Our vision in Malawi is to see people and entire communities being transformed through the preaching of the gospel and the equipping of true believers for ministry and service. By equipping Christians, we hope to mobilise the local church to reach out to the millions of Yao Muslims living in Malawi.
Malawi is one of Africa’s landlocked countries, perhaps best known for beautiful Lake Malawi and the country’s friendly, open-hearted people.
Thousands of people ‘disappeared’ during the 30-year dictatorship that ruled the country until 1994, and today 85% of the rural population lives in poverty, surviving on less than one US dollar a day. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world.
OM didn’t have a presence in Malawi until 2005 when we took a research mission to the country. A few months later OM Malawi was founded and today we are based in Ntaja, south of Lake Malawi. Our ministry focus is to the Yao Muslims; The Yao are an ethnic group numbering about two million people.
The Yao people have long embraced Islam as their religion since it was first introduced to them by Arabs during the slave trade in the early 1800s. Nowadays, to be Yao is to be Muslim. Malawi boasts the highest percentage of Muslims in southern Arica, and less than 1% of the Yao population claims to be Christian.
Part of our vision in Malawi is to reach the least reached Yao people who are predominantly Muslim. At our Training Centre, the following trainings are presented to train believers (both from Muslim and from Christian backgrounds) to equip them to reach out to those in their community. The following trainings/programmes are presented in the local language or translated from English:
- Farming Foundation Training (God's Way of Farming)
Through each training, it is our aim to instill a Christ-like character, especially in the following ways:
- To have a firm identity in Christ
- To be renewed from an animistic mind to a Godly mind
- To know the truth and have faith, confidence and hope
- To stand up against corruption and for what is right
It is our desire for individuals and ministries to be self-sustaining. We present Farming Foundations training to the team and members in the community to teach them God's Way of Farming. We help and encourage them to farm to have enough food to sustain their families. We plant maize, rice, pigeon peas and vegetables to suppliment the food given to workers and children in our ministry schools. We are working towards having a small 'model' farm where people can come to learn. We are also helping individuals through an entrepreneurship programme.
Providing quality Christian education and daily meals to vulnerable children and developing self-sustainable projects for the school. Many children are orphaned in Malawi. They are placed in homes with extended family, but with the extra burden on already big families most of them do not have the opportunity to attend school. Many are victims of child exploitation. Those who do go to school receive poor quality education, as the schooling standard in remote areas is very low. Education of a higher standard and awareness about the child exploitation are needed in the community.
We currently have two schools—the Chiyembekezo School and the Chisopi School. The Chiyembekezo School, for orphaned and vulnerable children, is currently in its second year and has 13 children in Standard 1 and 18 children in preschool. The Chisopi School is in a muslim village where we have planted a church. 18 children are registered in the preschool class. All of the children are from a muslim background. Both schools have a feeding program where children receive two meals per day. The guardians/parents of the children work in the school fields and garden as their contribution towards the schoolfees.
Radio Lilanguka 'Light' in Yao is our newest ministry. We currently broadcast one half-hour program every day on the National FM network of Transworld Radio in Lilongwe. After we obtain a broadcasting license, work will start towards being full-time on-the-air. The full bible in Yao was launched near the end of 2014 and in partnership with DAVAR we recorded an audio version of the Yao Bible.
Children's programmes are presented to children in the surrounding area of the school to reach the children outside school ages.
It is for this reason, to bring together the lives of those who serve God 'on-the-field' and those who support them, that we host outreaches. It is a blessing for people who support our work through giving and prayer to see God at work through our missionaries and then to experience, first-hand, the impact of that work in the lives of those they are ministering to.
As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words". While working in a Muslim community, we have seen this to be true multiple times. We reach out to the elderly and vulnerable in our community with practical services like digging a toilet, erecting a shower, fixing a leaking roof or providing food. During the recent flood disaster in Malawi, our teams were able to help many families in different areas and this has opened the doors for the Gospel as people saw the practical help provided by Christians. They testified that they saw a picture of the love of Christ and many joined bible study groups to learn more.
Our female team members, guardians and worker's wives get together in fellowship once a week. We have seen the importance of equipping women since they are commonly the ones who take care of the children and therefore have the biggest influence in the lives of the next generation. The ladies in our group are from both Christian and Muslim families. We pray for one another, study chronologically through the bible and teach each other different skills like cooking and sewing.
We planted a church in a muslim village which, in turn, has planted another church. One of our trained missionaries is living in the village with his family where they are modeling a biblical lifestyle in all spheres of life. In order to have an even bigger influence in the community, one of our ministry schools resides in the same village.
Each missionary (team member) is being an influence in the village he lives in as well as neighbouring villages by sharing the word of God, teaching the truth of the Bible and doing community work as practical ministry.