There is a thief on the loose in Malawi – rampaging through villages stealing purpose, dignity and dreams. The thief is hunger. But the church is on the move against it.
As drought grips Malawi, Sylvia, aged 34, looks at her last bag of maize and sighs, ‘It’s just a matter of surviving.'
Climate change is very real for Sylvia and her community. As a child she remembers the good rains and the healthy harvests. Now the seasons are unpredictable – last year was the worst in many decades.
According to the World Food Programme, poor nutrition causes 23 per cent of all child mortality cases in Malawi. Year after year, Sylvia struggles just to keep her four children from becoming a part of this statistic. 'As a mother I feel so sad when my children are crying with hunger,' she says.
A different story
But just an hour’s drive away we find a very different story. Polly has harvested more than twice as much as Sylvia.
Three years ago, Polly faced the same challenges. But today she has enough food to feed her family and a surplus to sell or give away. She now owns livestock, has a bicycle and runs a doughnut business; her husband is training to be a teacher, and together they’re building a new house. .
The church makes the difference
Polly’s village was thrown a lifeline when Tearfund’s partner, Assemblies of God Care (AG Care), introduced them to a simple but remarkable solution. They ran a Foundations for Farming course in the local church, showing her some simple techniques to farm her dry, barren plot of land and make it flourish again.
‘After I learned about these techniques I was filled with joy because I could see things were going to change,’ shares Polly. ‘Now people look at me and my family differently – I support others and I’m useful to the community.’
Polly’s first harvest, after she put the techniques into practice, enabled her to sell a surplus bag of maize and invest in livestock – something she would never have thought possible. The training has brought her independence and the chance to direct her life.
'The church also taught us how to manage our savings and trained us how to run a business,’ explains Polly. ‘My plans for the future are to buy a sewing machine and a motorbike to start new businesses.’
Tearfund is empowering churches like Polly’s to release families from hunger. Once a person knows where their next meal is coming from, they are free to plan for the future – together with their whole community.
A chance for Sylvia
‘God is good… so I believe that one day, I will get a breakthrough,' says Sylvia
Sylvia has now received Foundations for Farming training and we believe it will bring her the breakthrough she has prayed for. But there are so many more people who still need the training.
Tearfund has just launched a new church resource, which tells the stories of Sylvia and Polly. The pack includes some great prayer resources as well as an inspirational film, talk notes, posters and children’s resources.
We would love you to join us in bringing breakthrough to Sylvia and others like her. Together, let’s beat hunger. Order your church pack now by visiting www.tearfund.org/churchresource
Father God – our creator and provider. Thank you making us in your image and for how much you value us. Thank you too that, in your kindness, you continue to meet our needs. We pray for those who don’t have enough food to eat today. We ask that you would provide for them too.
Jesus Christ – our Lord and saviour. Thank you that while the enemy comes to steal and destroy, you come to bring life in all its fullness. We pray that you will bring this life to towns and villages all over Malawi. May your church continue to be a beacon of light and a source of life and hope.
Holy Spirit – our comforter and guide. Thank you for your continual presence, as you walk close beside us in our lives. Thank you that you have promised to lead us into all truth. Empower us, so that we can love one another more effectively and that we might see your kingdom come.
We pray because we're desperate for God - to walk with him... in step with his will for the world.
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