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Life for church pastors in Malawi is very challenging. The aftermath of Cyclone Freddy and the war in Ukraine has made everything so costly. Then in November the Central Bank devalued Malawi’s currency by 44%. Imagine if you had £100 in the bank today and tomorrow it is only worth £66. This squeeze affects pastors and their families badly, because their church members also feel the pinch and are less able to support their pastors. Give thanks for their faithfulness and pray that the Lord would sustain them and help them to persevere in ministry.
Zambesi Mission’s partner the Zambezi Evangelical Church (ZEC) has churches in Chichewa speaking parts of northern Mozambique. These churches were planted by ZEC churches in neighbouring Malawi. They are in very remote and undeveloped areas. Yet they are full of Christians who have a vibrant faith and are eager to hear God’s word. There have been occasions recently when Bible College trained pastors have felt unable to stay in these remote churches. Please pray that the believers would be able to share what resources they have with their pastors and that properly trained pastors would have the tenacity to persevere.
In a typical rural church in Malawi, usually just a handful of believers have their own Bible. There are two big issues: access and cost. There are no shops in rural areas and transport to the nearest town or city is usually unaffordable. A Bible costs more than £10, a huge amount for most people. Zambesi Mission’s subsidised Bible scheme aims to address these challenges. They buy the Bibles and deliver them to the recipients who pay a nominal sum for each one. Please pray that more Malawian believers would be able to receive their own copy of God’s Word.
There is much false teaching in Malawi and its neighbouring countries. For many years the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi has been at the forefront of teaching sound doctrine and preparing men and women for ministry in the church. Once the college had a good blend of Malawian and overseas lecturers, something that is important from a cross-cultural perspective. It also helps with sustainability. But today it has no lecturers from outside Malawi. For the first time in a decade Zambesi Mission has been looking for workers who might be called to teach at EBCoM. Please pray about this.
Cyclone Freddy has had a devastating impact on southern Malawi. Torrential rain led to flash flooding and huge mudslides. As of 18th March, 445 people had died, around 363,000 people displaced and 282 are still missing. The fatalities include ten members of one family from Chilobwe Zambezi Evangelical Church in Blantyre, who were tragically swept away when a raging torrent engulfed the house that they were sleeping in. Please pray for the ongoing disaster relief effort. Pray too that the mission would have sufficient resources to help meet the enormous needs that their church partners are facing.
Malawi is facing a worsening cholera outbreak. Over 1,000 people have died since the outbreak started in March 2022. Zambesi Mission’s partner the Zambezi Evangelical Church (ZEC) has five health centres in rural areas. At Nthorowa, ZEC’s healthcare staff are treating patients in a temporary cholera tent. Please pray that ZEC and other similar health facilities would have sufficient medicine and equipment to treat those affected and that the outbreak would be brought to an end quickly.
Helping church partners towards sustainability is one of zambesi mission’s priorities. Dependency casts a long and deep shadow over Malawi. Please pray that churches and Christians would be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12 v 2), so that they can start addressing the challenges that they face before God. Pray that zambesi mission’s sustainability initiatives, including Church and Community Transformation, would bear fruit so that each local church would have the resources they need for ministry.
The global economic crisis is impacting Malawi very badly. The kwacha was devalued by 25% in May, but lack of Forex has led to severe fuel shortages. Inflation is 25% with food price rises are even higher. Crucially the cost of fertiliser has risen five times in just a few years. There is just one growing season each year. Malawi is a subsistence economy where the majority rely on their crops for survival. Growing maize, Malawi’s staple crop, this year will be unaffordable for most people. Please pray that God would sustain the people of Malawi in these challenging times.
How would you prepare to preach if you had no Bible, no study books or formal theological education? This is the reality for many in Malawi. Worse still, rural communities are often steeped in animistic culture and traditions. Zambesi Mission runs ‘bookset conferences’ each summer to address these challenges. They provide elementary biblical training for rural church pastors and elders. At the end, each participant is given a set of study books including the Bible in Chichewa. Please pray that everyone attending this year’s conferences would be blessed by God and fully equipped for their church ministry.
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