Mission Moments: Malawi

Mission Moments: Malawi
Gary Fallesen

Mission Moments: Malawi

Tropical Cyclone Freddy’s updates

By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ  Photos and reporting by Damson Samson and Duncan Nyozani

Wednesday, May 17

UPDATE: Welcome home

Estery Matemba never believed she would have a house to live in after Tropical Cyclone Freddy destroyed her old house. “Now my joy has come back,” Estery said. “Thank you for supporting me. It is a blessing to me and my grandchildren.”

A beaming Estery, above, inside her new home. Below, Elube Khoriyo celebrates her homecoming.

Elube Khoriyo thanked God and appreciated the help provided through Climbing For Christ because after Freddy she had nowhere to stay. Damson said she repeated herself over and over because she was “overwhelmed by the support.”

Ebe Malata with her grandchildren.

Similarly, Ebe Malata had no roof over her head, “but God only has answered my prayers. God has done it for me.”

These three widows were the latest to receive homes from Climbing For Christ. Seven new homes (five for widows and two for Mulanje Massif Chapter members) have been finished since our rebuilding effort began, and three more (for widows) are under construction.

Monday, May 8

UPDATE: A man’s home is his castle

Samson Khalani in front of his new home in Fort Lister, Malawi, one of the gateway villages to Mulanje Massif, behind his house. (Photos by Damson Samson)

Mountain guide Samson Khalani stood in the doorway to his new home with a smile on his face. The normally stoic Samson could not hide his feelings of joy.

“I am overwhelmed by this blessing,” said Samson, one of the leaders of our Mulanje Massif Chapter in Malawi, whose home was destroyed in March by Tropical Cyclone Freddy. “Life has just changed for me for the better.”

We praise God for His provision to, first, help those devastated by Freddy in an area where for one month Climbing For Christ was the only source of relief, and now to assist in the rebuilding efforts. C4C has sent more than $57,000 USD in aid to Kingdom worker Damson Samson and ministry partner Duncan Nyozani. This includes more than $9,000 – and another $5,000 from our home church – for the rebuilding of houses. Three have been completed and six more are under construction. Many, many more are needed.

The cost for each home is only $1,500. But that’s 2 ½ years of income, on average, in Malawi.

For Samson Khalani, this new home is like a palace.

“Others will see this house as small, but to him it is big,” Damson said. “He said it is far better than having nowhere to lay your head. A blessing is never small; it remains a blessing. A gift is never small; it remains a gift.”

Hence, there is joy both in the giving on our part and the receiving for those who had little and were left with almost nothing after the tropical cyclone and flooding.

Widow Anere Makungwa praises God for her new home.

When Damson presented the widow Anere Makungwa with her new house, he said, “she danced all over the home. Never did she believe such a thing could happen. But with God it can!”

Estery Matemba, another widow for whom we are building a new house, told Damson about the storm she and others faced. She lives in an area Damson initially reached by boat because everything there was under water.

Estery Matemba standing in front of what remained of her old house, which was under water during flooding. Below, the scars of flooding that washed away a health center and killed several pregnant women. A newborn baby survived when its mother was killed.

Estery woke up the night of the storm to find water inside her house. She tried to go outside only to find the house surrounded by water. “What she was wearing she went out with trying to run for her life,” Damson said. “She asked her brother to go back to take some blankets and other things. It never happened. The structure was completely swallowed in water.

“Dead bodies were floating in this place. Since she was born, at the age of 68, she has never seen such a thing happen.”

When told she would receive a house, Estery did not believe Damson. She thought it was some kind of joke – a sick joke.

“People are in great shock,” Damson said. “Surviving was just by God’s hand. They still need more support.”

Many live in the skeletal remains of damaged houses under plastic sheets provided by C4C as a means of shelter. They’ve also received from us sleeping mats, blankets, clothing, and food.

But when a new house goes up – made possible by the Lord through the generosity of His people – the joy is unspeakable.

Thursday, April 20

UPDATE: Dream homes

Samson Khalani surveying where his new house is being built. (Photos by Damson Samson)

Shelters were closing and guide Samson Khalani had nowhere to go. His house in Fort Lister, one of the gateway villages to Malawi’s Mulanje Massif, had been destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Freddy. “He asked about the possibility to stay at another broken home just for shelter,” Kingdom worker Damson Samson said.

Damson had good news for him. “I went to Samson telling him you have offered him a house. He was very happy.”

Houses are being rebuilt in the aftermath of Freddy. God has provided Climbing For Christ with $14,000 to help the homeless in southern Malawi. That will build nine or 10 houses.

Damson surveyed villages and we identified the first six recipients – three members of our Mulanje Massif Chapter and three widows. The next three or four will also be built for widows.

A house being built for a widow, above. Below, Anere Makungwa praises God for the construction of her new home.

Anere Makungwa, a widow, was “over the moon smiling, thanking God for the gift,” Damson said. “It was a good time to see smiling faces. They did not believe these things are happening for them. But now they are able to see God do amazing things.”

CLICK HERE to read more about the Tropical Cyclone Freddy aftermath in southern Malawi. To contribute to Climbing For Christ’s recovery and rebuilding efforts, send a check to Climbing For Christ, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616. Or CLICK HERE to give online through PayPal. In Canada, make cheques payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, P.O. Box 14006, Abbotsford, BC V2T 0B4. Or CLICK HERE to give online.


Wednesday, April 12

UPDATE: ‘No longer you but Him’

Mr. Chief Mugonya last week outside what remains of his house.

When Chief Mugonya was awakened by the storm raging outside, he found his roof on his bed. The walls of his house had fallen in around him.

“People came in to rescue me while I was on my bed,” he said. “I told them not to touch (what remained) of the walls because they were about to fall. Until morning I tried to get out. These walls could have fallen and I could have died by now, but God really protected me.”

Chief, a name not a title, is a pastor and a widower who lives by himself in Manasi village. He is 75 years old.

Kingdom worker Damson Samson met him recently when he was surveying damaged houses for the next phase of our Tropical Cyclone Freddy work: recovery. “A volunteer told me about this man. That he came to ask the possibility of extending thanks for the flour, blankets, plastic sheets, and torch (light) we had given him.” Chief was one of hundreds who received relief assistance from Climbing For Christ in the aftermath of Freddy.

“He explained that he’s been holding on to Jesus since 1964,” Damson said. “He has been serving the Lord as a pastor. He advised me that when you are working for Him, He leads you and you are no longer you but Him.”

We know what Jesus would do, so we make every effort to be like Him.

When Chief’s 94-year-old mother died, she was buried in the blanket Climbing For Christ had given her. He appreciates how God has used Climbing For Christ to serve those in need.

The roof that came down on Chief Mugonya during Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Chief is one of the many in need of a place to live. He escaped his collapsing house with only a foot injury. But he has little else, and certainly no income.

In the Majority World, especially in the poorest countries in the Majority World (of which Malawi is one), there are no Social Security checks or retirement funds to draw from. These are a people who need the help of others – those who have been blessed to live in places with greater means for prosperity and wealth.

As Damson makes his way from village to village to survey who Climbing For Christ can help first, we pray for provision. Each house will cost at least $1,500 USD. We currently have enough funding left from Freddy Relief to build five or six houses. That’s a fraction of the need.

Damson, above, with widow Agnes Muwake after telling her C4C will help rebuild the damaged house behind them. Below, Anere Makungwa “could not stop her joy” after Damson told her “God will make a way to see you through.”

The Bible tells us over and over that we are to help the widows. “Take care of any widow who has no one to care for her” (or him), the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 5:3. Widows – like orphans, aliens, and the poor – are vulnerable; the least of the least of these. The prophet tells us, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17). So, here we are, seeking to put roofs over the heads of people whose lives lie in ruin.

The words of Chief Mugonya echo and inspire: “You are no longer you but Him.”

Friday, April 7

UPDATE: Shock and awww

“This mother (photo above) was in great shock not understanding things that are happening to her,” Kingdom worker Damson Samson said when he delivered Tropical Cyclone Freddy aid to widows last week. “Finding someone to love them, mostly it’s not something happening frequently. Some feel like crying (when they receive assistance).”

Damson delivered – among other things – plastic sheets to provide temporary shelter as many lost parts or all of their houses.

“One widow came to me and asked me to extend her thanks because now she is going to cover herself when sleeping,” Damson said. “Many of these (people) are sleeping in camps and some places are very cold. Having lost everything, including blankets, this has left many in hard situations where they were sleeping without blankets.

“This (photo below) is one of those who stopped me to share her expression of thanks on this support.”

More than $50,000 in Tropical Cyclone Freddy relief has been distributed by Climbing For Christ through Damson and ministry partner Duncan Nyozani. C4C is now raising support to rebuild homes destroyed by last month’s storm.

Tuesday, April 4

UPDATE: Last of supplies sent to Mozambique

Taking home supplies.

Ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani provided food for another 100 families and sent aid across the border to a sister church led by Pastor Felix Namame in Milatu, Mozambique. “All the cyclone victims are camping at the church at Milatu,” Duncan explained. “Pastor Namame and other church members came to collect the goods. This is the last supply (from $44,000 USD in funding sent to Duncan and Kingdom worker Damson Samson).”

Climbing For Christ is now turning its sights on rebuilding homes destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Sunday, April 2

UPDATE: ‘The love of God has been demonstrated’

Sleeping mats and other provisions for hundreds of widows.

Kingdom worker Damson Samson delivered food, sleeping mats, blankets, and plastic sheets “to these widows so they can try somewhere to hide as we are waiting for help from above.” He shared with them about God’s mercy on Israel from Romans 11:1-2. “Has God rejected His own people? Of course not!

“I told them we are only living by grace and this is the same grace which has brought us this kind of support,” Damson said.

God has provided. “The love of God has been demonstrated,” Damson said. “Zikomo” (“thanks” in Chichewa) was the common word from everyone.

Mats to sleep on and food to fill stomachs for hundreds of families.

Ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani distributed sleeping mats, food, and more to about 450 families victimized by Tropical Cyclone Freddy today. “Only 20 families were from our churches,” he said. “The rest are families from different villages who are from different churches.” Churches unable to provide assistance as Climbing For Christ remains the only ministry God has enabled to aid people in this part of southern Malawi.

To God be the glory!

Thursday, March 30

UPDATE: Hundreds of widows blessed

Another truckload of food, above, is delivered to widows in nine villages, like those from Namata, below.

Before the physical food was delivered, Kingdom worker Damson Samson served up spiritual food. He shared the story of Nehemiah receiving word that Jerusalem’s wall needed to be rebuilt.

“On this, we shared that God has trusted us with this call to rebuild the broken-hearted,” Damson said. He added, “The people were very happy to receive this very great blessing.”

In the morning, they delivered aid to widows from five villages who gathered together at Msema center. In the afternoon, they met with widows from four other villages in Kambona.

In all, a total of 451 widows were blessed this day.

One widow, above, “could not stop pointing to heaven to tell us that this is God’s miracle,” Damson said. Below, another widow, surrounded by grandchildren that she cares for, rejoices in receiving a warm blanket.

“It has been a blessing to our widows,” Damson said, “and it has given them a reason to live and be happy. This is because of the support given through Climbing For Christ.”

Tuesday, March 28

UPDATE: Smiles of gratitude, dances of joy

Food, above, and sleeping mats and plastic sheets, below, were distributed by Damson to 177 people.

Songs of joy were sung by the 177 people who received aid from Damson Samson near the flooded area today. “Many widows were shocked and not believing,” he said. “Their smiles were indicating how grateful they are.”

Maize flour, cooking oil, soya pieces, and salt went to this large group. “Then we considered those who had lost their homes – 77 widows – and we gave them mats, blankets, torches, and plastic sheets in addition to the maize flour and items given to everyone.”

Duncan, above center, hands out a blanket in Singano. Below, some of the 450 families that received plastic sheets to protect themselves from the elements at their campsites.

Meanwhile, Pastor Duncan Nyozani returned to the makeshift shelters at the Singano Clinic and the Msema school to distribute plastic sheets and blankets for about 500 families.

“What a miracle to those cyclone victims,” he said. “Some danced because they have never bought a blanket in their life. Some said it is their first time to have a new blanket.

“They continue to send their gratitude to C4C supporters for these donations. The village headmen from Msema and Singango are very thankful for what C4C is doing in their communities.”

Saturday, March 25

UPDATE: A mountain of thanks

Guides and porters from our Mulanje Massif Chapter receiving food in Likhubula, one of the main trailheads to the mountain. Maize flour also was distributed to those living in other trailhead villages of Fort Lister, Thuchila, and Mnesa.

The pleas have come to us directly and through our co-laborers in Malawi. Food problems. Houses collapsed. The guides and porters of our Mulanje Massif Chapter are facing the same dire situations as everyone else in southern Malawi.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy did not discriminate.

“Whenever there is no food in the family, there can be nothing to be enjoyed. Everybody should be sad,” guide Wells Mission said on Saturday when Kingdom worker Damson Samson distributed food among 88 chapter members. “We’ll be feeding our families, and everybody will be happy with this.”

Praise God for His provision.

Each of the 88 guides and porters received a 25-kilogram (55-pound) bag of maize flour – the staple of diets in Malawi.

“Thank you very much,” said John Mollen, another guide and one of the Mulanje chapter leaders. “These people are suffering because of the (lack of) food. We want to thank you because you send us flour.”

Chapter member Benjamin Makuluni expresses his gratitude for a 55-pound bag of maize flour to feed his family. We give thanks to those supporters God stirred to assist in our Malawi relief effort.

“It was a great day for these brothers (and sisters),” Damson said. “They have seen the love of God through this support given to them.”

Yes, God is good – all the time.

While Damson was visiting our suffering Mulanje Massif Chapter members, ministry partner Duncan Nyozani was handing out maize flour, cooking oil, soya pieces, and salt to 400 families.

Receiving food at the Singano Clinic, built in 2015-2016 with funding from Climbing For Christ, where many left homeless by Cyclone Freddy are now camping out.

“The beneficiaries are very much excited to receive these gifts,” Pastor Duncan said. “Some shed tears of joy when they received the food.

“These are families from Msema, Ngoma, Filisa, Singano, Mukawa, and Namachete villages. All of them are cyclone victims camping at Msema (primary school) and Singano (clinic).”

Duncan said these families were “sending a million thanks” to Climbing For Christ and our wonderful supporters. We praise God for using us to help people who have received no assistance from Malawi’s government or any other relief organizationsx

Thursday, March 23

UPDATE: Jesus came to ‘resurrect the dead’

Food distributed to Sumayiri village by the truck load.

 

Kingdom worker Damson Samson took a truck full of maize to the other side of the river, which would be difficult for the people to cross – especially the widows he came to serve. Before distributing food, they spoke about the Bread of Life.

He shared about the raising of Lazarus. “‘Many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss,’” he read from John 11:19. “Jesus didn’t come to comfort. He came to resurrect the dead.

“He is the only one to hope for. He remains the only friend to come close to you.”

Jesus, the One who saves, came to rescue those in need in Malawi. He provided through Climbing For Christ so the hungry may eat.

“Many of these widows came to get food support and their joy was restored,” Damson said. “They thanked God for the support of Climbing For Christ.

Aides Mpachika.

“As I arrived a widow named Aides Mpachika came to greet me. She told me that she was not much worried about the floods, but rather she was worried about what had happened to Duncan. She brought me a sugar cane. She told me that ‘even as we are widows, we have to give.’”

This is the lesson Damson has taught the widows through the years – to care for others even as they have little for themselves. To give is better than to receive (Acts 20:35).

“I was moved by her action and the word of encouragement from her,” Damson said.

Thursday, March 23

Update: Asking for loaves-and-fish miracles

We wired $44,000 USD to Kingdom worker Damson Samson and ministry partner Duncan Nyozani yesterday. Our two Malawi co-laborers should receive the funding today and continue to serve those most in need in the aftermath of devastating Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Damson already has visited remote villages left under water by five days of torrential rains and flooding last week. He returned from more than two weeks with us on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2023 with $4,200 to buy food for hungry widows.

Bags of maize being delivered to widows.

Our prayer is for wisdom and discernment in the use of this funding as the needs are so great all around our brothers in Christ. We ask our Provider for a loaves-and-fish miracle to see what is being delivered grow to help more of those in need than we could have imagined.

Wednesday, March 22

UPDATE: A house destroyed

Florence Kanyenda, a Malawi widow, was photographed by Damson Samson in October 2020 during a COVID-19 food distribution. She made the cover of our magazine, The Climbing Way (Volume 51, December 2020). Below, Florence was photographed again this week in front of her house, which like so many others in southern Malawi, was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

The very same woman whose face adorned the cover of Climbing For Christ’s quarterly magazine 2 ¼ years ago was found again as Damson Samson delivered Tropical Cyclone Freddy aid and his co-workers visited villages to survey the damage done to widows’ homes. Florence Kanyenda’s house was one of 27 in Chabe village that needs to be rebuilt in Freddy’s aftermath.

As Damson ticked off the villages and the number of houses destroyed or badly damaged, he sighed, “We are still going around to different villages we are working in, but we might need 80 to 150 homes to calm the situation to our most vulnerable widows. Some are refusing to go anywhere. They are saying, ‘I prefer to die than live in these pains.’”

We are estimating that each house will cost at least $1,500 USD to build. If you do the math, you will reach the same conclusion I confess reaching: “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).

So far, Climbing For Christ has raised nearly $44,000 USD for Malawi relief. Kingdom worker Damson and ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani are working closely with me on a plan to deliver aid – starting with food, sleeping mats, blankets, and clothing – to those most in need. Damson already has gone by boat to reach remote villages still underwater from last week’s epic rains.

Duncan declared this “the very worst cyclone in the history of Malawi. Dead bodies are discovered every day and many people are missing.”

We will serve these people to the best of our ability with God’s provision and with the everlasting hope found only in the love of Jesus.

Monday, March 20

UPDATE: Slow boat to remote Malawi

The Venice of Malawi.

Where once there was a road into a village now it is “just a sea of waters,” Damson Samson said. He traveled by boat into the remote Likachale village. In a video, we watch as they pass the village market. “Water covered them all to the top,” Damson reported about the buildings there. “Now the water level is coming down and shop owners are coming back (by boat) to see if they can rescue anything from the shops and homes.”

Damson went to Likachale, one of the areas hit hardest by Tropical Cyclone Freddy, to deliver food and sleeping mats to 42 of the widows in his ministry program. Unfortunately, there were 1,270 people staying at the village’s school turned shelter.

“Before we started sharing the food, I thought I could encourage them from the Bible about the end times,” Damson said. “I told them this is a call for us to know we are on the end times. I shared with them about what is happening in Turkey. I was trying to show them it is nearer than what we thought it should be.”

People get ready. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree,” Damson said, reading from Matthew 24:32. “When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.”

With that, he distributed maize flour, cooking oil, soya pieces, salt, and soap and lotion to the widows. He also handed out new sleeping mats as the poor people in Malawi sleep on the ground on bare dirt.

 

Distributing food and sleeping mats to the most vulnerable.

“The remaining food items were taken to the chairperson of this camp so it can be given to the rest as we only could consider our members,” Damson explained. “The need is too great.”

Sunday, March 19

UPDATE: Lunch is served at Singano Clinic

Feeding hungry people at Singano Clinic.

Pastor Duncan felt compelled by the Spirit to feed the people of Msema village, where one of his two churches is located, as well as those in Singano village who lost everything this past week. “I had to bless all the cyclone victims at Msema and Singano camps with lunch today,” he said. “They will taste nsima today.”

Nsima is the staple food of Malawians. It is a simple dish made from maize flour mixed with hot water and kneaded until thick.

“They have now stayed a week without food, no proper beddings, no mosquito nets, etcetera,” Duncan said. “They are in a very serious situation. There is also a blackout since the cyclone happened.

“Two bridges are washed away from our area. Because of this the government or NGOs will be unable to help these victims.”

Singano Bridge was destroyed by raging floodwaters.

The bridge to Singano is gone. Singano is the location of a clinic Climbing For Christ helped Duncan build after a church from Fargo, ND, USA reneged on its promise to assist. We have conducted medical clinics there during Mission: Malawi 2017 and 2020. The Singano Clinic has become a home to scores of people who lost their homes in the cyclone.

“This is the very worst cyclone in the history of Malawi,” Duncan said. “Dead bodies are discovered every day and many people are missing.”

Sunday, March 19

UPDATE: In their words

For survivors in Malawi life is ‘tough,’ ‘very hard,’ ‘miserable’

“I am Rhoda Majamanda and this is Likachale. This village you can see has been washed away by the waters. The whole village has been wiped out. There is nothing. Our utensils, blankets, whatever we could use at home has went away with the water. It’s just us and the children. We are camping in the school on the hill. Things are not going well. There is no food up there. We are praying God would provide for us.”

“My name is Mery Mussa. My house has fallen down as you can see behind me. Whatever was here the water has taken away. The food we had has gone by the water. There is nothing (that) remains. Life is tough here.”

“I am Shadrick. I have a testimony to share. To survive and come up here in this day was only by the hand of God. I thank God that He saved my life. I managed to go through all the waters until I got to the highlands where I am now. Yes, life is miserable now. A lot of things are gone, but I thank God we are alive.”

“My name is Evance. Yes, we have a problem of water here. We have been much affected. When the waters came up, we had to run (to higher ground). We’re praying for well-wishers to come in and support us. Life is very hard.”

“My name is Linily Maotcha. This is the remaining of my house. I am very sad with the situation. But I see God here. God protected me when the water came in at 4 in the morning when everyone is asleep. I don’t know how I survived. The water was up to my neck. Some boys grabbed me by the hand and pulled me up. But everything is gone. Even my blanket is gone. Even my clothing is gone. All the food is gone. But I thank God I am alive.”

“My name is Mery Magololo. We have just run to this place. We are eating nothing here. As I’m talking my house is no more. Where my house was now a boat is there. We are dying of hunger here.”

A man sits on what remains of his house in what remains of his village.

Food was in short supply before Tropical Cyclone Freddy came on the scene to bring more misery to the hard lives lived out in southern Malawi. Now maize flour – the staple of a Malawian’s diet – cannot be found. It is a treasure hunt.

Kingdom worker Damson Samson, who returned from Tanzania and our Mission: Kilimanjaro 2023 last Sunday to a debilitating tropical storm, visited Namata village to check on the people there on Friday. “I didn’t have more strength to go ahead visiting when I knew there was a need to answer,” Damson said yesterday.

That need: hunger.

Some have gone days without eating. Houses and possessions were lost in five days of torrential rain that led to flooding and mudslides. Crops planted last month also have been washed away, which means even more hunger – perhaps famine – in the months ahead.

The sun shines now, but the water has not receded; it continues to flow. Whole villages are gone.

Damson searched for food. When he found some, he also found a limit on how much he could buy. “I was told that they have to consider everyone so they may go home with something,” he said, explaining how he could only purchase five bags of maize. He called upon friends to buy more for him – using Climbing For Christ support – so he would have food to deliver. It was a start.

Maize and mats.

He has listed the needs: clothing, blankets, mats to sleep on, kitchen items to cook with, food to be cooked, soap, lotion. Eventually houses will need to be rebuilt as well. There is so much need. We pray for help from the One who provides all things.

Reportedly, at least 326 have died. That number is undoubtedly low. There has been no sign of government help – or assistance of any kind outside of what Damson has been able to do so far – in the Phalombe District where Damson and ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani live. We are the ones blessed to serve the least of the least of these.

Yesterday, Damson recorded a dozen testimonies and sent them to us with audio translations. Their words. That is what you have been reading in this E-Update (with a screenshot from the videos). Some are heartbreaking. Others uplifting. All are raw and honest.

“My name is Suzana Masamba. The water came in abruptly. It surprised us. We could not take anything at all. We ran away for our lives. Everything has been washed away. Everything is gone.” 


Helping hands

The needs are greater than Climbing For Christ can bear. We ask you to pray. If you can give to help provide relief, we will deliver funds to Damson and Duncan to do whatever can be done. As always, 100 percent of what we receive goes to those in need.

You can send a gift to Climbing For Christ c/o Malawi Relief at P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE to give online via PayPal. In Canada, make cheques payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, P.O. Box 14006, Abbotsford, BC V2T 0B4. Or CLICK HERE to give online.


Friday, March 17

UPDATE: Lives of cyclone survivors are at risk

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“Although the cyclone stopped Wednesday,” Pastor Duncan said, “houses are still collapsing every day due to the wetness of the walls.”

People who fled their collapsed houses are camped out at the Australian Primary School that Duncan had built by foreigners in Msema as well as the Mothers & Babies Clinic that Climbing For Christ helped build in Singano village. In Kambona, people have sheltered at Nasiyaya Primary School. “All of them have stayed five days without food,” Duncan said.

“There is no help from the government or NGOs. Their lives are at risk because there is a cholera outbreak in Malawi that will be worsened by this cyclone. May the Lord have mercy. These people need very urgent provisions. Please pray for them.”

Friday, March 17

UPDATE: Answering prayers heard and not heard

God knows her name: A widow Kingdom worker Damson did not know has a damaged house but at least she has food to eat.

Damson Samson was answering appeals from his family as he delivered food by bike. Forget DoorDash; this was a real-life slog.

“I only bought 18 bags (of maize) weighing 10 kilograms each (or nearly 400 pounds of food),” he explained, “after my mother called and told me that they cannot mill the little they have and they are eating pumpkins. My sister Fany told me she and her children were eating green maize for three days, which resulted in stomach problems for the whole family. My brother confessed to spending two days without food.”

After hearing these pleas “I couldn’t sleep,” he said. He was determined to get them food. But on his way, he could not pass by a widow “even though I did not know her name.” He felt that familiar Holy Spirit nudge and he knew he must do something. He responded.

Damson stopped and gave her food – 10 of the 18 kilograms he had bought.

“The remaining items I have given to my relatives to answer their prayer,” he said, adding he also shared some with Duncan’s father and brothers.

Today, after five days of unrelenting rain, the sun came out. Many have drowned. Many are missing. Many has lost everything, including houses and crops.

Water flooding down from the mountains.

“Could these impossibilities have taken place?” Damson keeps asking. “Even a small river could cost lives. This man I was with in the taxi told us that he was going home because they have lost three family members. A woman, son, and daughter. They all were nowhere to be seen. I was devastated hearing all these happenings.

“Yes, mountains could not hold more water. But to bust and release (flood) those down on the ground. Nobody could rescue them.” 


Wednesday, March 15

ALERT: Tropical Cyclone Freddy’s devastating aftermath

When Damson Samson woke up this morning he felt as if he was still “in a dream-like situation.” Nightmare is more like it.

“What I have seen is another drama in my lifetime,” our Malawi-based Kingdom worker said.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy devastated an already reeling – constantly hurting – southern Malawi, where Damson and ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani live. This is one of the poorest parts of one of the world’s poorest nations. Hunger is an almost constant companion.

Just as we were helping hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ deal with food shortages, Pastor Duncan’s property was ravaged by a violent mob. Before that could be fully addressed, Tropical Cyclone Freddy bore down on the region.

“I am at Kambona right now but the situation is very worse,” Duncan said this morning. “Eighty percent of our church members have lost their homes and crops. Thousands of villagers are camped out at Nasiyaya Primary School.

“Msema victims are camping at Australian Primary School. It is also raining today so I could not reach Msema due to rains and damaged roads.”

Duncan said there have been no deaths in his villages, but some have been injured and many homes and crops destroyed. Here, a field planted with maize is under water. This will, of course, lead to even more hunger and suffering.

Duncan said most of his relatives have been left homeless by five days of rains and resulting floods. On consecutive days, Duncan sent video to me through WhatsApp showing dead children being pulled from the mud and debris left by floods.

“Sorry for that video,” he said. “I know it is not good to send you such video, but I just want you to know exactly what is happening here.”

Likewise, Damson continues to send photos and updates on the horrific situation, which he called “unbearable. Hundreds have died. Villages have been washed out.”

A widow left alone in a house wrecked by Freddy.

Every individual story is heartbreaking. A widow in a home left in ruins by the rains. People observed running for their lives and upon inspection a woman found lying on the floor with no one to help.

“In Manasi village (alone) over 120 homes are down,” Damson said. “Many widows are camping in schools, running away from the disaster.”

In addition to the countless number of homeless, many more people are missing.

Mr. Mugonya.

Then there are others whose lifetimes have known one despair after another. Damson found Mr. Mugonya sitting in what remained of his house. He refused to leave. He told Damson he has nowhere to go.

We have been blessed to minister among these people since 2010. Only God knows how many have been led to the Lord during our service there. Hundreds of widows have learned about the true love of Jesus, and more people than we can count have had physical needs served. But this event seems larger than anything we have encountered before. We cling to the Biblical truth that “humanly speaking, it is impossible” to solve this calamity. “But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). Pray on! 

Helping hands

The needs are greater than Climbing For Christ can bear. We ask you to pray. If you can give to help provide relief we will deliver funds to Damson and Duncan to do whatever can be done. As always, 100 percent of what we receive goes to those in need.

You can send a gift to Climbing For Christ c/o Malawi Relief at P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE to give online via PayPal. In Canada, make cheques payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, P.O. Box 14006, Abbotsford, BC V2T 0B4. Or CLICK HERE to give online.


The final Word

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NLT)


Sunday, March 12

PRAYER ALERT: Refuge from the rain

 

A photo posted on social media by the Malawi Voice of Cyclone Freddy damage already in a neighborhood in Blantrye.

When it rains, it pours in Malawi. Literally.

As if the struggles with food shortages and hunger were not enough, the enemy took his best shot at ministry partner Pastor Duncan Nyozani recently. His proprety was attacked and looted by a violent mob of hundreds.

But Climbing For Christ and others have answered these difficulties in prayer and giving. We continue to encourage our brothers and sisters in southern Malawi to trust in the Lord. “My victory and honor come from God alone,” the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 62:7. “He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.”

Now, Tropical Cyclone Freddy appears to be bearing down on southern Malawi.

Kingdom worker Damson Samson returned home this morning from Mission: Kilimanjaro and reported “it has been raining since yesterday. One big plane could not land at (Blantyre) airport. They had to go to land in Lilongwe (in the north) because of the heavy rain.”

Pastor Duncan also emailed a press release from Malawi’s Ministry of Education. Classes have been suspended Monday and Tuesday for schools in the southern region. Tropical Cyclone Freddy is forecast to “intensify, with the cyclone expecting to hit the region this evening or tomorrow.”

“It has been raining here since yesterday,” Duncan said. “Heavy winds, but minor damages to the crops (that were recently planted).”

Please pray that the rains will not damage crops or property. Last March 12, Cyclone Gombe struck Malawi causing widespread flooding in low-lying areas and ruining crops and houses. Climbing For Christ responded with the building of 24 homes and the delivery of thousands of pounds of maize.

We lift our brothers and sisters in Malawi as they endure the next challenge coming their way. May they find their refuge on the Rock where no enemy can reach them. 

The final Word

“The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” – Nahum 1:7 (NLT)


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