“Echoes of Grace”

IMG_3613 (2)It is not unusual for a peaceful Saturday at Chipitala Avenue, Blantyre, to be disturbed by music, but usually it’s loud intrusive music being blasted out over loud-speakers from the University sports complex behind. But last Saturday the music was coming from the Zambesi Mission bungalow – and it was much more pleasant to the ear! Ruth was holding her first Song Creation Workshop with a group of 15 young people. Continue reading

Winter – cold but not blue!

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It is now “mid-winter” here in Malawi – and we are wishing we had brought more of our winter clothes from England. When we first moved into our house we were amused to see a fan heater in one of the cupboards – wondering why it was there – this is Africa after all. The windows that did not quite close properly have never been a problem – until June hit. Over the last 6 weeks, here in Blantyre at an altitude of 3400 feet, there have been many cool overcast days, and windy days, and the nights are noticably colder. The fan heater has been used several times, the windows have had to be fixed, and Ruth has been shopping for jumpers and body-warmers! Continue reading

Mission accomplished

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It was a pleasure to go along to the English service at our “home church” at Limbe ZEC this morning, and sing a few songs from the 21st century! While our daughter, Mhairi, was staying with us, we used her singing skills to hold a couple of sessions at Limbe to teach some new English songs, an alternative to the rather dated songs, like “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Will Your Anchor Hold” which are the staple of the English service most weeks! We formed a band using talented musicians we have got to know, and taught 12 new songs, by people like Stuart Townend, and Matt Redman. Continue reading

Majete: in the footsteps of Livingstone

dscf0572 1280x160Mhairi’s recent visit encouraged us to take a day trip down into the Lower Shire to visit the Majete Wildlife Reserve. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the countryside in the wild state of thick bush that Livingstone would have experienced on his first trip up the Shire when the ‘Kapichira Falls‘ – that now lie within the park – forced him and his party out of their boats to continue their epic journey on foot. Continue reading

The joys of Malawi public transport

Limbe BusLast weekend, Ruth and her CFCM colleagues, Joseph and Elevate, went off to Monkey Bay to run a Sunday School teacher’s training seminar. That wasn’t the only education going on over the weekend – Ruth had a lot to learn about Malawian public transport! Forget about timetables, set fares, pre-booking, luggage regulations, seat-belts, air-conditioning, road-safety….. Continue reading

A parable for the church in Africa

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The church in Malawi is like this. There was once a mother who gave birth to her child, and abandoned the child in the street. The mother went away, and so this child begins to grow by himself and grows as a beggar in the streets: ‘Grandma, help me. Sir, help me.’ He sits under a bridge all day, every day. So think about this child when he grows up. What kind of thing can this child teach? Continue reading

David Livingstone I presume?

p01l7wrxIf you have access to the BBC iPlayer I can recommend you watch this TV programme before it disappears.

Not only does it give a relatively balanced presentation of Livingstone’s life, and touch on the early history of Malawi, but the film of the Malawi countryside and people is wonderful and really captures the reality for us on the ground here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017hzw2/the-last-explorers-1-livingstone

Two ways to sit

IMG_9295The Gospel presentation “Two Ways to Live” is one of my favourites, especially because of the great iPhone app that they distribute to help lazy people like me. So I was very pleased to hear that SIM Malawi has worked with others to translate this Gospel presentation into Chichewa, partly using the services of our Chichewa teacher.

However, it also gave us an interesting insight into the challenges of interpreting meaning when crossing cultural and language boundaries!  Continue reading

Rules for talk and discussion

IMG_9546We have been helping CfCM with a holiday bible club at Maliya primary school. It is only a few miles from Blantyre but in a different world. The school has only 13 staff for nearly 700 pupils, and hardly any material resources. The only access to this isolated village is by using a long rough dirt road which has no minibus or bicycle taxi service. Piped water, sanitation, or a mobile phone service is just a dream. 

Continue reading

School’s out for Easter!

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The Easter school holidays continue here in Malawi, as in schools back home, and every year CFCM organise a Five-Day Club during this holiday period. This year they chose a rural location, some 20km outside of Blantyre, a village called Maliya, where there is a primary school for almost 700 children from the surrounding area, an AquaAid orphanage, a ZEC church, but no regular children’s Bible Club. Maliya can’t be reached by public transport – even the ubiquitous minibuses can’t make it down the bumpy road, and for people to go up to town (and it is uphill all the way) involves a 2-hour hike, or a motor-bike taxi if you can afford it. Continue reading

Its a long way to Muona, its a long way to go!

DSCF9309Last Tuesday we set off on our most recent aid trip, this time to an area on the east side of the Shire River where the road had just been declared open by the roads authority. It turned out that “open” was a loose term! It ended up a gruelling, kidney jolting, 3 hr/60 km drive from where we left the tarmac at Kanjedza on the M1 to our destination at the little settlement of Muona, and its Zambesi Evangelical Church. Continue reading

The land where the bicycle is king

IMG_3010Just as in 19th century Britain, it is the bicycle that brings freedom and transport to the masses in rural Malawi. And none of your fancy 18 gear mountain bikes here, it is good old-fashioned solid designs from days of old – like this “Raja” from India that has a heritage running back to the Raj. Continue reading

Fellowship and food



Nsima, chicken and vegitable relish



I must say that, perhaps unlike many British churches, our home churches of Mickfield Evangelical Church and Blakenham Baptist Church know how to mix fellowship and food. But here in Malawi food, fellowship and hospitality is a fine art. The Christians here are hospitable until it hurts! Continue reading

Wanted: servant leaders

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This morning (Sun 8th March) we were up early to worship with our friends at the English language service of Limbe ZEC. We heard a suitably quiet but impactful exposition of the first few verses of the Beatitudes from the great sermon preached by Jesus on a Galilee mountain side and recorded by Matthew in chapter 5 of his gospel. Continue reading

Zomba Plateau

Zomba Plateau (not my photo)

With our Saturdays and Sundays now busy with children’s clubs, preaching and teaching engagements we have started taking Monday as our day of rest. We used the first Monday of this new system (2nd March) to test out our new 4×4 and headed off to the famous Zomba Plateau that dominates the countryside around the old colonial capital of Zomba. Continue reading

Short and simple

IMG_8934I couldn’t help but obey two of the playground rules when I saw these signs at Mandala House (the posh hangout of ‘azungu’ in Blantyre). First I smiled and then I laughed.

How wonderful that someone has set out such a simple and positive set of rules to help the children enjoy themselves in the playground.

I don’t know about you but I have this terrible habit of getting carried away and making things way too complicated. I hate to think how many more signs I might have added to the tree. Continue reading

Hi Katy

IMG_2546This is an email that Ruth sent to a nine year old friend to help her with a primary school project. We thought it might be of wider interest.

Hi Katy,

It was lovely to hear from you, and we are happy to help you with your school project – life in a village in Suffolk is very different from life in a village in Malawi – especially for children. Continue reading

Time for 4 wheel drive

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We are about ten weeks into our time here in Malawi and there is still no sign of our TEP (Temporary Employment Permit) being granted. Please pray that this comes through soon as it gives us the official confirmation of our long-term stay here. We are confident God has called us to be here for the long-term, and are increasingly clear about how he specifically wants us to serve, and are beginning to ‘motor’.  So we have decided to go ahead with a couple of long-term decisions regardless of the TEP.

Continue reading

The feeding of the 500

IMG_2516The 10 Bible Clubs running in the area of Tchoda are a testament to 10 pastors from different denominations who share a vision for a generation of God-fearing children through which God might transform Malawi; testament to their belief that child-appropriate Bible teaching is the way this vision must be achieved; testament to the individuals from their churches who have been trained and tirelessly bring the Gospel to a total of 850 children week by week; and testament to the Children for Christ Ministries (CFCM) team who have trained the teachers and who continue to encourage and provide resources for these clubs. Continue reading

Malawi’s slow motion tsunami

Malawi flooding...epa04572326 A picture made available on 21 JanFriends, this will probably be our last post for some time concerning the Malawi floods as we don’t want to bore our friends and supporters. But if you are interested in regular updates yo can contact zm through our website and ask to be put on the mailing list for the “Zambesi Mission – Flood Relief Bulletin”. Continue reading

Sonjeka Village RIP

Deceptively peaceful Sonjeka

Deceptively peaceful Sonjeka

We visited Mulanje District on our first visit to Malawi and fell in love with its majestic mountains and fast flowing rivers. It made our return visit last Wednesday all the more challenging: to find so much pain and suffering amongst all that beauty, and to find the life giving rivers themselves had turned into the tools of so much destruction.

Continue reading

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

floodsWater, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink

(Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

This rainy season is unusual for Malawi. As well as causing devastation to many churches, homes and public buildings, the weather also brings home the fact that despite decades as an independent nation striving for social and economic development many challenges remain. especially when it comes to power, water and sanitation. Continue reading

Build your house on the rock …

floods-malawiMalawi is one of the most densly populated countries in Africa, seems to have few if any planning laws, has little resources for infrastructure development, and in desperation many are forced to build in places that make them very vulerable. On top of that, rural homes are built from burned-clay bricks formed out of the soil around the house, and sometimes cement isn’t even available for use in the mortar.

It is no surprise therefore that, soon after the delayed rains started, we now hear and see the tragic results of a few weeks of heavy rain falling on such a needy land.
Continue reading

Whatever you did for one of the least of these …

malawimumIt is the people we meet and the faith stories we hear that make Malawi so very special. Whenever we can, we want to share with our friends and partners the stories we hear …

Within a few days of giving birth, a young woman was issued divorce papers by her husband. For a woman in Malawi, where there is no benefits system, being abandoned like this meant certain hardship. How was she going to support herself and her new-born baby boy? She was desperate, but she had one comfort, her faith in Christ. So she called her son “God-knows”.
Continue reading

Let the children come unto me

IMG_2354This week Ruth had the exciting opportunity of starting to work alongside Joseph and Elevate of “Children For Christ Ministries” (CFCM).  Their focus is training people across Malawi to lead Bible Clubs and Sunday Schools but this week their emphasis was on re-starting the clubs they run themselves in the Blantyre area. Ruth immediately got a sense of the breadth of their work, the challenges they face, and the privilege that is theirs of being able to run and support weekly Bible Clubs. Continue reading

Someone turn the heating down!

stoveAs I (Myles) worked at my PC yesterday evening, once again completely focussed on my dissertation research, I caught myself subconsciously saying this before I suddenly remembered I was not sitting in my livingroom in a cold British winter but was sitting in my livingroom in a sticky tropical Malawi waiting for the rains to break. Continue reading

Water for the thirsty

IMG_8813“… whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

As we got off the plane at Blantyre airport last Thursday and were met by our Malawi Director we were quickly reminded of the basic life challenges that so many face here in Malawi.

As we drove to the city we remarked at how dry the small fields were compared to our visit last Easter, and we found that even the relatively well-appointed mission house we were staying in had taps that ran dry.

Continue reading

Let go and let’s go!

Picture1It has been quite a couple of weeks as we have emptied our old house and completed its sale. Twenty-three years of stuff and fond memories to let go of, and two days of hard work as we got the new house ready to be rented out to friends.

It was a week or so ago, as I burned decades of sensitive old papers, that it struck me how much we were leaving behind as we move into this next chapter of our walk with God.
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Still here waiting patiently

waitWait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

Back in 2012 – when God made clear he wanted to see a dramatic change in the direction of our lives – we prayed, we read scripture, and we talked to trusted long-standing Christian friends who had been on this path before us.

One wise lady warned us to take significant time before deciding what to do next. This would allow me (Myles) to “decompress” from my “always on” life in global media, to slow down, to learn to be more fully a man of prayer, to learn how to go at God’s pace rather than man’s, and above all to wait on the Lord.

Continue reading

Commissioning service

Things have been so busy over the summer that our posts have dried up. But that will soon change as we head back to Malawi in the not too distant future. In the meantime, if you can join us tomorrow for our commissioning service at Mickfield Evangelical Church then we would be very happy to see you.

Invitation