Excerpts from a letter to Calvinistic Churches in Singapore on Behalf of EPCM, by Rev JJ Lim, 28 Nov 2016.
By the mercies of our Lord, Pilgrim Covenant Church (PCC) has,—in partnership with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia (EPCA),—been helping the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Malawi (EPCM) since 2011.
The EPCM was established in January 2008 by a handful of Calvinistic Malawian pastors who were disheartened by the lack of Gospel preaching as well as neglect of the poor by the mainline denominations in Malawi. Today, despite having only five ordained ministers (two having been called home), they have more than 15,000 members scattered in 90 congregations spread across Southern Malawi and Mozambique. The EPCA and PCC have been helping them with ministerial training, as well as supply of Bibles and catechetical materials apart from occasional humanitarian assistance. After labouring for about five years, there are about 12 ministerial students ready to be ordained to the ministry after final examination in April 2017, DV.
In the meantime, however, a very dire situation has enveloped the land: for due to combination of floods, unseasonal rains and drought, the nation is in the grip of a famine. According to Rev. Rex Chitekwe, the moderator of the EPCM Synod, 11,000 members are greatly affected by the famine. Many, especially, children and the aged are starving to death. Others are surviving on whatever they can scavenge from the land and the polluted water bodies. There is little hope of help from their government, and many false religions and cult groups are taking advantage of the situation to entice faithful believers to their camp by offering meagre helps on condition they pledge allegiance to their faith.
The EPCM has largely refused to compromise and according to Rev Chitekwe has so far only received the little relief aid that PCC and EPCA were able to scrounge together. They have also continued to preach the gospel, so that the denomination has continued to grow despite having no promise of material aid.
The magnitude of need in the EPCM is far beyond what the PCC and EPCA combined is able to meet. But the apostle John admonishes us: “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (1Jn 3:17). It is for this reason, we continue to help in what little ways we can while advising the church to be better prepared for future disasters, like, for example digging wells that they can use to irrigate alternative crops when their staple crop (maize) fails.
It also for this reason that I am appealing to you to see if you and your congregation may find it in your heart to help a little.
To give you an idea of how you can help, do note that on the average an adult Malawian will require about 25 kg of corn per month. At current prices, 25 kg of corn will cost about 15,000 Malawian Kwachas (approx. S$30). This will be for immediate consumption. We can also help them with seeds and fertilizers to cultivate their assigned plot of land. This will enable them to feed their families and to have a little income left over if they enjoy a good harvest (something they have not enjoyed in the last two cycles). It will cost MK25,000 (approx S$50) for fertilizers per family, and MK15,000 (approx S$30) for a bag of good seeds.
If the Lord sends rain at the right time, they are expecting their next harvest to be in April 2017. If that happens, and we must pray that the Lord will so bless, then they will be self-sufficient as long as the rain continues to fall at the right time in the years ahead. Digging a bore hole that will help a community in their next drought will cost about S$10,000. This will also enable them to plant alternative crops such as sweet potatoes in case the basic crop of maize which is highly dependent on rain cycles fails again.
If you would like to contribute funds through MARA please get in touch with us through the Contact form.