Below two brethren give us updates on the work in Malawi. First, Brother Kapukuta Mulenga Chilufya gives an account of how the work began in Malawi and how it progressed in the years following. Then, Brother Peter D. Lausevic gives an update on a recent trip to Malawi in June of 2017.
The work in Malawi began in 2006 with an interested brother who was traveling through Malawi. He created interest in Lilongwe and as a result, the Zambian Mission sent Bible workers to start the work there in 2007. Several visits later, it was decided to send a worker to settle in Malawi in 2008.
At this time we had no ordained person in Malawi, and we depended on the General Conference to send someone to officiate baptisms and the responsibilities of an ordained person.
In March 2010, the Regional Secretary sent us a brother from Zambia to come and assist us with baptisms, and we had a temporary organization thereafter. The brother who helped us was Brother Kakonko from Zambia. At that time we had 5 groups and only 8 members.
We registered the church with the state in October 2010, and this helped in obtaining a permit for Brother Chilufya to work for the church in Malawi and for the church to acquire property.
We received a donation to buy a property for a headquarters in Lilongwe from Brother Jonathan Tyler. We found a piece of land, which was used as a farm, for MK480,000 (approximately US$663), and we have the title for that land in the name of the church—this was our first property. We later developed this place with a house for the caretaker and a chapel, again with the financial help from Brother Jonathan Tyler, some local funds, and donations from Brother Luiz Costa.
By the grace of God, we progressed to 10 groups with 28 members by 2013. I had a chance to attend the missionary school in Kenya from 2012 to 2013 and was ordained as an elder in 2013. Since then, the work progressed faster.
We also began to acquire more properties and have since built three chapels and three more are under construction. We have six properties for the church where construction is yet to start. We would like to assist the brethren in every group to at least have their own chapels, in order to reduce the number of rented places.
With the help of Brother Luiz Costa, we were able to visit many places and acquire a public address system for public evangelistic meetings; we have been conducting these public evangelistic meetings throughout the country, which has helped to form new groups.
Because of the availability of an ordained elder, we now have 32 stable groups with a total membership of 102 members. It has been a very challenging task for just one person to provide the required services to all groups in a timely fashion.
We also started a school in Lilongwe that has been running for 2 years. We supported the school through its first year, but now it is self-supporting, though it is operating in a temporary building. We hope to build and promote this institution as we see its potential for providing for physical and spiritual help.
We have not had the opportunity to have Holy Communion in some places because of limited ordained personnel and the lack of communion vessels; for now, the groups and churches have been sharing the communion vessels.
To strengthen the work, we always conduct seminars for volunteer Bible workers, young people, and the welfare department at least once each year. These seminars are expensive to conduct because we use rented facilities; this limits the duration and frequency of the seminars. Our hope is to soon build our own facility so that we can reduce the expense, and thereby increase the frequency of spiritual gatherings and seminars.
We have three full-time Bible workers at present and usually have volunteers during peak missionary times.
With the help of the brethren from Brazil and California, we were able to buy a vehicle to facilitate transportation. The purchased vehicle has been a blessing for the missionary work throughout the country, helping to reach the distant and difficult places. Unfortunately, the vehicle was recently involved in an accident as we were returning from the funeral of one of our new converts in Dedza. We lost one brother, and the vehicle is in the garage.
We are united in spirit, which has enabled us to do all we have done. I would like to thank all the brethren who have been sacrificing their time and means for the work in this country. Many things happened because of the spirit of unity in service. I hope and trust this spirit continues.
Brother Kapukuta Mulenga Chilufya
On June 6, 2017, I arrived in Blantyre, Malawi to visit the church and to hold seminars. Unfortunately, I was suffering from dysentery that I contracted in Uganda. I started to recover while spending a day in South Africa but became worse when I arrived in Malawi. I was so weak that I could barely walk. As time went on I could also hardly speak. However, we realized that the visit was critical to the work in Malawi, so I still held the seminars sitting down. We had the brethren read in English for me, and I would just help connect the thoughts.
The evening we arrived, we had a time for an open forum and many questions were asked. Some of the questions we left for the next few days. We covered in depth the issues related to vegetarianism, as well as proper church organization. We covered the issues directly from the Bible as well as the Spirit of Prophecy. On Sabbath and Sunday, we studied both the plan of God in helping us reach a higher standard as well as the principles of Romans 7, that the man in Romans Seven is not a converted person but rather a person who has fallen in love with the truth but has not surrendered yet. Once a person surrenders, the old man dies and a person can unite with Christ. This experience must happen on a daily basis.
On Friday, June 9, 2017, we had the first official reorganization of the mission. On Sunday evening we held a meeting with all the new officers, and they asked questions about their specific department.
On Sabbath afternoon, June 10, 2017, Brother Mulenga Chilufya, originally from Zambia, was ordained as a minister. When I first arrived we held meetings with the Mission leadership and the local church to approve his ordination to the ministry. He had been an elder for a few years already and had been attending training programs that we have held in Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa.
Let us pray that God continues blessing the work in Malawi. Please keep the workers and the work being done in this country in your prayers.