Salve for the Suffering: Malawi Leader Shares Testimony amid Trying Times
By Sarah Hunnicutt
Reverend Emmanuel Masamba, national leader for the Church of God in Malawi, exudes joy when he speaks of his work and the over 9,000 members of the Church of God he’s been called to help guide. Despite the challenges faced by the country and, in turn, members of the church community, there is a sense of hope that God is working and confidence that they can be a part of his work in this southeastern African nation.
In January and March of 2022, Malawi was devastated by two cyclones that caused torrential rainfall, major flooding, and mudslides. Homes were destroyed and entire regions were cut off from access to hospitals as the roads turned to rivers. Sugar fields were covered in mud and many people simply disappeared as the floods swept them, their vehicles, and their houses away. Thousands of Church of God people in Malawi were affected by these cyclones, and Rev. Masamba and his team of 118 pastors found themselves with the charge of finding and stewarding resources to help those who had lost everything. More recently high winds and torrential downpours due to Cyclone Freddy have given way to further catastrophic flooding and devastation.
Church of God Disaster Relief funding was used to aid in the immediate aftermath of the cyclones. The Disaster Relief partnership sought to assist over 2,800 Church of God families whose homes were destroyed and to provide emergency nutrition and sanitation to over 8,400 Church of God people affected by the storms. The task of helping people rebuild their lives after the devastation is ongoing as people create new homes, plant new gardens, and start over again.
While much focus was placed on the practical needs of the people impacted by the cyclones, Rev. Masamba and Church of God leaders in Malawi also took into account the spiritual health of the congregation and surrounding community. Because so many congregants had been displaced, Church of God leaders in Malawi worked together to offer Easter prayers in a strategic location so members who had been affected could still gather. Almost 2,000 people were present.
“God was working,” said Rev. Masamba, as he reflected on the gathering. “It was a medicine to the wound that they were suffering. They needed hope. Their hope was in the Lord. They needed someone who could stand and encourage them. This was our achievement.”
Story produced from Episode 5 of Season 6 of A World of Good podcast. Tune in for the whole story: https://chogglobal.org/podcast/s6e5/. The disaster in Malawi is ongoing; more testimonies of God’s goodness amid crisis are anticipated.
Sarah Hunnicutt recently served the Church of God as a missionary for Global Strategy to Roatan, Honduras. She also serves as a freelance writer for Church of God Ministries.
Feature (top) photo: Cyclone damage across Malawi in January 2022.