For Kurt Dahlin, senior pastor of The Breakwater (Redondo Beach Foursquare Church) in Southern California, the Great Commission is not an option for believers. It’s a mandate. In his 25 years leading short-term missions trips, Pastor Kurt has sought to spread the gospel with intentional evangelistic focus and to provide for the practical needs of those with whom he shares the love of Jesus.
Most recently, Kurt returned from a month-long missions trip to Malawi, Africa. Breakwater team members offered resources and scriptural teachings. They chose to partner with local Malawians, so that they would be more effective in their ministry there.
“Our translators and guides are all members of the Foursquare church in Blantyre,” Kurt says. “We enjoy the relationship of working within the brotherhood.” Through these relationships, Kurt notes, he and his team bridge cross-cultural gaps, cultivate unity and serve the vision of the national church.
Because Malawi is one of the poorest, least-developed nations worldwide, Kurt and his team reach its people in both the physical and spiritual realms. To do this, his team first emphasizes evangelism. They stay in villages for weeks, and they show The JESUS Film to as many people as possible. This past summer alone, the Breakwater team and its Blantyre partners ministered to over 10,000 people.
“The mandate to ‘Go into all the world’ is not an option,” Kurt asserts. “Eternity is your best investment.”
To further the gospel message, Kurt recommends The Foursquare Church continue to pour its resources into Malawi’s pastors and people. Picture Bibles should be created for adults, he says. Colorful posters with core tenets of the faith may be displayed in churches. Brief teachings of key doctrines must be translated into the local language and distributed regularly to pastors in remote regions.
With a biblical foundation, Breakwater’s Malawi team also provides practical tools and cares for Malawians’ physical needs through hygiene training and water well construction.
“We learned the importance of providing health information—not just medicine,” Kurt states.
During the past 16 years, Kurt has sought lasting solutions to health issues instigated by Malawi’s water crisis. In addition to hygiene training, he has been involved with the installation of 130 boreholes to provide clean, sustainable water for entire communities. Local leaders are then trained to maintain these boreholes and make repairs with replacement parts available in rural areas. Through this practice, the Foursquare pastor and Foursquare team members have empowered village leaders to develop their own communities.
“On this mission … I was able to see 21 water points installed since 1996,” Kurt says of his recent trip. “I was very pleased to find all the water wells working after so many years. I was also very moved that there was 100 percent reduction in cholera and waterborne diseases.”
With such success, Kurt continues to raise awareness and seek solutions to the global water crisis. But he isn’t alone in this mission. He has recruited Breakwater members to join the Malawi missions efforts, either by traveling abroad with his teams or by financially supporting those who go.
To mobilize short-term teams, Kurt uses creative fundraising events, such as a Swim-A-Thon at a local municipal pool, grant writing, clothing drives and rummage sales. But he also never underestimates the power of “direct appeal through letters” and prayer. “We pray,” Kurt says, “and believe God to make it happen.”
As God moves through missions efforts in Malawi, people experience lifesaving clean water and the lasting presence of Christ’s Living Water.
“They will know you are Christians because you love each other,” Kurt reminds Foursquare family members. With Foursquare’s continued support across borders, this love will become increasingly evident, and Christ’s name will be proclaimed.
Find out more about short-term missions opportunities from Foursquare Missions International.
By: Allyson Siwajian, a freelance writer and member of Hillside (Reno Foursquare Church) in Reno, Nev.