Many churches in Africa are growing very fast. This growth is a demonstration of God’s wonderful grace. It is also due to fact that African Christians are very committed evangelists and most Africans believe in the reality of the spiritual world. The Faith in Action Church in Malawi has grown from about 50 churches in Malawi in 1987 to a total of about 1,000 churches in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe .
However, although many African churches are growing very fast, they often lack the resources needed to nurture the many believers who are attending their churches. Even the cost of a Bible would be more than most rural farmers can afford and there is very little Christian literature available in Chichewa, the language spoken in Malawi.
The need to provide Christian resources in a locally spoken language is made even more important because few people in the villages of southern Malawi can speak English, there is also a high illiteracy rate in rural areas and many new believers in the Lower Shire come into the church directly out of the practice of animist religions and witchcraft.
Current exchange rate: £1 = MK950
(Sterling prices have been calculated to the nearest pound.)
We have been providing £110 each month for Bibles since February 1988. We send this money through the Bible Society and church leaders in Blantyre collect Bibles in whichever local language is appropriate for their distribution. The Bible Society have recently produced a study Bible in Chichewa with teaching notes and a concordance which will be very helpful for pastors.
Despite the fact that we have provided many Bibles over recent years, the need for more still remains. Bibles were distributed in one area where eight churches were sharing
just two Bibles.
We are also distributing Bibles and Bible studies in prisons where we have seen many prisoners becoming Christians as a result.
The cost of a standard Chichewa Bible is MK4,500, or £5, and the study Bible is MK12,500 or £13.
The Bible Society have produced a machine which they have called a Proclaimer. This machine has a computer inside which has a chip holding the text of the whole Bible in a variety of languages, including Chichewa. It can be operated using solar-power or by hand-winding.
These Proclaimers have been received well by rural congregations and will provide significant help for those who cannot read. They will also help rural congregations. When people return from their fields, they are tired. It also gets dark at 6pm and so it is difficult to read. However, a whole group, including non-Christians, can listen to tapes.
A Proclaimer costs MK10,000, or £11.
We have produced some Bible studies which have now been translated and printed in Chichewa and Portuguese. They are also being translated into Chibemba and Shona. These studies have been received well. They are being distributed in both churches and prisons.
Each study costs approximately MK943 or £1 to print on shiny paper in Malawi. (We are given a quote before each printing.)
These studies include a section on having a correct attitude towards money together with teaching on principles such as sowing and reaping, and giving and receiving. It is our belief that communities will benefit far more from development projects if they are applying biblical principles to their lives.