By Stephen Lewis
The rains in early January brought massive flooding to broad swathes of the country of Malawi, where the Church of God has more than 136 congregations.* Immediate reports indicated that a number of church buildings and individual homes were completely destroyed as roofs blew off and wood-fired mud-brick walls disintegrated under the constant rain, literally dissolving into mud. Other buildings and houses were partially damaged and will require repair. In some parts of the country, roads were washed away, as were recently planted crops. Initial estimates indicate that rebuilding the buildings and houses of our churches and congregants will exceed $40,000, and possibly $50,000.
The Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries immediately dispatched $10,000 in January for Church of God missionaries Josie and Tim Vickey to use in providing emergency relief to churches and families affected. Despite being hindered by continued storms and damaged roads, the Vickeys have spent the last month contacting church leaders and pastors across the country for damage reports and traveling to assess the rebuilding needs. Along the way, they are distributing plastic sheeting for use as temporary roofs to protect vulnerable and damaged buildings, as well as distributing emergency food supplies and seed for families to replant crops as they are able.
The Vickeys will be traveling difficult roads this week to assess the needs in a group of villages located in a remote mountainous area, fording a river on the way. Just last week, they received notice of twenty-two homes in this area that have been critically damaged. This is the last area to report in. Pray for clear weather and dry roads as they travel, and pray for discernment as the Vickeys and Church of God leaders wrap up the evaluation of rebuilding needs.
Please consider a gift to the Disaster Relief fund at Church of God Ministries. It is only because of generous gifts from our congregations and from people like you that the Disaster Relief Committee can respond immediately when a disaster hits and when relief requests come in. Click here to donate now. You can also send your donation to Attn: Disaster Relief, Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018; be certain to clearly designate your gift to Project #45.04502.
In anticipation of the final assessment of needs, the Disaster Relief Committee has already approved $40,000 toward the final rebuilding costs so that the church in Malawi can begin that work as soon as weather permits.
For questions regarding this and other disaster relief efforts in the United States and abroad, contact Stephen Lewis, 800-848-2464, ext. 2198.
*According to the 2014 Yearbook of the Church of God.