Bethany and I are excited to greet you from South Africa. Yes, you’ve read it right, we are not in Malawi, but in South Africa! However, by the time you read this, we will most likely be back in Malawi. We were asked by our head office in Florida, to spend the month of April at our base in South Africa. The staff have been going through a lot and Florida felt like Bethany and I could be an encouragement.
January-April have been busy, but wonderful months. We are not into numbers, but I did want to share that over the last three months, 300 people have came to know Christ. Our staff work so hard to reach out to fellow Malawians with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also had over 12,000 kids come to our Sunday School classes over the last three months. Praise God for what He is doing in Malawi, and YOU have a part in the lives that get changed in Malawi.
When we returned in January, we were both a little discouraged and worn out. We had shared this and many of you had said that you would be praying that God would encourage us as we returned. Well, God has answered your prayers and we have found that He has given us His strength as we serve in Malawi (and currently in South Africa). The Lord renews our strength daily and we are blessed to wake up each morning to serve the King of Kings.
Currently, Malawi is in the middle of a very bad famine. We shared last year that we did not get enough rain, and to make matters worse, the rain we did receive turned into flash floods. It destroyed most of last year’s crops and this year’s crops are even worse. The southern area of Malawi was hit the hardest with food shortages. Teen Missions held a Mud Run Fundraiser last year, and were able to send a couple thousand dollars for food. With this we were able to give food out to more than 700 children. We bought over 3,000 pounds of grain (maize flour) and gave it to the kids attending our Sunday Schools around Malawi.
God has really been growing the ministry here, and now we have added eight more Sunday Schools to Malawi. However, this new circuit is going to be a little different from our previous ones, because we are going to be using bicycles instead of motorcycles. We purchased a small amount of land deep within a Muslim community in the southern part of Malawi, where there are no churches within 60 miles. Our Bible School in Mangochi just finished putting two small houses on the land. Each week our circuit riders will travel to eight different smaller villages to hold Sunday School classes. This is truly the front lines of reaching those who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for our four new bike riders as they begin to reach out in this part of Malawi.
We are now almost to the middle of April and, by the time you read this, it will soon be May. That means Boot Camps are just around the corner! This summer, will be hosting two North American teams. One team will be doing construction work at our base in Mangochi, and the other team will be a well drilling team in the South as well. We are looking forward to their arrival. We have been so blessed that many young people in North America come on these teams. It gives them a chance to see Malawi and the work of the Lord with their own eyes. Some of the team members have even gone on to be full-time missionaries in other parts of Africa and around the world.
We will also be having our three national Boot Camps in Chipoka, Rumphi and Mangochi. It is a lot of work on Bethany and me to oversee the American teams and the Malawi Boot Camps all at the same time. Please pray that God will give us the strength and wisdom to handle all the problems that come our way. Pray that we would have a fruitful summer of ministry!
We have some exciting news, and no, Bethany is not pregnant. We just got permission to have another container cleared to come to Malawi! We also got our visa renewed for another two years! Please pray for the container as it makes its way to Malawi filled with medication, clothing, blankets, shoes, Bibles and school supplies.
As we look at Malawi, it seems like each day the country goes deeper and deeper into poverty. According to some statistics, Malawi is now not only the poorest country in Africa, but also the poorest country in the whole world. While countries around them get better hospitals, schools and businesses, Malawi stays in the past with people walking miles for water and food. Bethany and I look and can’t help but feel heartbroken. However, as we look at Malawi, we remember that this world is not our home. While Malawi might be deprived of basic living essentials, the main reason we are in Malawi is to point people to Christ and show them their need for the Savior and His amazing forgiveness.
Praise God for what HE is doing. We are so thankful you have a part in the ministry here in Malawi. Thank you for standing with us in prayer, encouragement and financial support. Together we are building the Kingdom of Heaven and NO matter who becomes President of the USA. We have this hope that this world is not our HOME, but the place where God has us for a time to prepare us for our eternal home.
Serving Christ Together,
Josiah and Bethany