Between 80 and 90 pastors attended daily for Bible teaching over a 5-day period 5th to 9th October at Zioya, near Ntcheu, in southern Malawi. Those attending represented a wide cross-section of church denominations. Some had travelled over 100 miles to attend the conference and approximately 40 delegates stayed overnight. Few, if any, of the delegates had previously received any formal Bible teaching to assist them in their ministries.
The conference, now in its second year, is an extension ministry of ECRAD Malawi and serves pastors in rural communities unable to get any formal training for their ministries.
During the conference the Inductive Method of Bible Study was explained over four 1½ hour daily sessions. The course was run in the form of an interactive seminar with worked examples for delegates to develop their skills in Bible understanding and interpretation. The greater part of each day was spent studying the Sermon on the Mount. Each day included two formal teaching sessions and two workshops or question and answer sessions. The Q&A sessions were most enlightening. Through the generosity of friends Bibles were presented to all delegates not having their own copy.
Prior to leaving the UK an outline of the teaching for all sessions was sent to Malawi where the English version was translated into Chichewa, the national language. Translated notes were emailed back to the UK and printed in A5 booklet form for issue to all those attending. Booklets were also printed in English for those preferring English copies. Pictured is a workshop session where use of both Bibles and booklets can be seen.
ECRAD at Ntcheu played host to 80-90 Pastors from near and far
The host for the week was Rev Hon Malison Ndau, a graduate of the former International Christian College, Glasgow. Malison, an ordained pastor, is also an MP and was appointed as Deputy Minister of Defence in the Malawi government in August 2015. Malison is also a Director of ECRAD, Malawi.
All delegates at the conference received two meals per day (breakfast and lunch). Those staying overnight also had an evening meal. Pictured right are two members of the catering team distributing lunch to a hungry delegate.
The conference budget was met by ECRAD Scotland who, with ECRAD Malawi, works to serve orphans.
11,000+ air miles, six flights, 93 delegates, 53 church groups, 25 sessions and five days of teaching are simply statistics behind ECRAD’s first Pastor’s Conference held in October 2014. The story behind the statistics was deeply encouraging as 85-90 delegates gathered daily for Bible teaching and study.
An intensive five days comprising five elements per day included devotional messages from the life of Elijah, an overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation highlighting key events in God’s calendar, formal teaching and workshops. Each day’s study featured a different book across the Testaments – Genesis, Psalms, Nehemiah, John’s Gospel and Ephesians. The workshops included discussion groups with pre-set questions, a feedback time and question and answer sessions. All delegates participated enthusiastically in the interactive sessions.
The mix of delegates cut right across traditional denominational divides and included Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, JW’s, RC’s and one Muslim – a truly remarkable group of people with a genuine interest in the Word of God. Outline notes of all the teaching and questions for discussion were translated into Chichewa and issued to delegates. Bibles were given to all attendees as well as an Attendance Certificate.
Overnight accommodation was provided for those unable to travel daily together with meals for all delegates. All sessions were translated into the local language by a gifted team of interpreters. The pictures below show a formal teaching and workshop sessions.
It is over a week since the Malawi President declared a state of emergency over a third of the country, caused by severe flooding as a month’s rain fell in 24 hours. Now the need is greater still. Heavy rains continue as people take stock of the loss and destruction caused by the flooding and hurricane winds.
176 people have been reported dead, many more are missing, and 200,000 have lost their homes. The attached photos give a little indication of their plight, the third photo along shows a lady standing where her house once was. These photos are shown with permission from the Edinburgh Medical Mission Society,( EMMS) to whom we are grateful.
In the south, the city of Blantyre has suffered severe damage with artery roads and bridges destroyed, electricity pylons down and bore wells contaminated.
Fortunately , the Ecrad Orphan Care and Primary school has been spared any serious damage, but Malison tells me the access road from the town of Ntcheu is impassable , even with his 4×4 Nissan.
Villages in Malison’s Constituency have been decimated. School and Church buildings have been severely damaged , 180 homes I understand have been left uninhabitable, Gardens with Maize seeds laid recently have been washed away. There will be a real food shortage in Malawi later this year.
If you are able to donate to the Ecrad Flood Relief fund, we will make sure that all donations are directed to the areas of greatest need.
Ecrad is a ‘relief’ Charity as well as providing Orphan care. You can donate via the Ecrad Home Page ( or https://my.give.net/ecradfloodrelief ) or email Derek Wood or Ronnie Copeland and we will guide you on how best to donate. Ronnie will be able to apply gift aid on most donations. We have already sent £1000 from our funds, which was used mainly to purchase basic food and drinking water.