It was wonderful to get to know Simon Chikwana (our Field Director) and Rose Chirwa (our Projects Officer) better. We also enjoyed spending time with David and Kirsty Kanyumi, and their children Ethan and Lydia. We are privileged to have such Godly and dedicated staff working for Zambesi Mission in Malawi.
At a national level, our visit was overshadowed by the death of Malawi's President, Bingu wa Mutharika. The new President Joyce Banda has already taken steps to restore broken relations with foreign donors. The recent devaluation and removal of the currency's "peg" to the dollar has led to some real difficulty with the price of imported goods rising dramatically. Despite this there is a general air of optimism in Malawi.
Our visit to Malawi was a great opportunity to see and experience the projects and churches that our supporters read about and pray for. We witnessed examples of churches and pastors experiencing really tough circumstances - both physically and spiritually. Our challenge is to work in partnership with these churches, and to support them in their work of glorifying God and sharing the gospel of Jesus, in a way that avoids dependency and inequity. Janet summed it up nicely on our last day in Malawi: we want "to give a helping hand, not a hand-out".
A typical Malawian rural church building
The work of ZM involves engagement with churches in the UK, linking them in relationships with churches in Malawi and Mozambique. Churches here can learn from churches there which are mostly "poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10). Our churches have been "... made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion" (2 Corinthians 9:11). ZM aims to link these churches together so that, although separated by thousands of miles, in partnership they can proclaim clearly the mystery of Christ to the world around them. Although we sometimes think we can fix all the problems ourselves, we must remember that the Lord "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine".
Dave Brown with Enoch Thom who is studying to be a pastor
On one of our last morning in Blantyre Simon Chikwana and I set off early to walk up Soche mountain. As we climbed Simon told me that the mountain had become a special place of prayer. Many people come and spend days on the mountain wrestling in prayer. In a similar way, I feel the Lord is challenging us in our own lives, in our churches and within ZM to devote ourselves to prayer for His work.
Mike on Mount Soche, the 'Prayer Mountain'