Malawi – April 2013

Gracious, our Malawian friend and Family Care Ministries co-worker, set out this April on a three week visitation trip to Malawi. His mission was to assess and counsel those who associate with our ministry and do the Lord’s work of spreading His Word throughout the country. Gracious had accompanied us on our last mission trip in 2012 and we could see that the Lord wanted to use him in a greater way to help and support the growing work there. As a national of the country he has insights and a perspective we don’t have.

He visited our teams working in Zomba, Salima, Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre spending a few days in each city. He taught, counselled and saw the work in action as he heard and observed different initiatives that teams had started in the various regions. In the classes he taught he used the questions workers encountered in their outreach as a starting point to further train and teach them. He wanted to see the needs first-hand.

In Zomba

In Zomba Family Care Ministries youth members are planning to have a vegetable garden to help support both themselves and the disadvantaged in their communities. After enjoying some teaching, teams went out on outreach to apply what they had learned in class. One team met some elderly people sorely in need of assistence with different work at their homes. They went straight to work to lend a helping hand promising to return the next day to do what required tools.

Pastor Maluwa expressed the need for a qualified person to help with classes. Charles, who heads up the work in Blantyre and had accompanied Gracious to Zomba, agreed to help with this. The only problem is that travel is quite expensive in Malawi presently but we pray that a way can be found nonetheless.

In Salima

In Salima, Gracious noted that the team is working very well together. They started a crèche nine months ago in a small village which is predominantly occupied by Muslims. They started out with only 5 children. In the beginning community members feared that it was just an initiative to convert the children to Christianity. Yet over time more and more children came as their parents saw that it was a sincere effort to help and give access to education to children who would otherwise have no opportunities. The nearest schools are too far for the younger children to walk to and the people in this community too poor to pay the transport to send them there leaving many uneducated. Parents realized that unless the children are given opportunities to learn they will fall behind and would never have a chance to make something of their life in a world where technology is rapidly expanding to all corners of the planet.

Gracious was able to meet the village headman and other leaders of this small community. He pointed out that dwelling on the differences of religion only hinders and stifles progress and urged everyone to lay these aside differences and focus on overcoming obstacles for the sake of fighting the extreme poverty and related challenges. He drew attention to the fact that though there are differences of religion many of the goals are the same and told them that unity is far more important than uniformity. He challenged them to support Family Care Ministries Salima’s effort in a practical way so that the children can be provided for with a meal to enable them to learn better.

Family Care Ministries encourages teams to be self-supporting and to raise what is needed for various projects and initiatives within the areas they are working in. It is simply beyond our means to carry the work single-handedly.  To do all they wish to do poses big problems for workers as the needs are immense in Malawi and most have little themselves. The country struggles with very high petrol prices which are nearly double that of South Africa. The cost of fertilizer – which is sorely needed to grow anything – and food prices continue to go up and up. This leaves scores and scores going hungry as they simply cannot manage to buy anything.

In Mzuzu

In both Salima and Mzuzu – Gracious’ next stop – he met and taught not only members of the clubs that had been formed but also interested pastors who came to hear (and check out) what Family Care Ministries teaches. One director of evangelism from Mzuzu was very touched and asked if it were not possible to open a school where pastors could be trained and where more teachers could be groomed. Many asked for more books and teaching materials and manuals to spread the word further. Much is needed in the way of material in the local language so we are making a renewed effort to work on translations.

In Lilongwe

When the gospel is preached and workers strengthened, the Lord sees to it that needs are met. Towards the end of last year we had to give up the place that we had been renting in Lilongwe due to rising costs. This left Gracious meeting teams in Lilongwe wherever they could. A member of a local church who happened to overhear and attend a class saw the need and offered them a room to rent at a reasonable cost for future meetings. 

In Blantyre

Charles has been active to make a difference in the community. He is using a small store front room as a Family Care Ministries office and base for various initiatives. Charles has been ministering to graduates and the youth in the area who show a lot of potential and are beginning to head the various initiatives he has started. He offers free computer classes to children and youth. He teaches them, memorizes Bible verses with them and formed different choirs. The materials we have supplied him with over the past year are available to everyone for self-study at his little base.  His plan is to start a poultry farm to help project participants to earn a living.

We saw evidence again that the work is touching lives and growing and spreading throughout Malawi through these efforts. As the days progressed more and more people were drawn to the meeting as word spread. For us it is not about reaching the masses but about training local workers. Family Care Ministries wants to find those who are sincere in their willingness to obey the word of God and ready to exercise their own faith not those who want to just see what they can personally gain by joining us. Trips like these are essential in determining this.

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Family Care Ministries is registered as a Non-profit Organization in terms of the Non-profit Organization Act, 1998     Number: 007-316