Spring 2015
Written by Stephen and Gail Harper - Malawi

Malawi, affectionately known as "The Warm Heart of Africa," is a small land locked country in Central Africa, bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. A former British colony (Nyasaland) it has been an independent democratic state since 1964. One of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi's economy is almost entirely agricultural, with around 80% of the 16.5 Million population engaged in subsistence farming, and an estimated 90% surviving on average daily incomes of less than two dollars US per day.

Seed Sower Team

The country has a long tradition of Christianity, dating back to the mid-1800s when David Livingstone and others pioneered the territory. Today there is much nominal Christianity (RC, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.) although genuine believers are "few and far between". The cults are almost all represented: Jehovah's Witnesses, SDA and Church of Christ, particularly so. Extreme forms of Pentecostalism are in the ascendancy, and there is a significant Muslim minority.

Open Air Preaching

Information about the history of assembly work in Malawi is patchy, and although there are quite a number of groups loosely associated with early assembly missionaries, after passage of time, reality of conversion and genuine desire for the truth of the Word of God are now uncommon among them.

Gail and I have been associated with the work in Malawi for over 12 years, residing there between 2003 and 2011. We were engaged at various stages in rural and urban work, latterly operating a Christian bookstore in the small city of Zomba, from which a range of Gospel activities were conducted. Although we still maintain a rented house in Thondw (Southern Region), for the past 3 years, family obligations have required that we be based in N. Ireland, although I have been privileged to make regular visits to Malawi, about 4 times each year.

Our burden is for the spread of the Gospel and our efforts in recent years have focussed very much upon publication and distribution of sound Gospel literature and open-air preaching. We produce a regular bi-lingual Gospel magazine, a variety of English and Chichewa (the principal vernacular language of Malawi) Gospel tracts, and bi-lingual Gospel calendars. These are circulated in most regions of the country, and although a rough estimate of the number of items of which we have shipped and distributed in the past couple of years is approaching 500,000, we feel that we are only "scratching the surface". We endeavour to supply literature to individuals with a desire to reach the people in their own communities, and there is great demand. A shipment of almost 150,000 tracts and 50,000 calendars which arrived in November is now almost entirely finished, and at time of writing (March) we have already used nearly half of the 75,000 magazines which arrived mid-February. Lord willing, I hope to print and send a further large consignment of tracts within the next few weeks.

A recent highlight has been the "Seed Sower" type events which took place in August 2013 and again in 2014. These have proved to be very beneficial and of great blessing to those who took part. We are looking forward to a similar venture in August 2015, Lord willing, and will value the prayers of all, and the help of any who may be able to take part.

Looking forward, we continue to be burdened about the need for Gospel literature, and for material to teach the basics of the Christian faith and assembly truth to those who belong to the Lord, as this is almost non-existent. We are exploring the possibility of a number of significant translation projects, and will value your prayerful interest in these efforts.

Spring 2015
Written by Stephen and Gail Harper - Malawi