Strategising in the garden

img_4449-800x449Our involvement with Scripture Union started way back in 1979 when a teenage Myles went to SU Scotland’s Scoughall Camp as a nervous new ‘tent leader’.

S2 1980 - Dinner in the old marquee

1980: A tired young Myles with his campers

This started a life long love affair with an organisation unafraid to model robust, committed, masculine discipleship to the youth of Scotland. It also started another lifelong love, as the next year a young Ruth arrived from Belfast to help her older sister cook at camp!The result was almost two decades of involvement with SU Scotland at Scoughall, and each of our children growing up crawling through the East Lothian mud as camp mascots!


1991: Spot Myles, Ruth, Andrew and Alasdair

So when in 2013, on a short visit to Malawi, we overheard an Ulster accent as we passed the offices of SU Malawi in Lilongwe, it was natural to drop into a conversation which has since developed into a close friendship with David, Pamela and Beth McCullagh. And recently Myles jumped at the chance to help SU in Malawi by facilitating their Strategy Workshop to cast a vision for 2021 and plan towards achieving that vision.

Championed by the National Director, Amon Chanika, the workshop ran from Sun 16 – Wed 19 October allowing for two solid days of reflection, brainstorming and planning; with the emphasis being on getting back to the roots of what SU is, and thinking ‘out of the box’ to reinterpret that for today’s Malawi over the next 5+ years.

Of course, as you would expect of Scripture Union, the event was grounded from the start in the Word, with David (Ministry Director for SU Malawi) leading the gathering of key SU Malawi leaders through Ephesians 2:1-10 and a reflection on who we had been saved by and what we had been saved for.

It was an intense few days for Myles as he facilitated the discussion, and a physically exhausting few days standing for long periods as the hot dry-season sun beat down on the tin roof of the conference centre. Nevertheless, only 30 min out of bustling Blantyre, the lovely tended garden of the Carmalite run centre at M’phaludzu was the ideal environment to encourage everyone to leave their day-to-day challenges and attend to eternal matters.

Myles was struck by the expertise and experience of the SU leaders who gathered, and how quickly he felt at one with them. This was partly because of the universal bond we so often experience between true disciples we have just met, and also the similarity of ethos between SU Malawi and SU Scotland. But it was also because of the great similarity Myles found between many of the fundamental challenges faced by SU Malawi and those of ZEC.

img_4446-800x449Anyway, the result was an invigorating time for Myles as he was once again able to serve Christ’s body through his strategic planning experience, this time  within the overlapping contexts of Malawi and Scripture Union. However, they say innovation is “10% inspiration and 90% perspiration” so the real test for the event will be whether, empowered by the Holy Spirit,  the Malawian leaders of SU are willing and able to put in the perspiration to help enable things to happen!

Please join with us in praying for Amon, David, their families, and the wider SU family of Malawi as they seek to faithfully serve their Lord and grow God’s Kingdom here in the warm heart of Africa.

2 thoughts on “Strategising in the garden

  1. I hope there will be a chance at some stage for you or SU Malawi to give us some idea of the strategy that has been decided on. This would allow us to pray in a more informed manner.

    And isn’t this more wonderful proof of you two being in the right place at the right time!

    • Hi Mike.

      For sure, as soon as SU Malawi have finalised their vision, mission, priorities etc and how they will communicate them I will get them out to folk. I am sure they would welcome as much prayer support as possible given the challenges all gospel centred organisations face in Malawi at the moment.

      And yes it is wonderful the way God can use surprising aspects of one’s experiences and background for his Kingdom. Who would have thought a ‘miss-spent youth’ (or middle age for that matter) in strategic business management would have been so useful in Malawi as it has proved with ZEC, SU and others.

      God is good … all the time!

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