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‘Fiddler on the hoof’ in Malawi

Paige Park has played with a master violinist center stage at the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. At 16, she already is an accomplished musician herself.

“She is an award-winning violinist, one of the best in the country,” said Paul Koonce, director of missions in Washington-Osage Association (WOA). “She is very gifted in playing the violin and wanted to use that gift to share the Gospel.”

Earlier this year, Koonce led a team of 10 from churches in WOA on a mission trip to Malawi. Park, a member of Bartlesville, Eastern Heights, was part of the team and took her violin to perform, but she wanted to do more.

“I spent several hours talking with her and her mother about how our lives are like a violin in the hands of a ‘Master Violinist,’” said Koonce. “I helped her put her words and thoughts into a Gospel presentation using the four strings E-A-D-G as an outline.”

Working with Chisomo Baptist Church, which WOA helped plant two years ago in Malawi, the team visited many remote villages. Chisomo is working to plant two additional churches, and the team did hut-to-hut witnessing. Many victorious stories could be shared of lives changing daily at every village the team visited. 

Park was asked to play her violin for the different villages. With the help of Malawian Pastor Charles Malekano interpreting, Park took the opportunity to share her testimony as she would play an instrument many in the crowd have never seen.

“Music is very important to me and my family,” Park would tell her audience. “This is a violin and a bow. My family can play many instruments, but my favorite is the violin. I work many hours practicing on my violin, so I can play beautiful music on it. I brought my violin to Malawi to help me share my testimony with you and to teach you about God.”

She would play a brief rendition, and then using different violin strings she would tell the Gospel story. With the E string, she would say “EVERYONE is created by God for a purpose.” With the A string, Park shared, “ALL of us have a problem.”

Park would strum D and say, “You must DECIDE to accept God’s purpose and plan.” And after playing G, “You must GIVE GLORY to GOD.”

When the invitation was given by Malekano, Koonce said, many were saved, including the village chief. Koonce also shared this village now has a new church plant named “New Beginning” Baptist Church.

On the fourth day of their trip, Koonce was asked to officiate a wedding, and Park was asked to play.

“Between 300-400 people came to hear Paige and attend the wedding,” he said. “It was very surreal to stand in a mud brick church in remote Africa and hear the wedding march played beautifully on a violin. As part of the wedding ceremony Paige shared her violin gospel presentation. When the invitation was offered at the end of the wedding, many were saved, including two village chiefs who had come to hear the violin.”

Near the end of the visit, the team travelled to Njande village to plant another church. Koonce said most of these villagers worshipped spirits because they did not know God.

“When we shared about the Creator who made them for fellowship with Him they welcomed the Gospel,” he said. “Many people turned from worshipping spirits to the true God. They knew in their hearts; they just needed to be introduced to Him.”

Koonce said it was fun to watch people’s faces as Park played and shared the Gospel.

“They laughed and clapped with delight,” he said. “We ended the day with baptizing 14 in a stream and helping the new believers organize a new church. The village chief was so appreciative of our ‘Good News,’ he set aside some property for a church building. The new church was named ‘Chimwemwe (Joy) Baptist Church’.”

More stories could be shared of the team’s Malawi trip, Koonce said, including on the last day when they baptized 41 and celebrated with the new churches.

“God blessed in so many ways,” he said. “All of the 10 team members did a great job. We had several other overwhelming Divine appointments related to (Park’s) violin testimony.”

The ungodly traditions of these Malawi villagers proved to be precarious. But thanks to the WOA team members sharing the Gospel with them, their lives are no longer on “shaky conditions,” having accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and willing to go and share with others.

Just like a fiddler on the hoof.

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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