I accompanied a friend on a short term mission trip to Malawi in the year 2014 – the warm heart of Africa. Malawi is an absolutely beautiful place, it has mountains and jungles and rivers, and of course lake Malawi is a must see for everyone. But the country is poor. Extremely poor. In fact Malawi is the third poorest country in the world today. On average, each person in Malawi lives off just 342USD a year. That translates to R13,12 a day – remember, this is not the poorest person, this is the average Malawian while a Government employee would earn about R600 a month. To put it into perspective: the average South African lives off of R203,50 a day. So if you’re looking for a place that is in desperate need, you don’t have to look further than Malawi.
When we arrived in Blantyre we saw a city, big and busy and it didn’t seem too bad, but then we drove South through the Shiri river valley and came to a small village close the Mozambique boarder called Nsanje. In Nsanje there were no robots, no stop streets or street lights. There was just bush that suddenly stopped and made way for a few little huts where the people of the village made a small camp for us.
During the next few days, as I wandered about their community and saw a large number of children running around. My curiosity peaked and I asked one of the church leaders where all these children had come from to which he began to explain that the Church has a little school where they take care of the orphans in the community. He showed me a lovely school building with a few classrooms, and a few that were still being built. I immediately wanted to know who was funding this wonderful project. I imagined it to cost quite a pretty penny to be able to accommodate the roughly 100 kids running around – so I asked the Church leader to let me in on who their sponsor was…
Nothing could prepare me for his answer! I was expecting to hear something to the likes of US Aid, a charity from the UK, or something along those first world country lines… but his answer was shocking. It was their local Church!
He went on to show me a small piece of land behind the building where the school was. Half of it was corn and the other half was cotton. They used the corn to feed the children and traded with the cotton to provide clothes, books and whatever else the children needed. All of this from a little local Church, in the middle of the poorest area, in the third poorest country in the world!
All while they still supported 6 other children’s studies at university. How did they manage this?
Well…God has decided that all things belong to his Church, all things! Whatever they need!
Turn with me in your Bible to 1 Cor 3:18…
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