By Carl Stagner
A crisis of biblical proportions is ongoing in southern Africa, especially the countries of Malawi and Zambia. Lives have been lost. Storms have collapsed homes belonging to Children of Promise-sponsored children. Flooding has destroyed homes belonging to Church of God pastors and laypeople. Church buildings and facilities have been washed away. Crops—representing the livelihood of countless individuals—have been decimated by rising floodwaters in some areas, while catastrophic drought has rendered other fields worthless. Overall, thousands of Church of God people, and hundreds of thousands of people beyond the movement, have been affected by these atmospheric extremes. Church of God Ministries is sending initial funds to the Church of God in Malawi and Zambia, but so much more is needed.
Mailesi Ndao, national leader for the Church of God in Zambia begins her humble plea for disaster relief in the following, chilling, manner: “Greetings from Zambia…we are not okay.” The northern part of the country has faced persistent rains and gale-force winds, destroying infrastructure, making roadways impassable, blowing down some churches, and washing away others. In the eastern and southern regions, drought has persisted, leaving some 35,000 Church of God people in need of hunger relief as crops have failed just before harvest. Additionally, the scarcity of water there is not only affecting households, but their livestock.
In Malawi, the situation is about as bleak as it could be. National leader Emmanuel Masamba has reported, as of March 12, the collapse of five churches. Church members’ homes destroyed totaled 164, four of which house Children of Promise-sponsored children. Fields nearly ready to harvest there were also destroyed by flood. Staple goods like maize are now scarce, also affecting hunger and having an economic impact. Displaced families are sleeping in the church buildings which are still standing. Thankfully, no Church of God people had lost their lives as of March 12, but 56 people in the country had died and 577 were injured.
The lasting effects of this massive disaster goes beyond cleanup and repairs. Millions of mosquito nets are needed due to standing water in flooded areas, and chlorine is necessary to treat contaminated drinking water. This is the physical state of the Church of God in Malawi and Zambia. These are our brothers and sisters in need, not only of our prayers, but of our financial assistance.
“I have been unable to travel to many places in the south, as the roads remain impassable,” Emmanuel Masamba reports. “Some houses are still under water…it is scary to walk in the water [as well] due to the presence of crocodiles.”
Surveying the ever-widening swath of damage to his home country, Emmanuel added simply, “Lord, have mercy.”
Church of God Ministries has approved initial disbursements of $5,000 each through the Disaster Relief fund to aid efforts in these two countries. If the Spirit has prompted you to assist in these efforts, make a disaster relief donation online at www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief and be sure to answer the question, “Would you like to include a note to Church of God Ministries or a missionary with your contribution?” by checking the box and filling in the Note field with “Malawi/Zambia Disaster Relief #45.04502.” Or, mail your donation to Church of God Ministries and write “Malawi/Zambia Disaster Relief #45.04502” on the memo line of your check. One hundred percent of your designated gift will be remitted to assist in this ongoing disaster.