Hope Missions Ministries

2011: Issue 2
Dear Friend,
At the time of writing Malawi is going through some very tough times as a country and I feel it is impossible to fill you in on Hope Missions' news without first giving you a wider picture of the struggles we are facing as a nation.
Earlier this year decisions were made by The World Bank, the EU, the African Development Bank and many of Malawi's bilateral donor countries to withdraw much of the direct budgetary support that accounts for some 40% of Malawi's budget. This, coupled with ever decreasing prices in tobacco, Malawi's main export, is causing severe shortages in foreign exchange and fuel availability is suffering as a direct result. The shortage in fuel is causing prices to soar and creating significant uncertainty in transport cost and availability.
All these factors have compounded to affect the potential effectiveness of the seed and fertiliser subsidy programmes that have enabled the country to maintain a food surplus rather than deficit for the last few years. An estimated 200,000 small-scale farmers are
set to miss out on the subsidies this year as a direct result of the fuel shortages and restricted support, and we are therefore naturally concerned for the size and quality of next year's harvest and the impact this will have on the nation.
It is said that a picture paints a thousand words so with this in mind we want to share with you all a common scene from one of the filling stations in the centre of town. Queues like this often take several hours to negotiate and with only one or two petrol stations having any fuel at any one time it can be difficult to find fuel at all. We ask you all to join with us at this time in prayer for our nation and the many problems that we face. Our prayer requests are detailed at the end of this newsletter.
Annie Mkandawire (Project Director)
Volunteer Support in 2011
Despite the significant economic problems globally, 2011 has been a fantastic year for Hope Missions in terms of the personal support we have received from many of our donors. We have enjoyed visits this year from Links International, Starfish Malawi and Nailsea Baptist Church as well as strengthening and developing relationships with new supporters. We thank all of you for your support, love and commitment.
In May and October this year we hosted teams from Links International who, across these two visits, ran a number of workshops in both Chapsinja and Kayabwa continuing the work on health and sanitation with the VDCs (Village Development Committees) as well as helping us develop our micro-enterprise scheme and providing skills training to many people in the area of carpentry and joinery. The primary school teachers also benefitted from some refresher training.
In July a team from Nailsea Baptist church came to visit us to help us establish the building for the nursery school in our latest target area, Biwi.
Biwi is located very close to our offices on the south side of the city and as a more urban location the issues are different and so our approach must be too. The school has been functioning now for approximately 6 months and we are approaching the end of the first term of our first full school year. The need for the school was clear as we already have over 70 children attending.
In addition to the school, Nailsea also helped us with a blanket drop in Kayabwa and sports-based outreaches to help us maintain engagement with the youth through the cold season. We also showed the Jesus Film on a number of occasions and received some positive responses, particularly in Biwi where we were showing the film for the first time.
Finally we want to thank Chris Knott of Starfish for his encouragement and support during his visit in October and also Clyde and Julie Lourensz for their encouragement during their visit in September. We look forward to seeing these and other relationships continue to develop and flourish over 2012.
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.
Team Changes
Unfortunately not all our news is good news and we are sad to report that the rising costs in Malawi and squeeze on financial support we receive from our donors has meant we have had to say goodbye to a few of our team members to ensure that there are sufficient resources to enable the remainder of our project staff to continue to be effective and visit the projects on a regular basis.
Earlier this year we said goodbye to Hilda Mlota, one of our Child Survival and Development Coordinators, to Annie Juma, our Administrative Assistant, to Wills Sichale, our Discipleship and Evangelism Coordinator and to Enida Yasini Gama in Women's Ministries and Evangelism.
We now rely more than ever on volunteer support and are grateful to Wills for the time he does still volunteer, to Alex Mbwana who also began volunteering with us in the middle of this year and to Jever Saguga and Gideon Mpeni who re-join us as volunteers whenever they return to Malawi between their studies at Bible School in South Africa.
It is by God's grace that we have not had to cut back on teaching staff and we now have 11 teachers plus teaching assistants across our 5 nursery schools. The change in staff dymanics means we are focusing more on engaging Pastor Likoko in Kayabwa to support our work there and this is proving to be a successful strategy, largely as he lives in Kayabwa itself.
Agriculture and Food Security
We have decided to continue with just a single demonstration plot for this planting season owing to the difficulties with transport and our ability to visit more than one plot on a regular basis. The demonstration plot in Chapsinja therefore continues and we will seek to train even more farmers this year in the Farming God's Way methods and principles which have seen such significant success in the last few years.
Our relationship with the government in this area also continues to flourish and the officials have identified Chief Chapsinja as a lead farmer and are seeking to work with us to train more farmers in these methods on a potentailly larger scale.
Please pray for us, and Chris in particular, as we continue this relationship. Pray specifically that the heart of the methods rooted in God's creation and purpose will shine through and not just the pure science itself. We believe that for many small-scale farmers capturing the sense of working in harmony with God and creation is vital to ensure that this doesn't just become yet another fad farming methodology.
Discipleship and Evangelism
Often when human wisdom, strength and capacity would suggest something is either impossible or at the very least improbable, it is then we find that God is faithful, consistent and strong and this is certainly our testimony with regard to the work in Evangelism and Discipleship as we have had one of our busiest years yet.
In addition to the showing of the Jesus Film, we have had two large-scale outreaches in July and August of this year and saw many people give their lives to Christ as a result. The churches in Chapsinja and Kayabwa continue to grow and following our church plant in Biwi we had a baptismal service for in excess of 20 individuals in October this year.
Unfortunately the situation with regard to fuel and transport has meant we have been unable to provide as much support to the young Christains as we would like and the youth Bible Study in particular has suffered as a result. It is our heart to see a Pastor placed in Chapsinja like we have in Kayabwa with Likoko so that we can ensure there is more support on the ground for these new Christians in these growing churches. Please pray for the funding to enable us to find and support the right person for this.
Please pray...
For Malawi! Pray for our key diplomatic relationships with the UK, Germany, Norway, the EU, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Pray for our leaders and President that the issues would be resolved and we would once again benefit from the critical budgetary support as a nation.
For the economic situation here which is resulting in the lack of foreign currency and fuel and crippling many businesses and small-scale aid agencies as a result. Please also pray for the harvest in 2012 that God will provide supernaturally and that there will be enough food for everyone.
For blessings on those who support us and increased financial support over 2012. 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. We pray for God's blessing on the crops of all those who take part in the training and for people to willingly change their farming practices in the long term.
For the new church plant and nursery school in Biwi and for all the new Chrisitans there. Pray that God would encourage and uphold them as we continue to work into this new area.
For the resources to employ a pastor for the church in Chapsinja in order that there would be someone always there to work with us in our projects and to be a focal point for the link between Hope Missions and the community there.

"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