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Malawi, Africa


As 2021 winds down, our GS team of staff and volunteers continues to pray for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

For some years now, Malawi has been called the “Warm Heart of Africa” and this tiny nation has surely embraced the moniker. Friendly people, a vibrant culture, and a relatively stable government has made this Central African nation of roughly 19 million people an attractive destination for travelers seeking an African adventure.


Malawi is dwarfed by its massive neighbors, and is just 900 miles across at its widest point. Zambia is to the west, Tanzania sits to its north, and to the south, the long, thin Warm Heart of Africa seems to stretch leisurely, like she’s dipping her big toe into the heart of Mozambique.



From its place in the sub-Saharan southeast, Malawi has much to recommend it. Making the most of its position in the famous Rift Valley, it boasts the third largest lake in Africa, numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, forested highlands, and Central Africa’s highest peak. The famous Lake Malawi makes up one fifth of the nation’s geography. It’s length neatly divides into relatively even thirds, forming regions known as North, South, and Central Malawi. The North is the least populated area and unspoiled in its beauty. It’s characterized by rugged highlands and dramatic beaches along the northern lakeshore. Heading south, parks and wildlife reserves are plentiful and there are many tourist attractions along the lakeshore. the commercial capital and the old colonial capital sit on a high temperate plain that gives way to the hotter, drier south. The nation’s capital city, Lilongwe, sits in Central Malawi and makes a great launching point into the other regions, especially for international visitors.



HISTORY

As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, Malawi was part of the Maravi Empire, a vast expanse of southeastern Africa which included Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. Organized by tribe, the area was mostly agrarian, farming millet, sorghum and later maize. The Europeans arrived en force in the 17th century and the tribal leaders began trading ivory, iron, and slaves with the Portuguese and the Arabs. It was the British who ultimately succeeded in colonizing the region, dubbing it British Central Africa. Unfortunately, during the colonization era, wars erupted between the Christian missionaries that came with the colonizers, like David Livingstone, and many of the powerful regional tribes. One of those tribes was the Yao.


Originally from Mozambique, pressures like famine and tribal conflicts had led the majority of the Yao to migrate eastward into Malawi. When they settled, they established trade with neighboring Swahili Muslims and became one of the most powerful tribes in Africa’s southeastern corner. The ivory and slave trades were not all they dabbled in; they also adopted the religion of Islam and did not appreciate the attempts of 19th century Christian missionaries to convert them. Today, two million of the roughly 2.8 million Yao live in Malawi. They continue to practice Islam and remain collectively resistant to the gospel message. But little by little that is changing.



MINISTRIES

Deep in Malawi’s south and sitting on the border with Mozambique is Nsanje where native son Pastor Medson Mzonda leads a small congregation. Life in the region is difficult; the geography lends itself to extreme heat and little rain which wreaks havoc on agriculture and thus the food supply. Medson began preaching here in 1985 as an evangelist but settled down to plant a village church in 2000. There was little gospel presence in the area, and much opposition, but He felt the call to serve among the unreached. Over time, many have come to faith in Jesus in an area dominated by animism and the worshiping of spirits. Medson faithfully serves his community, meeting practical needs, feeding the hungry, and encouraging his flock to reach out and press into villages across the border in Mozambique who need to hear the good news.


Joseph Chikopa was raised in the commercial capital of Blantyre, but like Medson, the Holy Spirit called him to press into areas without a gospel presence. So, he set out for the region of Machinga, where he trains the Yao tribe to farm, using a DMM discipleship tool called Farming God’s Way. DMM is rooted in relationships and by training Yao farmers in simple agricultural methods, communities have been blessed by increasing maize crop yields. The two together communicate the love of Jesus both physically and spiritually. In a land that has been plagued by seemingly endless drought, the villagers are learning how to engage in sustainable farming AND many in the Muslim community have given their lives to Jesus in the process. Whether it’s leading Discovery Bible Studies or strategically gifting Audio Bibles, Joseph continues to creatively present the gospel in word and deed among the Yao, and they are hungry for it. But the Yao tribe has a long memory and the key to the success of Joseph’s ministry has been this: He went not as a missionary, but as a servant. And they have welcomed him.



OUR PART

Global Sharing is proud to partner with both Medson and Joseph as they serve the Kingdom in Malawi. We will continue to offer the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers (when we can travel) to both these ministries as they continue to faithfully serve in their little corner of Africa. As both men press on with their work, we will continue to tell their stories, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking the Kingdom path with them.

As our partners press on in Africa, pushing further into the darkness with the light of hope, we will continue to tell their stories, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking in the way of Jesus with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for continued fruitfulness as the Yao respond to the Word of God.

  • Pray for wisdom as leaders are identified and trained for the work ahead.

  • Pray for spiritual opposition from religious groups mounting against those who follow Jesus.

  • Pray for spiritual fruit from the solar-powered audio Bibles recently donated by GS partners in the US.

  • Pray for continued groups of families and villages to respond en masse to the gospel.



THANK YOU

Thank you for making our partnerships with both Medson and Joseph thrive. Thank you for praying for these partners and the beautiful people they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to our Malawian partners through Global Sharing, click HERE.

Thank you to all who have journeyed to Malawi with us to serve our friends and partners there! We hope to visit them again when we are able to travel!

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Updated: Sep 26

West Bengal, India


As 2021 marches on, our GS team of staff and volunteers is praying for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

Tucked into a northern corner of the Indian subcontinent, the state of West Bengal nestles snugly within dramatic surroundings. Along its northernmost edge, the Himalayas stretch out imposingly, forming a boundary which issues a siren’s call to mountain climbers and trekkers. Mount Everest is not far away from here and, carelessly straddling Nepal and China, can be seen from Darjeeling on a clear day. The lowlands and foothills sloping south are carpeted with tea gardens, sprawling plantations that produce some of the world’s finest tea.


The state’s southern border is formed by the Bay of Bengal, leaving its geography oddly shaped. Stretching some 200 miles edge to edge in the south, it’s a mere 10 miles across at its narrowest point. It’s here that the mighty Ganges River leisurely rolls through on its way to neighboring Bangladesh. Though it exits nearly as soon as it enters, the river and its tributaries leave the southern half of the state with a rich and fertile plain.


Added to its dramatic landscapes, West Bengal has other charms: signature spicy food, terrifying traffic patterns, and friendly, good-natured people. But oppression is an undeniable and widespread reality here too. The domination of Hinduism means many are born into low castes and some are relegated to life outside the caste system altogether. Be they Dalits (untouchable or low castes) or Adivasi (tribal and outcast), karma has sealed their fate in this life. With limited or no access to education, opportunities to climb out of poverty and the destiny assigned by karma are in most cases non-existent. These groups represent just over 25% of West Bengal’s population and discrimination in every realm of life is as socially acceptable as it is cruel. Yes, karma rules here, and few are those who will intervene and work to bring change.


In the north, the tea plantations have employed the Adivasi since the time of the British Empire, but the conditions are harsh, abuse is rife, and with workers earning just over two dollars a day, there’s little hope of ever climbing out of poverty. The tea companies exploit a generational labor cycle, meaning children, even should they earn an education, must continue as tea pickers or their aging parents face eviction from the homes they occupy on plantation property. With no other options, the cycle of oppression continues unabated generation after generation.



The situation is equally heartbreaking in the south, even with a bustling port city like Kolkata anchoring the urban landscape. Formerly the financial capital of the East India Company, much of Kolkata’s population lives below the poverty line, employed as domestic workers, day laborers, rickshaw pullers, hawkers, or beggars. With slum villages home to more than one-third the total population of the city, the unsanitary conditions, close quarters and tin and tarp housing monopolize once vacant areas along roads, canals, drains, and the port and railway lines. At least 23 of these communities have populations of over 10,000 people, and for many, these overcrowded and unsafe neighborhoods have been home for two or three generations.


But it is into this place where thousands of capricious gods dole out their cruel karma that the hope of the gospel issues its clearest call. It is the teachings of Jesus that offer a better way than the teachings of Hinduism. It is the way of Jesus that offers a rebirth into a life and destiny free of karma’s punishing assignments and into a Body where there is neither high caste or outcast. With a new name and a new identity, all are welcomed into the joy of their Creator and His Son, invited to dine at His table, recognized and valued for the masterpieces they are.



MINISTRIES

Founders of RAY Ministries and Alpha Mission School, Home and Jenny are firm believers in the idea that education can change everything. And it provides a perfect vehicle for presenting the way of Jesus to poor and marginalized families in their community, whether they be inside or outside the Hindu caste system. With education central to everything they do, Home and Jenny are spiritual entrepreneurs, finding creative ways to bring the hope and healing of Jesus into the hurting world around them. Both orphaned in childhood, they have taken in kids without families and sacrificially promote their holistic development, meeting physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs. They facilitate traditional youth camps and conferences, but have also established vocational training centers in computers and other skill sets to increase job opportunities and earning power. They regularly host pastor training and women’s conferences to reach the Adivasis of the tea plantations with the good news of the gospel. Five years ago they shared their dream with Global Sharing to expand their school, replicating it in Adivasi areas where access to education is non-existent. Today they are pushing deeper into those unreached tribal regions, and the mission school is in the works. And they continue to dream: a driving school or a beauty college could be next. Whatever it is, be assured they will weave the gospel and discipleship into every plan they make and every thing they do.



In the south of the state, Dorcus House serves widows and their children in an impoverished village near the port of Kolkata. Their intrepid leader Cornelia, shepherds over 80 widows living in the shadow of stacks of rusty shipping containers and the active rail lines that move them in and out. Many of the widows that live in this dangerous hamlet have grown old here, but some are quite young; child marriage sometimes makes widows out of children. Cornelia fills her week tirelessly doing home visitation, providing food rations, paying school fees, and running a small preschool. But the door at Dorcus House is also open for literacy classes and skills training, and even to help the widows launch small businesses. But most importantly, Cornelia has introduced the widows and their children to Jesus and the ways of her God, teaching them that they are made in His image and therefore valuable beyond measure. The protection she extends, the dignity she affirms, and the care she provides consistently point them back to the One who finds the sheep on the margins and welcomes them gladly into His fold.


Outside the city’s limits along Kolkata’s eastern edge, a young man named Nasir has faithfully established himself within a community of Muslims that bumps up against the Sundarban National Park. A slum village with few solid structures can offer little protection from the elements, and one that borders the natural habitat of Royal Bengal tigers, estuarine crocodiles, and other wild animals ratchets up the risks. Living conditions are dangerous and attacks by hungry animals frequent. Nasir has beautifully woven his medical training into his seminary training, and with his compassion for the hurting and his love for the lost, he embodies a loving Heavenly Father to those who cannot imagine a kind and loving God. His commitment to serve and disciple the least of these has given birth to a beautiful faith community. Under his shepherding and care, his little flock is beginning to thrive even as it resides in the midst of wolves.



OUR PART

Global Sharing is proud to partner with Nasir, Cornelia, and Home and Jenny, and to spread the word about all they’re doing in West Bengal to expand God’s Kingdom through holistic ministry. We strive to offer the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers to them as they continue to faithfully serve those God has put in their care. We are committed to helping where and how we can, as needs arise, and have most recently helped fund RAY Ministries' school launch and educational partnership with Heera, a co-laborer committed to reaching the unreached through a bible-based English language school among the Adivasis.

As our partners press on, whether in pioneering a new work of ministry or staying the course along well-trod paths, we will continue to tell their stories, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking in the way of Jesus with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • For Home and Jenny, RAY Ministries and Alpha Mission School: clarity and perseverance as they continue to embrace sacrificial service and spiritual entrepreneurship, providing educational opportunities for all, and finding innovative ways to bring the gospel of grace to their community and beyond.

  • For Dorcus House and Cornelia as they serve the widows and orphans in the slum village near the port in Kolkata: protection, the ongoing meeting of practical needs and the successful launch of literacy plans and micro-enterprise.

  • For Nasir in the Sundarban slums that border the nature preserve: protection from wild animals, ongoing needs for physical healing, and the spiritual growth of the faith community he shepherds.

  • For all our Indian friends as they daily battle the COVID virus, poverty, oppression, and persecution.



THANK YOU

Thank you for helping our Indian partners thrive. Thank you for praying for them and the people they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges they face and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to our Indian partners through Global Sharing, click HERE.

Thank you to all who have journeyed to India with us to serve our friends and partners there! We hope to visit them again when we are allowed to travel!

TALAMANCA, Costa Rica


As we welcome in 2021, our GS team of staff and volunteers is praying for the world to open up again. While we wait, we invite you to explore with us the regions where our global ministry partners work. These places are unique and vibrant, each boasting their own special beauty. And the people? Well, we believe the people are extraordinary. And we think once you get to know them better, you will too. So we invite you to venture out with us virtually as we celebrate the people, places, and ministries God has called us to serve around the world.



ON THE MAP

Stacked compactly one upon the other, seven tiny nations link the massive North and South American continents. Nestled near the southern end of the chain lies what many consider its finest gem: Costa Rica. Adventure seekers find their way there for the jungle zip lines and rope courses, coffee lovers for the rich, aromatic roast, and with an abundance of pristine beaches, sunbathers and surfers alike flock to the sandy shores of two coastlines.


A winding four-hour car ride from the capital of San José, the region of Talamanca lies tucked away along Costa Rica’s southern border with Panama. Over half the area falls neatly within three national parks and a wildlife preserve, which is good for tourism as well as conservation efforts. But step off the well-beaten tourist path—or just cross the river in a banana boat—and the mountain jungles tell a different story.



HISTORY

Talamanca is both friendly and welcoming, and foreigners take good advantage of affordable vacation homes and a variety of eco-friendly touring options. But while the sun-kissed Caribbean coastline and decidedly unhurried pace encourages la pura vida, for some a dark chapter in Costa Rica’s past continues to cripple their present. Colonization left its mark on the Americas, and Costa Rica was no exception. Small villages throughout the lush mountain jungles of Talamanca are home to the nation’s largest indigenous population. Once enslaved by the Spanish and now pushed onto reservations, they are marginalized and forgotten by the forward march of first-world development. Just over a third of Talamanca’s land is divided between four reservations where Costa Rica’s native inhabitants live. Linked by steep, muddy paths, their small villages remain primitive, mired in the past. In these places, infant mortality is high and access to everything from sanitation to education and medical care is low. And the further into the mountains you travel, the more pervasive the poverty and the deeper the darkness. Religious practices are steeped in the worship of demonic beings, and spiritual darkness has the region tightly in its grip.




One of the larger indigenous groups in Talamanca is the BriBri, and much of their land quietly skirts the fringes of busy beach towns like Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo. Largely invisible to the tourists enjoying the laid-back Caribbean vibe, life for the BriBri is largely a subsistence existence. They eek out a living selling bananas, cacao, or plantains and themselves live mostly on beans and rice. Society on the reservation is matrilineal and matriarchal, and so the women remain tied to the land and quite rooted. Many men, however, leave to seek work on nearby banana plantations, coming and going and, with marriage seen as largely an informal arrangement, some absent BriBri men establish more than one family. Such customs have been normalized and stem from the heartbreaking conviction that men are to make conquests of their women. With this type of cultural norm, sexual abuse is sadly rife within and across many BriBri clans, and sadly it begins when girls are quite young. Teenage pregnancy is inevitable, and frightened girls are left to raise fatherless children in isolation, themselves traumatized. Taking on a prevailing sense of hopelessness, however, are two ministries working hard among the BriBri to change the engrained beliefs that promote the abuse of women and children and offer the healing and future only Jesus can provide.


MINISTRY

Kyrios Ministries has been working among the BriBri in Talamanca for many years. Making the four-hour drive from San José multiple times per month, the team of local Costa Ricans has brought the hope of the gospel to the region, first through youth camps and more lately through developing relationships with BriBri pastors on the reservation. Beginning small in 2017 with just a few participants, an annual pastors’ conference has since grown to see well over 50 men and women in attendance! Calling pastors to grow in grace and challenging them to value and protect the women and girls in their villages and clans is a discipleship that seeks to disrupt and dislodge cultural patterns that have damaged generations of beautiful people made in God’s image.



The Nest is a ministry founded by Karina and James Beach to serve the women and children of the BriBri tribe in Talamanca. They are working to provide a safe, loving, and Christ-centered shelter where women and children can live in a healing community, be educated, and fall in love with Jesus. The team is developing a bilingual school where children can learn academics and life skills in a vibrant faith-based community and all can find peace, purpose, and protection from sexual abuse.


TODAY

Global Sharing is proud to partner with both Kyrios Ministries and The Nest and to spread the word about all they’re doing in Talamanca for God’s Kingdom. To that end, we support Kyrios’ efforts to build relationships with BriBri pastors and train them to lead in love and disciple them to daily live out the example of the Good Shepherd. We are also actively supporting the work of The Nest as their team endeavors to build a safehouse for BriBri women and children to heal and be discipled in the ways of Jesus.


We will continue to offer the encouragement of friendship, prayer support, and teams of volunteers to both these ministries as they continue to faithfully serve the BriBri. As both teams press on, deeper into the mountain jungles, we will continue to tell their story, support them how and when we can, and invite you to join us in walking the Kingdom path with them.


PRAYER POINTS

  • For the Kyrios team to meet and develop more relationships within the BriBri community.

  • For the resources needed for the team to continue discipling pastors in the Talamanca region.

  • For protection over all as the spiritual battle is raging.

  • For The Nest team to raise needed funds to build the shelter and school.

  • For continued favor with the BriBri reservation leadership.

  • For God to provide needed staff and volunteers for The Nest from among the BriBri community.

  • For a service trip in the planning stages to visit and support the work of both The Nest and Kyrios in June of this year. I you are interested in joining our team, email us today at info@globalsharingusa.org.



THANK YOU

Thank you for making our partnership with both The Nest and Kyrios Ministries thrive. Thank you for praying for these partners and the beautiful BriBri people they serve. Thank you for seeing the challenges and being part of bringing change to this corner of the world. We press on with your help, and we press on because the hope and healing of Jesus is the only change that will last.


To receive our prayer email updates for our partners, click HERE.

To give to The Nest or Kyrios Ministries through Global Sharing, click HERE.

The beautiful photos shown in this email were taken by Elsie Muñoz while on a service and ministry trip to Talamanca with Global Sharing in 2019. Thank you, Elsie, for sharing your time and talent and so poignantly capturing for us the heart and soul of the region and the people.

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