Malawi Trip Report 2010

Africa trip plan
September 29, 2010

On August 16, I left once again for Africa – destination: Malawi. It was with thankfulness that I stepped off the plane back on African soil. Just a few months ago it looked as if life would be cut short, but God in His mercy spared me and enabled me to return to the land and the people that God has placed in my heart.

The primary purpose of this trip was to have ministers meeting with the elders from Malawi and Mozambique. My return to the village was met with singing, rejoicing and anticipation for the fellowship to come. The meeting was held for three days and was attended by 60-70 ministers and gospel workers – some of which had ridden bicycles for two days over rough trails to be in attendance. God really blessed in the teaching and interaction this year. My burden was centered around basic Christian living and conduct. Unlike previous meetings, this year I had the ministers divide up in groups and study various commandments and fruit of the spirit. They then shared with the entire group their findings. The group dynamics were a real help and blessing to all. I gave simple teachings from the parables that Jesus taught. Jesus addressed people and their spirits where they lived without lofty, difficult theological principles. The gospel of Christ is profound in its depth and simplicity.

Every year numerous questions are turned in to me on a myriad of subjects to answer. This time, I just turned around and passed them back out to the groups of ministers. As they looked for scriptural answers, I had dialogue with the different groups to steer them in the right directions. It was a joy to observe the learning and discussion. My favorite question came from Isaiah 66:17.

Isa 66:17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.

It is a wide spread practice among the villagers to eat mice. My translator eats them about 15 days out of the month. Most of the people can’t afford meat, so they will go into the fields and catch mice to eat. With that understanding, the question would be clear in light of the scripture. “Is it sin to eat mice?”

In addition to the ministers meeting, a few hundred people came for service Sunday morning. We had to limit the number of congregations in attendance this year due to a lack of funding. It costs a lot of money to feed hundreds of people, so we weren’t able to host as many this season.

In the city, I purchased aluminum sheeting to roof some of the chapels. I purchased enough to cover 10 of the 46 chapels. One day we delivered this roofing to 4 congregations in Malawi. The congregations were all waiting for us to arrive and were delighted at the gift from the saints in America.

Since I was unable to transport the 12 foot long sheets to Mozambique, five of the congregations were going to travel to Malawi and take these sheets back to their chapels on bicycles. What an experience!

Each chapel roofing job will cost around $250 for sheeting, $100 for wood, and then skilled labor costs. We supplied funds for the wood for the 10 congregations and left it to them to supply the cost of labor. These people are living hand to mouth and many are daily struggling to feed their families. While there are still many chapels that need roofing, I appreciate greatly those who helped provide funding for ten chapels.
It was also a blessing to be able to distribute 100 Bibles – primarily to young people.
God was ever present on the trip and gave traveling mercy. The work is great but I thank God for the understanding and growth that He is bestowing on the people. Thank you for your prayers while I was gone.

-Michael Smith

Print Friendly, PDF & Email