This year we had two members who had been to Malawi on a number of occasions: Chris Johnson and Celia Gardner, and four members who had never been before: Neil and Elaine Davis, Mel Chippendale and Hilary Viccars from The Waterside Fellowship in Gosport (a friend of Neil and Elaine). Mel had joined the team just 6 weeks before departure as Meryl Gwilliam had withdrawn owing to family commitments.
The visit commenced on Friday 29 July with the team returning on Saturday 13 September 2014.
The team once again stayed at Longonot Guest House, Area 3.
Each evening the team met for devotions, led by Elaine. This was a time for reflection and refreshment as the days were long and filled to the brim with new and exciting experiences.
As is usually the case the original programme was adapted as the situation changed on the ground. The final programme was as follows:
|Friday 29 August||Travel|
|Saturday 30 August||Travel and arrive at accommodation|
Meeting with Noah, Lawrence and Chester
Distribution of resources and money exchange
|Sunday 31 August||Visit to church plants for worship:|
Celia to A Stone/Mwala
Elaine to Edene
Mel to Thanthwe
Neil to Mufungulu
Hilary to Chawanje
Chris to Chikondi
Visit to Jonas and Esther and their children
Visit to the clinic – 4.30 pm regarding Rotary Project
|Monday 1 September||Leaders and wives training at Miseza in Chikumba area|
|Tuesday 2 September||Leaders and wives training at Mugwata in Chikumba area|
Mel to clinic
|Wednesday 3 September||Leaders and wives training at Chawanje in Matchakaza area|
Mel to clinic
|Thursday 4 September||Visit to Ntchisi to see microloan project in action|
|Friday 5 September||To Liwonde Park|
|Saturday 6 September||From Liwande Park calling at Dedza Pottery|
|Sunday 7 September||Visit to CCBC for 8.00 am service|
Ordination service at Chikondi – arrive 9.30 am for church service and then ordination to start at 2.00 pm to finish about
Celia, Mel and Elaine to clinic for 4.30 pm site visit
|Monday 8 September||Village evangelism/village service and drama/baptismal preparation and baptism of 22 to form a new church – Msundula Baptist Church (overseen by A Stone)|
|Tuesday 9 September||Visit to Falls Baptist Private School to take 5 computers|
Village evangelism in Chimbay Village and plant New Covenant Church
Meeting with Ministry team
|Wednesday 10 September||Visit to Muzu Primary School to take lessons and donate one computer|
Funeral of Monica at Chawanje (Neil, Elaine, Celia, Chris)
Mel and Hilary to the clinic
Visit to Mrs Phiri
Evening meal at Longonot with some of the Malawi Commonwealth Team
|Thursday 11 September||Visit to Mtsiliza LEA Primary School to deliver 4 computers|
Meetings with the Ministry team
Visit to markets
|Friday 12 September||Final meeting with Noah|
|Saturday 13 September||Arrive home|
The third Missioner has still to be appointed. Noah said that this would happen in January after the funds are received from St Peter’s. Winston and Mndewere are bearing the load that was once shared with Smartwell. Chester Matope has been appointed Assistant Pastor at Chikondi. Lawrence is Pastor at Edene. Chester and Winston were “fully” ordained at the service on 7 September and Mndewere and Lawrence were “partly” ordained. This was far too complicated for us to fully comprehend.
The Missioners/Pastor are now being supported, in part, by their local churches. Seven churches are supporting Lawrence, 7 churches supporting Mndewere and 9 churches supporting Winston.
Noah estimated that sufficient candidates will be completing their studies to enable an annual ordination. His plan is to have 40 ordained within 4 years. With this resource he will be able to run the bible student training without having to buy in trainers.
Expanding the bible student training is being hampered owing to lack of funds. At one time the Southern Baptists underpinned the cost but this has stopped. At the moment the cost is MK15,000 (£24) plus the cost of maize to feed them for 2 weeks and their materials and this is repeated 4 times during the year. The estimate is MK60,000 per person for the course (just under £100)
The Pastor’s training – through the Baptist Pastor Training Centre – requires the purchase of one book per month (MK1,500 x 12) plus fees. This is distance learning. Noah estimated the cost to be in the region of £150 per candidate.
Once Lawrence completes his studies next year Noah would like to put another person through this training. The budget would be £1,000 per year for 3 years plus inflation. Once a person is qualified to this level they can teach Bible School which means that they could be self-sufficient when training pastors.