Nick-named the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ Malawi is a landlocked country in Southeast Africa with the magnificent Lake Malawi! Ntchisi district is one among 28 districts and is located in the Central region of Malawi. PA works with a group of pastor leaders who are organized into a Community Integrated Financial Association (C.I.F.A.) equipping them to implement holistic programs for community transformation.
THE STATE OF NTCHISI COMMUNITY
Pastor leaders in Ntchisi District, were divided and operated in fear that collaborating on any activities would expose their members to another pastor’s church and thus reduce church membership and income. They believed that preaching, collecting offering and praying for the members was their only role. Anything outside this description was considered unspiritual.
This outlook to spirituality and pastoral responsibilities led to:
Pastors seeing each other as competitors for church members within the community creating division among them; Poor living conditions within communities due to negligence of community resources leading to poor sanitation and unsafe water sources; Lack of personal responsibility with no initiative for corrective action to improve living conditions; Neglect of the vulnerable members in the community including the elderly, the sick and those living with disabilities; High dependence on offering from church members as a primary source of income for upkeep; Poor leadership in the church characterized by division and inconsistent membership; A prayerful yet passive church whose presence is not felt within the community due to the poor living conditions of pastors and their families; and the disunity among pastors observed by community members.
PA recruited pastors and formed a Community Integrated Financial Association (C.I.F.A.) group in the community through which the pastors are being engaged for community transformation.
- In order to help the pastors to have a source of income away from church offering, PA has trained them in and economic empowerment program.
- To address the leadership challenges, PA provided leadership and organizational training to equip them as leaders of the church and community.
- Children and youth had been neglected and became victims of circumstances. PA introduced the holistic mentorship program to help in the mental, social, spiritual and physical development of the children.
- Women were taken through the economic empowerment program to help them learn business skills and support their families along with their husbands.
- With increased accountability and implementation of the holistic programs,
through the economic empowerment PA has equipped the CIFA to advance their efforts.
As a result of the intervention by PA, attitudes have changed, skills have been acquired and knowledge has increased among the pastor leaders. Among these outcomes include:
- The Pastor leaders collaboratively mobilized 200 church members to initiate a fundraising agenda.
- Increased church membership as community members are witnessing the fruit of the Gospel through the holistic programs.
- Church members are reaching out to their community members to support them in times of need.
- Formation of nursery schools and establishment of Sunday schools in churches demonstrating the value being placed on children.
- Youth empowerment seminars facilitated by the C.I.F.A. groups.
For a long time, many pastors have written down great plans for their churches and communities and prayed over them with the hope of seeing transformation.
As part of forming impact groups, our pastor leaders need to demonstrate a desire to participate in the transformation of their community. Possibilities Africa triggers this desire by facilitating a community vision casting session on the backdrop of the holistic
transformation approach. This is a deliberate activity to help move the pastor leaders from a point of dependence on handouts to developing a compelling vision for their community. PA then guides the pastor leaders in designing strategic plans to support the implementation of holistic activities that contribute to the achievement of their community vision.
With the entry of the holistic ministry programs, pastor leaders undertaking the PA programs are now able to put their faith into action and enjoy the results of improved livelihoods in their communities.
One such example is a pastors’ group from one of the PA communities in Malawi, led by Pastor Jeremiah Haleke. Access to clean water has been a challenge for over three years, after two water wells in the area broke. This meant the women have had to walk miles to fetch water from untreated sources, for cooking, cleaning and bathing, exposing many to waterborne diseases.
Pastor Jeremiah’s group of 16 pastor leaders was compelled to do something about this, with the added pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic which called for increased hygiene practice as a key preventive measure. They prayed, developed a plan of action, and requested for a meeting with the local administrative authorities to offer their support and ideas towards resolving the water issues in their community. Out of the pastors’ initiative, change is taking place in the community and beyond.
Today, nine boreholes have been rehabilitated within their community and surrounding villages. The positive impact has resulted in the local administrative authority working hand in hand with the pastor group to partner with community development organizations in rehabilitating an additional 64 wells in other areas.
The pastors grabbed hold of this opportunity to teach the Word of God, leading twelve local administrators to the saving knowledge of Christ.
A compelling vision founded on faith and driven by action is what the Late Dr. Tokumboh referred to
when he said,“A change in the mind will affect both belief and the behaviour of a man.”
ABOUT PASTOR JEREMIAH
Meet Jeremiah Haleke – A man full of passion to serve
and a desire to learn. Pastoring the Deeper Life Church
and leading the C.I.F.A. group in his community, he has
been committed to this journey since 2016. He is married
to Grace and they are blest with five children. Many can
testify of his positive influence in the community and the
change in his own lifestyle whereby he can now sustain his
family without having to depend on church offering.
FOR PRAYER & SUPPORT
CIFA is working on setting up a bible study group for the chiefs who have given their souls to God.Pray for favour as they set this up.
The C.I.F.A. has committed to support the training the shalom groups (church members) in Animal husbandry in partnership with the Agricultural officials in the district. They are trusting the Lord for financial support to see this project come to life.