UK Volunteers visit Shine Village August – September 2016
Volunteers Cameron and Hannah traveling from Hull in the UK came together with Shine staff Suzen, Anthony, Sheila, Susan and Grace, and volunteers Hastings Zidana, Temwa, Agnes and Fatima to host 3 days of activities at Shine Village.
Together they led children’s and youth sessions, formed a choir, trained the Early Years teachers and the young mothers Group and held a community outreach event which resulted in many sick children being healed and parents and young people committing their lives to Jesus. Later in the week the team split up to visit the local clinics, and a hospital, offering prayer and giving out baby items from the UK. Two visits to the main AOG church in Zomba ended the week as they encouraged both the youth and main congregations through worship and talks given. Bibles purchased from the local store were gratefully received by those from the community who returned to Shine Centre at the end of the week.
The second week began with a visit to an established children’s home in Blantrye were the team saw first hand how a children’s home operates and the learned of the challenges facing this vital work.
Visits to some of the homes of the children supported by Shine in the community took place later in the week and the team had the privilege to meet the care givers and siblings of our students in their homes. We assisted one of the families who needed medical attention. For those who live far from the clinic, we saw first hand just how important the support Shine Relief gives in this area and how poor the services offered there are, mainly due to the lack of staff. The tour brought home to the team the reality of daily lives lived out in these rural communities, as they talked and prayed through issues facing the families. One student had set too to build a small mud house during his vacation. Meeting his Grandma and the rest of the family who all lived together in cramped conditions gave the context for his amazing project which was now only needing a roof. Grandma shared concerns about the house and how she felt her grandson’s efforts might be in vain if he didn’t return from boarding school in time to finish the roof to protect the home from the coming rains.
The team’s final task was to help build a playground using recycled tyres and bamboo. It was complemented by the delivery of new locally made playground equipment much to the delight of the children in the area. So the last day at Shine Village began with 60 under 5’s being carefully escorted around the brightly coloured slide, swing and sea-saw in groups of 20 and ended with the playground swelling to over 100 as children from the surrounding villages found their way to join in the fun!! It was simply chaos instructing so may eager, excited children how to get on and off each piece but they soon learned it was best to take turns rather than all climb on at the same time! Kids are great!
Other activities during our visit
Trustees joined in the events at Shine Village over the two weeks and attended meetings with the staff, volunteers and also the leaders we work alongside in the community. Together with Shines staff team we also managed our first ever Mountain Walk taking 18 young people out of the village to join with friends and family on the top of Zomba mountain. See the event here.
A new church plant near Domasi made totally from straw and bamboo was the first church we visited. We were welcomed into the church by Pastors Joseph and Convela and their small, lively congregation who’s praises flooded out into the community all around. After Suzen addressed the church and Phil preached the team ministered to the whole church praying for all found sick and in need. We certainly encountered Gods love and power that day.
Later in the week, we spent a half day in the heart of an enormous community celebration – The TA Chiefs Coronation Ceremony! It was indeed an honour to have been invited as we got one of the best seats in the house. Whilst the majority of people sat out in the baking heat we sat sheltered beneath a canopy erected for all the areas officials and headmen. We watched traditional dancers, musicians and singers perform some amazing traditional dances in honour of this very special occasion.
The team worked very hard and showed commitment to every task finding ways to connect with all those around which at times was not easy! So well done to Cameron, Hastings, Hannah, Tamwa and also Agnes and Fatima who joined various activities helping to translate for us! You can read more about the trip from Cameron’s blog here as he talks about the challenges he faced and how he learnt to trust God and process this whole adventure! https://cameroninmalawi.wordpress.com
“I started the day without any running water – because the pipe had broken, no electricity and I ended the day playing African football, riding home in the back of a trailer, and killing a pigeon!” Cameron
“I was compelled and convicted by the Holy Spirit and this is not at all an arrogant boast at how great a disciple I am. Not at all! I simply chose that morning to surrender myself to God’s will and it was God’s will for me to reflect His love and compassion upon someone in dire circumstances. All I want to remind you is that this is the gospel, that we love others as Jesus loves them because we aren’t very good at loving people by nature – we need that compassionate boost from Jesus.” Cameron
“Overall the way of life is just filled with so many challenges it results in constantly having to lay down plans and embrace the “Malawi way of life” with our own way and our expectations quickly become a distant memory! “Malawi tomorrow” is any date in the future, sometimes you are surprised and it is actually is tomorrow but for most things – our gas bottle and our bible order in particular …it’ll come ” Malawi tomorrow”! We were still waiting when we got on the plane!! Lighting candles throughout our trip became normal as did cooking over charcoal and dealing with cold water during the regular power cuts. Finishing off dinner for breakfast if the power returned back on was a good one! The hot, dark evenings which descended on us like a tonne of bricks didn’t take too long to adjust to but the speed at which they would often hit us always was a challenge to deal with, as it was always whilst still travelling somewhere! They say don’t travel at night! The rough roads filled with potholes and array with a constant variety of hazards coming from the left and the right – wandering small children (some carrying smaller children) and stray goats, makes you feel like you had been transported into one of those XBOX games – man on wobbly bike carrying a set of table and chairs, small family perched on another bike behind, weaving in and out of the street vendors carrying live chickens and flip-flops…. Wow, it certainly kept our drivers on their toes! Most of the time we were in high spirits singing and laughing through each challenge we faced and we would arrive ready to jump into the next activity, adapting to many new situations, to the customs, the greetings, the food – especially the nsmia. But the best thing was the way we would try to end a trip at night – to stop off at the gas station and grab a Malawi fanta! Oh yes we all loved the cold sweet fanta… It even replaced our cup of tea! ” Deborah