Malawi (MNN) — Government probes are beginning into the
riots that have plagued Malawi since July. Thing still aren't totally settled. The most recent unrest was arson in Lilongwe that destroyed
the offices of a church on October 9.
President Bingu wa Mutharika promised to investigate the
army and riot police response through a
commission. Sam Vinton with Grace Ministries International says, "It began simply as a peaceful demonstration, as people
wanted to let the government know that they were concerned about the lack of
supplies, food, and fuel prices, while at the same time they saw that the
government had plenty. They were
attacked by some policemen."
While the last riots were a month ago, the issues that
spilled over into violence haven't been resolved.
GMI's missionary teams write, "Continue to pray for
Malawi, which is really going through political turmoil which is affecting the
country on all levels: diesel, normal TIP fees tripled, and food is much more
expensive. The nationals struggle to keep their heads above water."
Vinton says the increasing costs have had a negative effect
on outreach. He explains, "Malawi has good roads, which means that
there are vehicles that we do use to go out and do campaigns. However, [rising prices] have put a crunch on the budgets, causing some of the trips that they would make to be eliminated. We have a number of churches in the north and also to the
south. We have seen the slowing down of
trips and trying to combine trips because of the gas prices."
GMI's work in Malawi began in 2000. Today, the training center in Lilongwe is offering
module programs for the leadership of the churches. Two Malawians are presently
studying at the Zambia Grace Bible Institute in Kabwe, Zambia. Several churches
have been planted in Lilongwe and several elsewhere, plus 20 preaching points
which will eventually become church plants.
Regarding budget cuts and food shortages, Vinton says
they're difficult, but they won't stop growth. "We are still moving ahead as far as starting new churches. Pray especially for the outreach into Mozambique."
People are hungry for the Gospel, and they are responding to truth. As a result, new leaders are being trained
for discipleship. "The churches in
Malawi have crossed over, and in many cases, they speak a tribal language. At
the last count, we had at least ten churches that had been planted."
Keep praying for a peaceful resolution. There's more about GMI's work here.