What is your vision for the youth in Malawi?
C: Since half of the population of Malawi is below the age of 25, Malawi is a ‘youth’ nation. Being a youth nation, I want to see young people be God-fearers. How? By abiding in God’s word through Bible studies in their meetings. I want to see young people help the church by doing evangelism fulfilling the Great Commission. I want to see young people at the church doing mercy outreach (e.g. visiting sick people, hospitals and prisons). I want to see young people conducting and preparing Open Air meetings through singing choir at the bare ground. I want to see young people in Malawi depending on their own by providing them vocational training through youth camps or establish youth centre for them to learn skills. It’s a challenge for the youth after school life to find employment. I want the youth to have a right way of preventing issues related to their health such as HIV/AIDS through awareness of the dangers of this disease. I want to see the youth’s potential fully realised, utilised and directed correctly; because the youth are energetic, adventurous, industrious, strong, healthy and willing to learn.
P: How can people be praying for you?
C: Please pray for God’s guidance and commitment in my new role, and for more resources in the youth ministry. Pray also for good health for me and my family; and that suitable housing will be found for us to move to Blantyre to commence my role.
Chisoni and I will be working together in partnership to build an effective youth ministry in the AEC. We are both passionate about seeing youth come to know Jesus and to make him known. We are both seeking the Lord’s leading and listening to Him regarding His plans for the youth in the AEC. Pray with us in this.