The South Wind Blew

Acts 28:13 records how after many winds of adversity, at last the south wind blew, speeding Paul and his companions toward their desired destination. Several recent trips to Malawi had their share of difficulty and disappointment (all in the Lord’s purpose). However, I am thankful that, apart from a 24 hour delay in Frankfurt on the outbound journey, everything went smoothly, if a bit slower than I’d hoped (the M-factor!) on my latest trip.

Bible Studies

The day in Frankfurt gave me the opportunity for a short cruise on the River Main

The building work could easily become a distraction, but I was thrilled to see how the mid-week outreach Bible studies have grown and grown. On Wednesday afternoon, work on the site stops early so that the workforce has the opportunity to attend the Bible study, and most do. There are many others who attend from the neighbouring villages, some of them consistently and with obvious interest.

On Saturdays, there is always a large crowd of children gathered, so much so that the group has had to be split into two. We are really delighted that reroofing the Msasa wa Ana is well under way, and it should soon be ready for use again, God willing.

During our recent team meeting, I was really thrilled to hear Goodson and others express a desire to move the work forward to “the next stage”. There is a definite exercise to start a regular Gospel meeting on Lord’s day, in addition to the present Bible studies. Also, there are a number of believers attending who could form the nucleus of an assembly, so please pray for wisdom to discern the Lord’s will and timing in this.

Road Trip to Dzaleka & Lilongwe

A real highlight of the visit for me, was a 4-day road trip to Lilongwe and Dzaleka with Harold. In former years, he and I spent many days travelling together to re-supply literature distributors, and it was wonderful to be together in this way again. It was humbling to see the tireless devotion of these simple servants of Christ. Many struggle along without so much as a bicycle, covering many miles to distribute the Gospel.

One man we met had cycled several hours to our storage depot in Lilongwe the day before. He contacted Harold when he discovered that the store was empty and they arranged to meet the following day. Our arrival in Lilongwe was delayed and when we found him around 5pm, he had been waiting patiently almost all day for us. We bought a big bunch of bananas, which we shared with him so he could at least eat something before he began the 2-3 hour cycle home.

I had hoped to have a few days’ Gospel meetings in Dzaleka, but that didn’t prove possible. We rely on William for translation into Swahili, but he had travelled to Tanzania and there was not enough time for meetings on his return. We did however, have opportunity to present the Gospel to the crowd of street kids and vulnerable adults who had gathered at the feeding centre in Lilongwe. Both this, and the humanitarian relief work at Dzaleka are so valuable, and we praise God for the brothers and sisters with a burden to do this great work. Not only does it fulfil the mandate to “do good unto all men,” but it provides so many priceless opportunities to spread the Gospel.

Building Work

Back at Saidi, the building work is progressing well. I had hoped that I would have been able to report a bit more progress, but such is life in Malawi.

Our focus over the past month or two has been to make the site more secure. As mentioned elsewhere, the economic situation in Malawi is becoming increasingly desperate, and crime is on the increase. We are prime targets as people perceive that the presence of white people means money / valuables.

We have invested in a siren system and CCTV cameras to cover the site. We have had some teething issues, mainly around the range of the panic buttons and the solar power supply for the cameras. A few consecutive cloudy days has highlighted the need to increase our battery storage for the cameras, as the entire site is off the electricity grid and reliant on solar generation.

Roofing the print room

This is also a factor in extending the range of the siren (which could be improved by repositioning the control panel) and implementing further security measures which are dependent on electricity. We have just begun to roof and will soon be ready to install electrical wiring and plumbing in the print room and office which will double as a temporary apartment for me for subsequent visits until something more permanent can be built on site.

Presently, we are evaluating quotations to install a suitable solar PV electric system to power the print room/office and other security measures around the compound. We have recently been donated a large 7Kva diesel generator which gave many years of faithful service in NW Zambia, but it needs overhauled and the cost of fuel is such that this will only really be useful as an emergency backup, and not for day-to-day generation.

In the meantime, we have just dug foundations for a maintenance workshop and store, with additional space for staff toilets and a shower room.

It took mammoth effort to move this generator
Digging foundations for Maintenance Workshop, store & toilets
Our Resource Centre at Saidi looks rather modest compared to this recently opened mosque in Blantyre

Finally, MGO 2022 is almost upon us. A few days ago, I had the opportunity, with Anna and Wati, to visit the accommodation we will be using and discuss the bunking and food arrangements. Before we know it, we will be head and ears in MGO activity, Lord willing. Please pray for all of the preparations which need to be made in the intervening 5 or 6 weeks. I’m so thankful to have such wonderful help on the ground, but I know that the girls will really appreciate your prayers. Please particularly pray that the Lord will really bless us during MGO, and compensate for the couple of missing years.

Rather than prolong this post, I’ll append a few additional pictures here:

Fitting solar panels for CCTV cameras
Drainage Ditch to preserve approach road
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  1. Thank you for the excellent update! Very appreciated. The pictures complete the updates in a special way.

  2. Alexander Foster

    It’s difficult for us in the “homeland” to appreciate the much toil & sweat involved in the spread of the gospel in Malawi. May the Lord bless you & prosper the spread of the gospel.

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