Since 2009 our congregation has had a strong and growing relationship with the United Methodist Church in the small African democracy of Malawi. Representative from our church have traveled to Malawi each year since, and we have welcomed a number of Malawi UMC visitors to Iowa. We call our relationship with them a Partnership of Hope, because it is a ministry of presence or encouragement. We have funded various projects in Malawi through our mission giving, seasonal offerings, and through 5% of a capital campaign. During our annual trips, we have the opportunity to view the projects which we have funded.
- The Farm: Our recent centers of emphasis have included the 57-acre United Methodist farm in central Malawi near Mchinji. The purposes of the farm includedeveloping and teaching sustainable agricultural practices, providing agricultural training, and developing income sources to sustain the ministries of the UMC in Malawi. Our congregation helped fund a borehole (deep well) on the farm, build the farm manager’s home, build a grain storage facility, and assist with a loan for the purchase of a solar pump allowing irrigation over a wider area of the farm. Shortly after the establishment of the farm, a new UM church also began to form in Mchinji, and our congregation has supported that effort by helping fund their church building. A member of our congregation, Pam (Heilskov) Zivley, served as a volunteer in mission for one year, living as a guest on the farm. During that year, Pam helped with farm work, established a book keeping system for the farm, worked with health initiatives, supported the work of the Mchinji congregation and UMW and provided transportation (being one of the few people in the region who could drive.)
- The Tailoring School: A second center of emphasis for our congregation is the Tailoring School in Mzuzu, in northern Malawi. Begun by their pastor, Copeland Nkhata, this program gives semi-literate women the opportunity to learn to sew, providing them with a way to support their families. Our congregation has paid the salary of the tailoring instructor, celebrated the student’s graduation, and most recently paid for the construction of a new facility for the tailoring school and pastor’s office.
- In addition, each year, our congregation funds 1-2 boreholes in areas designated by the Malawi UMC, and encourages local churches and their programs for vulnerable children.
Our 2016 Malawi Team! Thank you for your dedication to this ministry!