Centre Opening at Machinga
Just prior to the second Covid19 wave hitting Malawi we were able to open our new District Centre at Machinga, Eastern Region. A predominately Muslim area, the Centre is constructed only 100m from a Mosque. The story of the building goes back to prior to our last furlough in 2019 when the original structure completely collapsed during the cyclone storms. In fact, I always felt quite uneasy inside it being encircled by cracks and failed foundations on the maize field plot. Despite the sad happening, God made an amazing way to answer our prayers to build a strong Centre to reach out to the surrounding villages.
The project was done in record time by our Pastor/Builder Mapata from the Central Region. Obvious delays due to the pandemic meant everyone was keen to get involved when the opportunity opened for us. Church members all got involved to support the builder, even the ladies carrying large stones to use as a solid foundation.
The opening service was great! A relatively recent leadership change in the church also brought more meaning to the ceremony. As is our norm, there was plenty singing and dancing as our Regional Chairman Ps Zumwa cut the string and we all ‘charged’ inside. During our worship a lady from Blantyre prophesied a challenge to the local Christians regarding the opposition they are to face as they stand up for the gospel.
Please pray for this group of churches and the challenge that is before them.
Sandra and I would like to thank everyone for the prayer support on our behalf as we tested positive for Covid19 mid-January. It was truly unexpected, but the South African variant has swept through Malawi. We are so thankful for answered prayers as we are now well and working through some lingering symptoms like fatigue and the loss of smell. A fellow missionary working at a famous orphanage not far from us passed away just at the same time. Her faith was so strong, declaring she was not afraid to die and asked them to write on her coffin, ‘returned to sender’! Like other nations, there are many ‘theories’ about the pandemic and strong opinions being spoken in churches, some of which are not so helpful and stigmatising those affected with the virus. The Government is trying to source vaccines through the Covax programme and help those who are suspicious and are misinformed.
This season has not gone well for many areas. While the pandemic has impacted everything the worry for people has been hunger and its effects. Weather pattern changes have meant drought conditions in the South with many not being able even to plant and others reporting dried out maize. Large storm winds have also caused damage and one leader sent me a picture of his collapsed house. We continue to encourage all those affected and will appreciate your prayer.
While certain events are curtailed, we are thankful for the Regions being able to meet during this month. In our restructuring vision, these meetings are identified as being critical for the work moving forward throughout Malawi. From these discussions we will meet as Admin and Spiritual leadership teams and look to take more steps forward. Recently Apostle Longwe from the Northern Region, moved his family to our church in the capital Lilongwe. There is a need for leadership, training and mentoring in this strategic location. A continuing court case over the ownership of the land and buildings is also ongoing and a great distraction. Please remember Pastor Longwe in prayer for the duration of 2021.
Alan & Sandra