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March 19, 2019:
The heavy rains that have hit Malawi over the past weeks including Cyclone Idai have largely affected the southern part of Malawi. About two weeks ago a storm system which later became the cyclone caused three days of heavy rains in Malawi. Those rains caused widespread flooding mainly in the Southern Region which has the bulk of our LCCA congregations. Hundreds of thousands have been affected, many have lost their homes and their maize crops. Emergency aid organizations were mobilized to rescue survivors and provide shelter, food and water. Last week the WELS Committee for Aid and Relief provided food and supplies to LCCA members in the affected area. Kingdom Workers Facebook page have a good summary of relief efforts.

When Cyclone Idai returned the outer bands of rain and winds affected the the lower Shire valley of Malawi but did not cause significantly more damage. However there is still heavy rain which if it continues, will cause more flooding.
Hardest hit were the Mozambique coastal city of Beira, with destruction extending into Zimbabwe.

Here in the Lilongwe, about 2 weeks ago we had 3 days of heavy rain . For the Lutheran Mobile Clinic, we have not missed any days of clinic, but there were some adventures when our vehicle slid off the dirt roads and got stuck in heavy wet mud. In Malawi there are always people willing to help out and we were able to get moving again in about an hour. There was a power cut for two to three days because debris from the rains blocked the intakes to the Hydro-Electric power stations. Otherwise we have been largely unaffected. 

Please pray for the people of Southern Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. These people have little and their countries do not have the resources for a quick recovery from this devastation. Many crops have been lost and hunger is a real possibility.

Gary


March 19, 2019:

 We have been able to get to all of our clinics, but got stuck twice on the way home due to rain and mud. There is no actual flooding in the Lilongwe area. The photos I posted were the result of sudden, hard rainstorms. It’s incredible how fast the water accumulates. I worry that the 3 day rains of two weeks ago, causing standing water here is now resulting in more mosquitos to transmit malaria.
The photos I posted were mainly from Thunga last Friday. I’ll attach some here. The tropical cyclone off Mozambique 5 days ago caused terrible flooding, wind damage and loss of life in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It slightly hit the very south of Malawi but I haven’t heard of more flooding or loss of life like happened the week before. A big problem in the south(lower Shire area) is that maize crops were destroyed less than a month before the harvest. That means some families’ food supply for the next year is gone. Meanwhile, the price of maize which people can buy is going way up. So, there will be hunger this year. As far as other effects on us, we were without power for 3 days straight due to debris that had clogged the hydroelectric water intakes on the river. We still lose power every 2-3 days so the generator and solar batteries are really helpful! 

Thanks for asking! 
Beth



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Friends of Africa, Friends of Christ

Read the most recent post from the WELS Friends of Africa blog

God’s Eternal Dwelling Place
Mar 27, 2019 05:59 am | welsfriendsofafrica.com

Come along with me…

I’m weaving through villages and fields, traipsing down narrow foot paths and trudging through muck.  I’m jumping over mud puddles and broken bricks.  I’m skirting around fallen walls, bent roofing sheets and twisted trusses.  I’m stepping over soggy blankets and dirty clothes.   

Malawi 2015 revisited.  What happened?  A deluge of rain. 
Rivers overflowed, 
  Maize fields flattened,
    Bridges demolished,
      Roads cratered. 

Different year, 
Different people, 
Different location, 
Same result:  Devastation.

Rains are a double-edged sword.  Just enough and wells fill, fields drink, crops grow and the land produces. Too much and houses collapse leaving them useless; pit latrines overflow rendering them a danger.

It all happened in Malawi. 

Again.

People are reminiscing that this same thing happened just four years ago.

The Malawi 2018/2019 wet season had a great start.  A great balance of rain and sunshine.  Crops were looking good.  Tobacco. Maize. Groundnuts.  Farmers were ecstatic!  

It’s going to be a bountiful harvest! We can sell our cash crops…our granaries will be full…we will harvest plenty to eat good…our bellies satisfied…no hunger this year!

Then came the 6th of March 2019.  Ash Wednesday arrived.  So did another rain.   Well, not just another rain, but a downpour.  The heavens opened.  Water fell by the bucket.  Cats and Dogs.  Didn’t let up for 3 solid days.  This time the land and the areas most affected are quite flat so the water didn’t have a natural run off. When rains fall that rapidly and that powerfully, mud houses just don’t stand a chance against such force and pressure of water.

The torrent was enough to bring down the roof.

It did.

Many houses were destroyed.  Families are displaced.  Women and children are sleeping in church buildings.  Husbands and fathers are staying in any manageable place that they can find in what is left of their houses.  A makeshift shelter.  A tiny covered corner of a room.  Some are sleeping under the stars.  All who are affected are trying to pick up the proverbial pieces.  And lurking right around the corner?

Disease. It’s what happens when outhouses collapse and the holes brim over. It’s a stream you don’t want to be near. But there is a stream you do.  A river actually.  A river of living water. 

“Though the earth give way…though its waters roar and foam…there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”1

The one who wrote those words also wrote these:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”2 

To the people who are sitting in the rubble, asking themselves questions and trying to make sense of it all, the pastors in the Lutheran Church have been able to bring this kind of message:  God indeed is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Though many people have many questions, there’s another question that rises above all the others. It stands tall and strong like a beacon in the storm:  

Who or what can separate us from the love of Christ?3 We know what is written in Romans 8:35. A bunch more questions that answer that first one. (If you’re not sure, check it out). But what about the questions on the minds of the homeless people in Malawi who are wondering how they are going to start over and rebuild?

What can separate them from God’s love? 
Rains? 
Floods? 
Unusable toilets? 
Obliterated fields? 
Collapsed houses? 
Lost property?

Can these things remove God from their world of broken walls and caved-in roofs?

NO.4

Paul, what do you mean, NO?  Tell us more!

“NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  None of these things shall separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”5

Ah, yes.  Good words, Paul.  The people need to hear those words.  So do I…when things in my own life collapse!  You, too?

For three days we surveyed the destruction and assessed the damage.  So much rain…so much ruin.  With such incalculable devastation I could only imagine incredible loss. 

What I didn’t imagine – or even think about – was the incredible gain. 

Incredible gain? 

As the people shared their stories, I noticed that they had gained something: a new appreciation for the goodness of the Lord.  A renewed indebtedness to the grace of God.  Gratitude for something bigger than earthly comfort. 

Heavenly blessings!

When we arrived, they not only spoke of the rains that came down from heaven but of the promises of God that do, too! 

They shared with us how God spared them, protected them and saved them.  We paused here for a prayer.  Sat there for a devotion.  Spent time with the families in meditation and thankfulness. We were invited to so many places we didn’t have time for everyone.

We brought our phone cameras but took more than pictures and videos.

We took heart! (The people encouraged us!)

We took assurance! (The presence of problems doesn’t mean the absence of God!)

We took with us a renewed sense of joy!  (Our Lutheran members know the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus despite the trials that come)

After seeing one collapsed house after another, what falls like rain upon my heart are the words of Moses:

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations…from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”6

Like Paul said, “…we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands…”7

His is a house that will never fall.  The roof won’t leak and the walls won’t collapse.  The foundation is strong and the rooms are safe.

Meanwhile, here on earth, whether in Malawi or the USA or somewhere in-between, we groan and are burdened.  All creation, too.  Apparently, that includes the rains.  And the mud from which many houses are built.

But we look forward to a time when all those in Christ Jesus we will be safe and secure in…

God’s Eternal Dwelling Place.

Your Malawi Mission Partner, 
Missionary John Holtz

  1. Psalm 46:2-4.
  2. Psalm 46:1.
  3. Romans 8:35.
  4. Romans 8:37a
  5. Romans 8:37-39
  6. Psalm 90:1,2
  7. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Dear Mission Partners,

Maybe you know and maybe you don’t, but our beloved WELS is showing faith in action by getting involved with both prayer support and financial aid. 

The Lutheran Church of Central Africa – Malawi Synod, the WELS Board for World Missions, and WELS Christian Aid and Relief have been working hard at evaluating the immediate needs of those in our Lutheran congregations who are greatly affected by the floods, especially in the southern region of Malawi.  (It was the southern region that was affected in 2015, too).  Through funds made available through CAR, the LCCA members affected by the floods will receive some much-needed practical items.  Things like buckets for clean water, blankets for warmth, and plastic sheeting for temporary roofing can meet immediate needs.  A  church building that has collapsed can be rebuilt.

Your Africa Missions team would like to encourage anyone whose heart is moved to give a gift to help people in need (due to flooding or other disaster) to please donate to WELS Christian Aid & Relief.  Please follow the link below:
https://community.wels.net/page.aspx?pid=394

The post God’s Eternal Dwelling Place appeared first on WELS Friends of Africa.


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