February 24, 2022: Hope – Response to the Flooding Disaster in Malawi
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11 (ESV)
It is easy to become discouraged, easier yet to be disturbed.
The writer of Psalm 42 begs the question, why? Why be cast down when I know my God will breakthrough for me? As storms persist around us in Malawi and more damage is caused by further heavy rains, I find myself in tension between a restlessness to find fast solutions to this calamity and a yearning to deepen dependence and trust in the God of miracles. What is needed most is for people to hope in God, and thirst for the living God, drawing near to Him with haste.
Psalm 42 begins with the powerful image of a deer aching with thirst. During these turbulent days it is not difficult to similarly turn to and cling to the hope we have in God. Yesterday I witnessed hundreds of people renewing their trust in the saving love of Jesus as they gathered to receive a portion of maize from Iris to feed their families.
Yesterday I witnessed hundreds of people renewing their trust in the saving love of Jesus as they gathered to receive a portion of maize from Iris to feed their families. There is much to give thanks for. Thank you for your generous financial gifts that have allowed us over the past two weeks to purchase 142.2 metric tons of maize (filling three 40’ containers) and distributed among 7,758 households in the districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje. Each household received approximately 18 Kgs of maize which is enough to feed a family for about 10 days.
Another container of MannaPack has been shipped to us from the United States carrying 270,000 meals of nutritious rice/soy meals that will be distributed to malnourished children upon its arrival. Over the last weeks, we have continued to welcome up to 2,000 children from the Bangula displacement camp over for a MannaPack lunch at intervals when food resources in the camp are diminished. This is all possible thanks to a container that had arrived earlier in January just before tropical storm Ana destroyed the road. Amazing provision!
[Children from the Bangula displacement camp arriving at Iris base-2 for lunch.]
We received Nicolas, a visitor from Switzerland who arrived to help for 2 weeks. Nicolas, a graduate of the Iris Global Mission School has been a tremendous encouragement to us and most importantly, to the people affected by the floods. Together with our team, he has ministered in the camps and villages, sharing stories of Jesus from the Bible, serving meals, and sitting to talk and pray with those who are willing. Relief efforts are providing more than just much-needed food; people are putting their trust in the God of breakthroughs.
[Nicolas - leading a song of praise on his six-string ukulele at the food distribution in Nsanje.]
Thank you once again for your amazing support through prayers, encouragement notes, and financial gifts. You have made a significant impact on the muddy ground here and we are all so grateful.
This ‘storm’ is not over and we anticipate that recovery will take months. There are still another five weeks of the rainy season and cyclones are continually being birthed in the Indian Ocean to the east. Given the extent of hunger, we chose to use the available designated flood relief money to purchase food, using little for distribution costs.
People have asked how they can continue to help. The recovery journey for Malawians will be long. It is unlikely people will harvest much from the current crops as much has been destroyed. Efforts will be directed towards the winter cropping season that begins at the end of April. We would like to be able to provide seed to local farmers whose resources are depleted. Reconstruction of homes is also a great need. Iris Malawi operation expenses also need reinforcement as much has been demanded during the relief efforts.
[Damaged or destroyed homes and temporary shelters made with materials from collapsed homes throughout the southern districts are too numerous to count.]
One of our greatest joys is to bring a child home to Iris. Last week, a child who has been alone came home to the Iris family and we welcomed him with joy and hugs. He is settling in well and started back at school for the first time in many years. Soon, he will get to meet his older brothers and sisters who will be coming home from secondary school for a two-week break. Everything is new, a bed to sleep in, 3 meals a day, a school uniform, toys to play with, a safe place to be, parents to trust. It is awesome to witness the transformation begin again.
Just like the dramatic greening of the land after the first rain, change is all around us. At the bible school, 40 students just graduated and returned home to their families, hopefully, ready to serve in a new way. At the Cerebral Palsy support group, we are thankful for physio support to bring change, however small, for these kids. Some are sitting for the first time. Others have begun to feed themselves, and some are even starting to walk. Of course, the most important change of all takes place in the heart, as we are transformed into the image of the one who made us, from glory to glory.
Let us hope in God, and praise Him, for He is our salvation.
David & Joanna Morrison