Hope Missions Ministries

2011: Issue 1
Dear Friend,
I pray our first newsletter of 2011 finds you well. Hope Missions cannot exist without the assistance and involvement of our supporters and we thank God for each one of you. We value your prayers, encouragement, ideas, visits and financial support, particularly in the current economic conditions.
We continue to see God's hand of blessing in the communities of Kayabwa and Chapsinja. As always there is much more to report than can be included in this newsletter so we have chosen to focus this time on developments in the Farming God's Way initiative, the progress of our nursery schools, the establishment of a church in Chapsinja and our discipleship ministries.
If you have not yet visited the Hope Missions website we invite you visit us at www.hopemissionsministries.com. We hope you find it informative and that it inspires you to continue our partnership in bringing the love of Christ, discipleship and practical help to some of Malawi's poorest communities.
Annie Mkandawire (Project Director)
A New Approach to Growing Food
With most families in Malawi dependent upon growing their own maize, providing training and agricultural help is a key part of our ministry. In recent years farming has become much more difficult due to over-farming of the land and the draining of its nutrients which results in heavy reliance upon increasingly expensive chemical fertilisers.
Hope Missions has begun training people in the methods of the 'Farming God's Way'; initiative which began in Zimbabwe and is spreading throughout Africa (see www.farming-gods-way.org). The initiative equips small-scale farmers to realise the God-given potential of the land by coupling agricultural training with the Word of God and faithful environmental stewardship. It advocates good irrigation and zero tillage of the soil, which dramatically reduces the labour required, and has been shown to result in a tenfold increase in crop yields.
Our team member Chrispine Ungapembe (above) delivered training to a group of villagers in the Chapsinja area with the assistance of Emmanual Uwaezuoke of Starfish Malawi prior to the onset of the hot season last year. As part of the training a demonstration plot was established and planted with maize and beans, to the amusement of most locals who insisted it was not possible to grow crops during the hot season. Local government officials observed the training with great interest.
With careful monitoring the demonstration plot proved to be a great success, with maize taller and stronger than that produced by conventional methods. It received the attention of officials from the Bunda College of Agriculture who came to source information on how the new way of farming works.
It is hoped that going forward those who were trained will continue to be successful using these methods. We pray we will start to see whole communities benefitting from the lower cost of agricultural inputs, better crop yields and the gradual recovery of the land from the effects of over-farming and the long-term use of chemical fertilisers.
At Hope Missions Ministries we rely on the support of kind individuals and donors such as you. We very much value your partnership in our work. For further information on supporting us please click here.
Nursery School News
The new academic year began in February and we would like to take a moment to reflect on the year that has just passed. Although the start of term was delayed due to a cholera outbreak in the villages we have had another successful year for our nursery schools, and it is clear to see how God is impacting the lives and welfare of the children.
We have had an excellent report from the local primary school in Kayabwa regarding the children who graduated from our nursery schools at the end of last year to start 'big school'. We have been told that the children coming from our nursery schools are inquisitive, confident and adjusting well.
The nursery schools benefitted this year from additional teaching and learning resources provided by Starfish Malawi. In September. We thank them for their continued support and generosity which continues to allow us to develop the school environment and teaching quality.
This season we were greatly encouraged by the fact that the villagers were able to provide enough maize sustain the feeding programme for the the nursery school children. Such a programme is absolutely essential to ensuring that the children receive enough variety of food to provide the essential nutrition that ensures their development in these crucial years. We are confident that the villages will be able to repeat this again this year.
In further nursery school news, we reported in the last newsletter that we had been forced to close the school in Lemesi due to the risk of kidnapping being faced by the children. Unfortunately we have not been able to find a successful resolution to this problem whilst the maize crops are high but we hope to reopen for the second term after the harvest in April. We have been working on a solution for escorting the children to and from the nursery school safely with volunteers from the Village Development Committee.
Church Plant in Chapsinja
We are pleased to report that the church plant in Chapsinja is doing well, particularly since the brick church building was completed and opened in May last year. We would like to extend our thanks to Crowborough Men's Group in the UK who provided support for the project through Starfish Malawi.
The new building has already seen its first wedding, which was the marriage of Chief Chapsinja's son Mayesero and his bride. So far there have been two baptism services in the new church, an initial group of 11 people and more recently a further group of 17. The building also functions as a venue for church and community groups to meet together to discuss local affairs.
Water Workshops
In 2009 we reported on an emerging relationship with Links International and we want to thank them for sending a team to conduct a second week-long health and sanitation workshop in Chapsinja in the latter half of last year.
During this time 35 donated water filters were distributed, and training provided on their use and maintenance. This is a short-term solution and it is hoped that a longer-term solution will be found with the digging of a borehole in Chapsinja later this year if we can raise the funding.
This partnership with Links is proving to be an invaluable resource in improving the living conditions in the villages and it is encouraging to see that all villages have now dug proper pit latrines and even implemented some innovative methods for washing their hands, a task that is ordinarily challenging when there is no running water.
We are further encouraged by the way the Village Development Committee has responded to the workshops and they have since conducted a number of similar workshops in the surrounding villages to pass on what has been learned.
Please pray...
For blessings on those who support us and increased financial support over 2011. There is so much that God has laid on our hearts to do and we are trusting everything to His provision.
For Chris as he continues to teach the villagers about the 'Farming God's Way'; organic farming methods. That the training and practices will have an impact beyond the initial group of villagers who were trained. We pray for God's blessing on the crops of all those who took part and for people to willingly change their farming practices in the long term.
For the Hope Missions team: for safe travel, good health and protection as they travel to and from the villages, for wisdom and discernment as they seek to minister to those who do not know the Lord.
For the amazing ladies who teach in the nursery schools. May God give them the energy and inspiration to care for, teach, inspire and guide the village children each day.

"Transforming communities through the implementation of programs which affect all areas of community life including: agriculture, education, economic empowerment, advocacy and discipleship, working through the local church and community leaders."

©Hope Missions Ministries 2008.
Private Bag B510, City Centre, Lilongwe 3, MALAWI
Tel: +265 (0)999 392 545