June 2021 Iris Malawi Update
Iris Malawi Church Ministry Update:
UNDER THE MKUNGU TREE
Social distancing has very different connotations in a culture where families shop each day at the market and depend on the community for survival. Whether fetching water from the village well or buying vegetables at the market, Malawians highly value relationships and community life. When restrictions were placed on community gatherings, reducing church attendance to a maximum of 50 people, pastors scrambled to find ways to worship throughout the lockdown. Churches were split into several groups, meeting in homes or under trees, or at different times on Sunday.
What was astonishing was the zeal of many Iris pastors who took evangelism and church planting to a whole new level, even while complying with Covid regulations. They faithfully shared the Gospel in a time of uncertainty and 43 new Iris churches were planted throughout the country. We have not seen church growth like this since the early years when revival spread through Malawi like wildfire.
Galileya branch is one of these new churches that was started in July 2020. Pastors Ruth and Beaton Nanthalo and their children recognized the need to start a church in their Bangula area village as there were still so many people needing to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. Beaton took his call from Acts 1:8 where Jesus tells the disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. “The Gospel message is too important to stay silent – we must proclaim. The people of my village need God.” There are now 57 people who are regularly attending this church, and more are being added weekly.
Most new churches in Malawi start out under the shade of mature trees. The Galileya branch is making great efforts towards their goal of trading in their canopy of the Mkungu tree for a metal roof. Together they have raised money to purchase a piece of land and construct a foundation. With faith and determination, they persevere towards the day when their church building is finished, and they can hold services indoors. They keep hoping, trusting, and waiting on the Lord.