Malawi students expand knowledge at GCU seminary

McXencioh Jossiah, Wendy Lukwa, Emmanuel Malaidza, Christina Kambewa and Innocent Nyambo (from left), who are all from Malawi, are among the first students at the new Grand Canyon Theological Seminary's physical space at 27th Avenue and Camelback Road.

Photos by Ralph Freso

Enrolling in Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology expanded Christina Kambewa’s worldview.

“We come from different cultures, we believe in different things,” said Kambewa, a native of Malawi in southeast Africa. “But for us to be able to work together to have the Word – as I plan to do – based on Christianity, I need to understand that people grow into different things. They believe in different things, but we need to show them love based on the Bible.

“So being around people from different religions, I realized that culture and religion has not really much to do with Christianity, but the Bible should be the overall standard of a Christian life.”

Kambewa is among the first students to attend Grand Canyon Theological Seminary, a 17,000-square-foot facility with a 4,000-square-foot library that has raised the profile of GCU's theology program. And she's one of a burgeoning number of international seminary students, including several from her home country of Malawi, who have embraced their academic and cultural experiences at GCU.

International seminary student Christina Kambewa talks about her experience at GCU’s Theological Seminary.

Emmanuel Malaidza hesitated initially to apply to GCU’s Master of Divinity program, despite a partial scholarship, after learning from a friend who worked at African Bible College in Malawi.

But after deep thought, Malaidza changed his mind.

“That's when I thought, ‘OK, let me just go ahead and do it,'" he said. “God works in the ways that we cannot see.”

Innocent Nyambo and McXencioh Jossiah have felt extremely comfortable in their new surroundings despite the galaxy-like distance from their homeland.

“I've experienced a lot of love by the people that surround the GCU seminary, and I'm learning a lot, to be honest,” Jossiah said. “And that is really leaving me in a very comfortable space, because you should not only experience good things but learn a lot from it as well.”

International seminary student McXencioh Jossiah listens during a lecture at GCU’s Theological Seminary.

Kambewa loves that GCU has provided support to her intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically.

“I love the fact that GCU is not just a school, but it's a family,” Kambewa said. “So we are able to ask for assistance from everybody, including the staff.

Malawi is a predominately Christian country, but diversity in GCU’s student body has provided another form of education in background, culture and faith.

“This allowed me to experience other cultures apart from me,” Wendy Lukwa said. “I have a perspective from Malawi how Christianity is, but just being in the same room with somebody from Vietnam and somebody from Sierra Leone, I'm reminded of how God's love is, like in different perspectives and different traditions.

International seminary student Wendy Lukwa talks about her experience at GCU’s Theological Seminary.

“That has just made me have a diverse knowledge about the cross-cultural awareness.”

Furthermore, Jossiah stressed the importance of getting out of a “rigid box” regarding the way Malawians view Christianity.

“I can really look at Christianity with a different perspective and say, ‘OK, I’m not the only bright person. I’m not the only one who thinks ABC should be run like that.’ But by the end of the day, being around new people who are culturally different from you helps you understand that it’s OK if not everything you know is going to be ultimately right.

“But by the end of the day, all those things should be taking us back and tying us back to the Bible as a true rule of Christianity.”

International seminary student Innocent Nyambo listens during a lecture.

The five students have invested into GCU’s slogan of “Find Your Purpose.”

Lukwa believes God has called her to help people who have been wrongly convicted. She believes studying will help her understand God, people and herself. “And collaborating those three things will allow me to purchase something that God really wants me to do at the end of the day,” Lukwa said. “So I really feel like I got my purpose here, and it's in line with it.”

Nyambo believes the Gospel must be spread to people of all ages, not just a selected class “because that’s what Christ sent us to do, reach out to people with the Gospel.”

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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