Papalala Za Ongwala (the wings of the Eagle)

All of the proceeds from the sale of Shirley's paintings go to the Eagle Wings Christian Family. Eagle Wings is Chiomba Nkhanga  in Chchewa.  Eagle Wings is made up of a very small group of Christians, who support five local Malawian missionaries and their families in their work. Eagle Wings is not a charity organisation, instead it aims to help Malawians to become self sufficient.

Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint.”

Sunday
Feb052012

Sally Anne's Visit

I am planning on spending the next few posts sharing reports from visitors to Malawi about some of our work there.

The first of these visitors was Sally Anne Timbrell in 2009.

“My visit to Manyowe was truly awesome. In fact, I subsequently visited lots of schools, churches and orphanages all over the central and southern region but none was as moving or as powerful as the visit to Manyowe.”

She describes her wonderful welcome and meeting many people including the Chief of Manyowe Village (pictured right).

“However, the most challenging visit was to the home of a 14 year old girl, a ‘double’ orphan (this is a new term to me - double orphan is a child who has lost both parents, and a single orphan is one who has lost just one). She was caring for 3 siblings as well as 2 children of her own. The poverty and deprivation in this child’s home left me lost for words. The church is caring for them, feeding them and providing what they can for them. She had a baby suckling at her breast - and it was evident that there was very little milk there for the infant. The home had gaps in the roof (another issue for when the rains come), a few clothes were in the corner of one part of the house, and they were sitting eating some insima from a bowl - barely the amount you and I might have for breakfast. I must admit it was at this point that I wept. 

A major issue in the press at the moment is about girls being promised in marriage sometimes even before they are born. A new law has just been passed that a girl cannot get married before she is 16 - an outcry has arisen as women’s groups and health and education organisations believe that even at 16 a girl is not biologically, emotionally or intellectually ready for marriage (often to older men) let alone to take on the responsibilities of having children and raising a family. The girl in the hut is the result of such tradition and law. Unable to provide for herself and her siblings, Pastor Julius Damson said that girls are then forced to prostitution - with the resulting increase in babies and AIDS/ HIV.

The greatest killer in Malawi is Malaria. One of the most effective preventative measures is mosquito nets. These can cost as little as $4 - and can significantly reduce the death rate and illness. And yet, I did not see 1 mosquito net in all the homes I visited in Manyowe. Not one. Cerebral Malaria strikes with overwhelming frequency and invariably leads to death.
It would seem that there are levels of poverty in Malawi - and this is the deepest level of need that I came across the entire visit. It was heart breaking and left me deeply challenged. It is more than a question of throwing money at the situation - although that is desperately needed. It is about education, health and welfare.

Manyowe was, for me, characterised by the deepest level of poverty I met in all the time I was in Malawi. But it was also characterised by a deep sense of community, where the people are prepared to love and to serve each other. This sense of community emerges with the preparedness for people to find meaningful common goals and purposes (welfare, sharing of scarce resources, education, worship) - and it becomes a rich community because within the community there is room for diversity as well as unity.”


In this picture are: Sally Anne with Julius Damson (carrying the choirmaster’s son), some elders from Manyowe Church and Aise Kachenje (who Sally talked about in her report) with the six children she looks after.

Aise was married to an older man when she was 11 years old. He died and she was left with her own children and also several siblings after her parents died as well. She was 14 years old when this photo was taken.

We re-roofed her one room house and gave her seeds to plant her own vegetables, which she could then sell to make a living.

Monday
Jan232012

Manyowe Baptist Church

Mbuye mwayenera.
Lord you are worthy.

Palibe wina ofana nanu.
There is none like you.

 

 

 

 

Yes of course we can worship underneath a tree, however the Lord laid it on our hearts to build a new Manyowe Baptist Church.

The Manyowe Baptist Church was started in 1972. The Church is now used as a school during the week. Manyowe is a big village (about 9,500 people) so there are a few church buildings. This was our first big project in Manyowe.

Included in this page are photographs of the new church being built and a touching photograph of a little boy who sought shelter in the church.


Monday
Jan232012

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

A poem written by Jefferson Bethke to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. This really sums up some of my thoughts about religion.

Saturday
Jan072012

An Introduction

Moni. Muli bwanji?

Hello. How are you?

The Eagle Wings Christian Family started as a result of my trip back to Malawi, the land of my birth, in 2007. 

Malawi is a beautiful country, but like so many African countries it is also a place of poverty and hardship, of malnourishment and starvation. It is a country in dire need of help, where diseases such as malaria and HIV directly or indirectly affect the whole population.

It was in Blantyre that I met Pastor Julius Damson, a very humble Malawian man. He took me to his mud hut church in Manyowe.

Manyowe Township is an “unplanned” area of Blantyre, this means it lacks basic services like roads, sewage systems, electricity and proper access to clean safe water. Over 70% of people in Blantyre live in these unplanned areas. Manyowe has a population of around 9,500 people.

There was something sort of different and special about the people there, you did not get hassled and they did not beg. The kids laughed and played with nothing but sticks and stones. I cannot describe it!

While I was there Julius adopted 3 orphans. I asked how could he afford to feed them together with his wife and five children. A huge grin appeared on his face and he said, “Madam, God has always provided why would he stop now?”

I was inspired by his vision of trying to teach Malawians to become volunteers and to help themselves rather than being reliant on charities and handouts.

One of the first projects was to help rebuild the Manyowe Church. I organised an exhibition and sent the money from the sale of the paintings. Judy Burns and Ed Marshall then joined me and Eagle Wings was born.

Judy is very organized and patient. She has experience in running her own businesses and has become our treasurer. Ed Marshall is the pastor of my local church. He has a desire to have Malawians come to faith and to see them helping themselves improve their lot in life.

There was no access to free safe water in Manyowe. The people there were dependent on paying for water, if they could afford it. The only other close source was the River Mudi, which is extremely polluted and unsafe, as you can see from this very informative article from The Big Issue Malawi.

http://www.streetnewsservice.org/news/2009/june-2009/feed-188/mudi-river-in-peril.aspx

Now a tap is attached to Pastor Julius Damson’s house, which supplies free safe water, from the mains, to the whole of Manyowe. The tap runs day and night.

The water is free of charge because the water bills are paid for from Australia. This money comes from the sale of all of Shirley’s paintings and some donations that come from people’s hearts. We never fundraise but instead rely on Our Lord Jesus to supply.

 

Since then Eagle Wings has grown to include two other missionaries, Hassan Stambuli (left) from Lilongwe and Steven Silungwe (right) from Muzu.

 

I want to use this blog to keep people in touch with the efforts of the Eagle Wings Christian Family and its missionaries in Malawi. I will be posting here about some of the other good work that Julius, Hassan and Steven are doing.

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