Drops of Compassion in Malawi and Mozambique
In the days following severe flooding in Malawi and Mozambique that killed more than 200 people and displaced more than 230,000 people, local churches have been doing their best to live out compassion. Henry Langison, who pastors the Dwanya Church of the Nazarene in southern Malawi, is among those who are working to rebuild their lives. More than half of his 80-member congregation lost their homes, and Langison and his lost something far more valuable: their 2-year-old son.
When water began to rush through their home late at night, Langison, his wife, their five children started to run toward higher ground. But they were unable to save their boy from the strong current.
In addition to facing the loss of loved ones and homes, families are also facing the loss of crops—a huge loss for communities where many people depend on the land for their entire livelihood.
Esther Chitsulo, a farmer in Chiringa, Malawi, grows rice and corn to provide for her family of nine. She says a typical harvest is 20 bags of corn, but this year she will be lucky to get five bags at harvest time.
Sakaika Turuwa, a 21-year-old Nazarene Sunday school teacher, says it's hard to plan for the future when all he can think about is daily survival—what he’ll eat and where he’ll stay. Turuwa works as a bicycle repairman, but he hasn’t had enough work since the floods hit.
"My major concern—and I believe it's the same for everyone here—we need the basic necessities,” Turuwa says. “We need shelter, we need food, we need clothes, we need medicine. And we also need to be equipped so we can stand on our own after the disaster."
Local Nazarene churches have been working to help meet the needs of their neighbors. A team in Malawi has distributed food and blankets to 500 families, and they’re working to distribute more to an additional 500 families.
When the floods hit Mozambique in early February, local churches reacted quickly, helping to get thousands of people to safety and finding places where they could be resettled. In three resettled areas, Nicoadala, Namacurra, and Mocuba, the church has worked to provide food and hygiene supplies to 1,450 households.
In flood-affected areas, families are in danger of contracting malaria from mosquitoes and cholera from water sources. In response, the church is providing mosquito nets and water purification tablets.
In Malawi, local congregations are also giving what they can to help their neighbors, including clothing, plates, cups, and flour. Gershom Kwerakwera, a pastor and district superintendent, has shared the community’s thankful heart for the gifts.
"Those who received these items were very happy,” Kwerakwera says. “I am very glad that our people [are] able to assist each other during hard times like this in response to the word of God."
Lizulu Church of the Nazarene raised 10,000 Malawi Kwacha (about $23 US), and the Nsanje Church of the Nazarene raised 7,000 Malawi Kwacha (roughly $16 US) to share with congregations in areas that flooded.
In the same way Jesus took a little boy’s gift of five loaves of bread and two fish and used it to feed thousands, churches in Malawi are sharing what little they have with brothers and sisters who have been affected by disaster, in faith that God will multiply it.
Part of this blog was adapted from a news story in “Out of Africa.”
You can help support the ongoing relief efforts in Malawi and Mozambique here: https://give.nazarene.org/donate/f/124638