On Friday September 1, 2017 a five member team from ACFUSA led by the Midwest Region President, Brother Victor Orihbabor, departed for Malawi onboard Ethiopian Airline. The other US team members were, Dr. Rosaire Ifedi; Ms Sylvia Nwahiri - NP; Dr. Benedicta Udeagbala; and Mr. Sam Ogbonnaya. Twentyfour hours later the team arrived in Blantyre Malawi. Already at Blantyre Airport were team members from the UK - Dr. Festus Ighodaro (Dentist); Ms. Rose Tudor; and Ms. Maria De Fatima Dias Richards. Brother Chimezie Onyebilanma, Southern Africa Regional Coordinator for Calvary Ministries soon arrived from South Africa and Brother Emmanuel Akawa, Calvary Ministries' Malawi National Coordinator was at the airport to meet the team. As soon as everyone was gathered the team began a four hour journey by road from Blantyre to the CAPRO base at Mangochi. The US and UK teams arrived Mangochi about 10 p.m. and were welcomed by Sister Praise Akawa, Brother Emmanuel's wife and partner, as well as Abusa Daniel Piri and his wife. A six man medical team from Project Heart to Heart arrived later on Sunday evening and with that the team was now complete and ready to head out.
"I am amazed at the workings of God. It is the first time in the history of of Calvary Ministries Malawi that I see God mobilize such a large workforce and in just one week did such a great work using high level professionals from around the world". With these comments the Malawi National Coordinator of Calvary Ministries (CAPRO) began his formal report following the 2017 joint missions outreach with the African Christian Fellowship USA, Inc. (ACFUSA) and Project Heart to Heart Ministries (PHH) of Malawi from September 2 - 10, 2017. Malawi is the latest of several Africa centered Mission outreaches of ACFUSA, Inc., and the The Malawi outreach is spearheaded by the Midwest Region of ACFUSA, Inc.
Founded in 1977 as African Christian Students Fellowship the evolution of ACF USA's missions outreach to Africa began in the early 1990s with short term mission trips by a handful of individual members. A more organized and systematic version later emerged with the assigning of specific regions of Africa to each of ACFUSA's four regions in order to avoid duplication of effort. Southern Africa was assigned to the Midwest Region of the ACFUSA. Until recently ACF Midwest Region focused on the country of Burundi but with the successful completion, in 2015, of the last of the Burundi projects the focus shifted to the country of Malawi.
The 2017 visit to Malawi was initially intended as an exploratory visit to assess potential partnerships however after subsequent discussions between the ACF Midwest Region Missions Coordinator, Dr. Jimmy Adegoke with CAPRO's Southern Africa Regional Coordinator, Brother Chimezie Onyebilanma the visit quickly advanced from mere exploration to a full blown medical mission outreach.
On sunday morning the team worshiped at the Mangochi Yao Church across the street from the CAPRO facility. A lively time of praise and worship in the YAO language followed by time of testimony and preaching of the word all in the YAO language. Brother Akawa interpreted for the non natives, and God was glorified.
Monday through Friday the team traveled to a different village each day for medical missions. A total of 1,202 people were seen during the five days of clinics. At each locaiton we set up seven posts for Registration, Vital signs, Consulation, Laboratory tests (primarily fo rmalaria), Spiritual Counseling/Prayer, Dental unit and Pharmacy. The team generally left the Mangochi CAPRO base between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. each morning, and would be set up and ready to go between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. With the exception of the first day, we were able to close registration at 3p.m. and wrapped up seeing the last registered patient between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. We made it back to base between 9pm and 10 p.m.
The first village visited on Monday was Namakango where we consulted with about 300 people. On day two we went to Chiponde and saw 200 people. Day three at Machilinga we saw 320 people. Day four at Sili we saw 301 people and on Saturday at Mangochi (home base) we saw 81 people.
The Malawi missions trip could not have been better positioned for success. At each of the five locations we visited CAPRO either has a local contact or contacts who are either native to the people group or proficient in the local language. This made it easy to commumicate with the locals most of whom did not speak English. We were warmly recieved at each village and it was evident to us that many were praying for us. We had steady supply of electricity throughout our stay, which is not usually the case. Our hard working bus did not have a major breakdown. No one on the team had a major health issue, and in each village the people were receptive to both the medical assistance we brought and the message of the gospel.
As the team prepared wrapped up on the last evening, we were in agreement that Malawi medical mission deserves to become a yearly event. The CAPRO relationship gives us a predermined target audience. The Project Heart to Heart relationship gives us a local medical expertise which helps with a better understanding of the medical issues as well as getting the necessary drugs. The PHH team was also very helpful with setting up the various posts especially with most sites being in an open field or under trees. We made note of critical areas that need improvement for the next visit, and everyone on the team was excited with the thought of Malawi 2018, God willing.
Much appreciation to everyone who prayed, contributed money, called or texted while we were. We know that God has set the ACF apart for a time like this, and for a people such as we saw in Malawi. We are praying for a larger team for 2018, and even more resources to make a lasting impact. In a subsequent letter to the team the CAPRO Malawi National Leader stated as follows: "God is bringing revival to some of the churches that we have planted. They are coming up with programs meant for revival in their churches. We are trusting God for leadership teachings, in the coming weeks as we round up the year". "Our Day Care Center in Mangochi as well as our primary shcool in Chiponde have received tremendous attention in terms of educational and other material support of various kind. The primary school have had to regulate the number of pupoils to avoid overpopulation". These comments are clearly a demonstration of the ripeness of the Malawi field for harvest, and we are excited about what lies ahead in Malawi for ACFUSA, for CAPRO, for Project Heart to Heart, for the People of Malawi, and above all, for the work of the ministry among the people.