As part of the Church of England in Birmingham Diocese, we also have strong links with the church in Malawi. Here's an update about events in Malawi:
We have had two letters this week (18/09/2020) from Agnes! With some excellent pictures of what she has been doing in Malawi with the schools, to help combat COVID-19 there!
Greetings from Malawi!
How are you over there? This is just to say hello. How is the situation like over there now with this Corona Virus pandemic? Are you still in lockdown?
How is everyone at the Church? Have you started attending church services?
Here we are fine, the Corona virus infection is reducing, which is good news to us. We really thank God for His mercies. This Corona Virus pandemic has brought misery among people all over the world. But God is still in Control.
Greetings to the family and all Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. Peter's.
(And a second letter)
Thank you very much for the email ..... But we still know God is in control.
Yes, I remember that beautiful Farm shop restaurant.
Thank you for sharing your website, glad to hear that you do out some news from Malawi.
I just thought of sending you these photos which were taken after I had donate some Face masks to one of the rural Primary schools. This school in a rural remote place, the students in the photos are a Standard 8 pupils who are about to sitnfor their Primary school leaving Exams in two weeks time.
The school lacks a lot of Educational materials, such as exercise books, pencils and pens, paper, even reading books ( like a library), their toilets, very dilapidated, it even reminded me of the Toilet twinning, I remembered those toilets in the Church on that day I visited. See the toilets in one of the photos.
I still want to go back to this School to go and help the girls on how to make re-usable Sanitary pads, as it is a necessity to the girls.
Most of them cannot manage to buy from the shops. I just pray the Lord may give me the strength, as it at a distance from where I leave, needs transport too. But I know the Lord will provide as the Bible teaches us not to be anxious about tomorrow. Matgew 6: 34.
May you please pass on my sincere greetings to the Vicar, and to all Brothers and Sisters at St. Peter's.
The Presidential election held in 2019 was overturned by the Constitutional court due to fraud or irregularity.The court ordered the election to be rerun this year and Opposition Leader, Lazarus Chakwera, was elected defeating the incumbent Peter Muthanka with 58.7% of the vote. Lazarus Chakwera is a theologian, pastor and former President of the Malawi Assemblies of God.
The previous President accepted the result of the 2020 election and sent congratulations to the newly elected President and Vice-President. This is the first time an opposition leader in Northern sub-Sahara Africa has won a voting return after a previous result has been overturned. So congratulations to the Malawi people that this happened without violence and within the legal framework.
Everyone is very excited and as Baird, one of my friends there said, ‘My cheeks are flowing with tears of joy for electing new presidency for this country. We trust there is going to be deep relief for this country’.
In his speech after being sworn in the President said, ‘With your help we will restore faith in having a government that serves; not a government that rules, a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates, a government that listens, not a government that shouts but a government that fights for you and not against you’ .
I have received many messages of thanks for our prayers during this difficult time.
COVID – 19
However Malawi has still to cope with the Corona Virus. Although the virus has not spread as quickly as was feared it does now seem to be taking a hold. A total of 24 deaths have been recorded and attributed to the virus but 5 deaths were recorded yesterday. A big increase. They think this is probably due to workers returning from South Africa. Hundreds of returnees are expected to arrive in Malawi this week, raising fears that cases will increase even more. A survey shows that 82% of Malawians are more scared of hunger than being infected by the virus. Social distancing is difficult due to most people living day to day and often in very crowded conditions. Advice re procedures and hygiene etc has been sent to the Bishops based on experiences in Birmingham.
The schools have now been closed and the staff are requesting buckets and soap for when they are able to return. We are looking at the best way to help them. Mothers’ Union are busy making masks and PPE equipment. A side effect of the schools being closed in Malawi is that many young girls are being pressurised into getting married as their education has come to a halt. Please remember them in your prayers.
Unfortunately due to conditions here and the unknown conditions in Malawi it will not be possible to send the container this year. Social distancing would make it very difficult to load the container here and we don’t know what the situation would be like in Malawi by the time it arrived there. Many schools here usually collect items and as they are all closed it would mean a big drop in the contributions.
Plans are being made to send the container early next year probably in March. If possible please keep the items you have collected as they will be very much needed. I had planned to send material to the Mothers’ Union so they could continue sewing the PPE but this has not proved possible. Again we are trying to sort a way of helping. Agnes is busy teaching others to sew and the sewing machines we sent are proving very useful. She says they are keeping us in their prayers and asks us to continue to pray for them.
Thanks to you all for your continued support and prayers for our brothers and sisters in Malawi. If you require more information please contact me on email@example.com.
Canon Claire Laland, Malawi Task Group and Mothers’ Union
Give thanks for the election of Lazarus Chakwera and that he will quickly win the trust and confidence of all of the people of Malawi.Ask for wisdom as he appoints his new cabinet.
Pray for children unable to attend school especially those who are now expected to marry.
Pray for those suffering from Covid-19 especially in the rural areas where water is not readily available
Every year we send gifts in the annual container which is sent from Birmingham. This year we also made greetings cards which were given by the children to Revd. Isaac Phiri, who was able to visit our church. He has taken them to share with the people of Upper Shire Diocese in Malawi!
You can click here to see the Facebook post about this!
Here is the most recent update from our correspondent in Malawi (Agnes), sent to Claire Laland:
Dear Mama Claire,
Thank you very much for the email.
Sad to hear that you're still in lockdown, we still remember you in our prayers.
Very sad to hear of all those who have died due to CORONA VIRUS, what a big loss!
May the Soul of those who have departed REST IN ETERNAL PEACE.
I hope there is none from St. Peter's.
Lord have mercy.
We do understand about the delay in sending the Container this year, I know it is difficult for people to come out at this difficult situation, to solicit and pack items for the container.
But we thank God at least now you can go out and meet one person, you can manage to talk to someone in person. May God's name be glorified and praised.
God is still in Control, one day this Pandemic will go, in JESUS'S NAME.
Our God is full of compassion and mercies.
Greetings to all friends.
May the Lord continue taking care of you and all.
At the start of our Lockdown, we received the following letter from Agnes, our friend and correspondent in Malawi: it was sent to Claire Laland to share -
Dear Mama Claire,
Thank you very much for this informative email. I was just thinking about you now before receiving your email. You are in our prayers, we have prayers every morning at our Church, it is a very difficult and worrying situation, as we hear in radios and televisions. Very sad to hear about thr cancellation of Church services, and for people being in doors most of the time, this is a very difficult and sad situation indeed.
We here some African countries have been affected too, we here African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia. Most of our people do Business in these countries, so it is most likely it will affect Malawi too. But the Malawi Government through the ministry of Health are encouraging and educating people on how to prevent the Corona virus problem, like washing of hands, avoiding crowded places, handshakes.
But in Malawi it is difficult, like the crowded buses, crowded markets, even crowded hospitals. If the developed world are worried, it will be difficult for countries like to contain it as hospitals don't have enough equipment for testing the virus.
My dear mama Claire, as believers, Christians, may we just put our trust in God the creator, God takes care of everyone, the elderly and the young ones, He does not choose. He was there, He is there, and He is still there for us all. Don't despair the Lord is always there for you. He took care of the Israelites in those 40 years in the wilderness, it is the same God who will eradicate this deadly Corona virus.
May we continue praying to God to give Wisdom and Knowledge to the medical personnel to find proper ways if eradicating this deadly Corona virus, and find the proper treatment.
Jesus is always there, and promised us, if we ask anything from Him it shall be given, but we should pray with Faith.
May the Lord continue taking care of you during this trying time of the CORONA VIRUS.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.