Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa. They are some of the most hospitable people on the earth while living in the most impoverished country. Malawi has the lowest average income in the world at less than $200 USD per year. 84% live in rural settings where they live in mud huts with grass roofs and live off the corn grown on a small plot of land provided by the tribe. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 people in the country live with AIDS which has left 350,000 orphans. 18,000,000 people are found in a country about 1/3 the size of New Mexico. It is abeautiful country bordering a lake (Lake Malawi) that has the most diverse species of fish in the world.
Despite calling itself a Christian nation and having missionaries like David Livingstone since the mid 1800’s, most do not have access to the Gospel. Poverty and the lack of education has greatly hindered the ability to plant healthy churches that self-multiply. Today, the only IMB missionaries are there to run the seminary in Lilongwe. The greatest need is for basic education that can lead to a strong theological education that produce strong leaders who can sustain healthy churches. The future of Christianity holds in the balance as Islam continues to increase its influence within the nation.
Nine years ago, I took my first mission trip to Malawi. My Director of Missions, Paul Koonce, was a member of my church and had been taking groups for over ten years. He had a desire to take older high school and college students to an unreached area of the country and he asked if I would help him lead the group. I found myself on the other side of the earth, hours away from any modern conveniences like electricity and running water, walking up to mud huts with an interpreter, and sharing that there is a God who created this world who loved us enough to send his son into the world to die for our sins. My view of the world and the Gospel has never been the same. A few years later Bro. Paul died of cancer, and I was able to lead that ministry where we had started over 80 churches and have three orphan and widow feeding centers.
In September I have the opportunity to return to the villagewhere I shared the Gospel on my first few days in Malawi. Michael Hickman has agreed to go with me. Here is the purpose of this trip:
1. To encourage pastors and churches after COVID interruptionbto ministry. I have had a relationship in Malawi sinceb2011. I was the leader of thisbpartnership for four years through Washington Osage Baptist Association (WOBAb)in NE Oklahoma and Manna Ministries of Malawi.
2. Help WOBA transition to new leadership in the Malawi Ministry. Lonnie Hoelscher is the new leader of the partnership.
3. Encourage the churches in two partnership areas: Kalulu and Chifunga.
4. Start a new church in the Kalulu area.
5. Check on the three feeding centers which feed Orphans and Widows in three remote villages. They were in the middle of big transitions before COVID hit. I led in starting two of these feeding centers and raising of funds to buy land and build infrastructure.
6. Pray through what the future of this partnership means for Del Norte. This includes seeking God’s direction on what international partnership God is leading us to. (At the moment I do not see Malawi being the long-term international partnership for us).
The cost of this trip for the two of us to go is $8000. The mission committee has agreed for half of this to come out of designated funds with the hope we can raise the other half through your gifts. If God puts it on your heart to help us go on this trip, please designate your gifts to the Malawi Mission Trip.