October 2018 Southern Malawi Ministry Centre Update
In August we welcomed church members from all over Malawi to our Bangula Conference. It was wonderful to see mature church leadership taking responsibility for the conference. For this reason it was the easiest conference yet for our senior Malawian leaders Timothy, Ali, and Bauleni to manage. People contributed food and finances, and were responsible for their own transport to and from the conference. We appreciated the wonderful contribution of other Iris leaders from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
[Children listening intently to the preacher at the Bangula church conference.]
[Youth team leading worship at the Bangula church conference.]
Shortly after our conference in Bangula, a team headed north to visit various sites too distant to attend the conference. Henry Banda is a pastor and the overseer for Kasungu. He plants churches and has a prayer ministry where he sees a lot of revival. Though he is not from the region, he has seen a powerful hand of God on his side. Mchinji is His next district he plans for evangelism. It is wonderful to see pastors taking initiative like this.
Back on the Iris base, we welcomed Ben Wildman for the fifth year of Sports Camp. It was wonderful to see all Iris kids involved, from the littlest to the graduates. There were a variety of games and plenty of dancing and cheering. Faces were painted blue, green, red, and yellow for the occasion. Their memory verse could be heard across the base: "Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation." We were all challenged to become world changers!
[Some members of the ‘blue’ team, who ended up becoming the 2018 Sports Camp champions.]
Our team of house parents did some world changing over the holiday as we entered a season of administering ‘tough love’ to help steer our 50+ adolescent family members to make good decisions, anchored in honour for mother and father and respect for one another. With some tough talks, and clear follow through, we have seen significant improvement over the last 4 to 6 weeks.
Our Iris Primary School has a started the year with a new staff room and office. Thanks to donated computers from Canada, they have been able to upgrade the computer lab and make use of a solar power system that allows us to have clean and reliable electricity to run the school. We are excited to have found four new teachers to compliment the team.
[Iris Primary School learners receiving instructions at morning assembly.]
In the garden we have a very specific abundance: onions, onions, and more onions! Anyone need onions? Our Iris garden this year has an abundance of onions. There should be enough harvest to provide needs on base through to March 2019. Outside the base we are seeing signs that the food security for southern Malawi is under stress. Malawi was 22% short of its maize harvest targets for 2018 due to dry spells during the critical growing period in central and southern regions of Malawi. The staff who manage the Iris food distribution program are very concerned about this coming ‘lean’ season, between now and April 2019.
[Families in need, patiently waiting to receive food at the Iris Africa food distribution program.]