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The View From Home

A Letter from Tyler Holm, serving in Malawi

Fall 2019

Write to Tyler Holm

Individuals: Give to E200532 for Tyler Holm’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507572 for Tyler Holm’s sending and support

Faculty of Theology: Give to E052124 to support the University of Livingstonia Faculty of Theology

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

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Having now lived in Malawi for seven years, the longest I (Tyler) have ever been in one home, it becomes easy to overlook the amazing realities of life here and focus on the mundane day-to-day work of staff meetings and deadlines. This letter will be from a different perspective: we’ve been blessed to welcome many different visitors and short-term mission teams over the years, but recently my parents spent three weeks observing our work, and here is their report on what we are doing in Malawi, in their words.

In August of this year, we (Tyler’s parents) were privileged to go to Malawi and to see their work up close and personal. It was thrilling to see many changes and growth in not only our granddaughter, but also in the training of new pastors and in the growth of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi.

The local Viyele Congregation CCAP Church where Tyler, Rochelle and Mphatso attend has a packed sanctuary in both the English and Chitumbuka languages. The church has a feeding program during the week to help the homeless and needy people. Rochelle and Mphatso usually go to help cut up vegetables for the meal, but one week Jerry, Marian and Mphatso also went to get a feeling of what goes on with this program. Mphatso is a great tomato, onion and potato cutter!

Of course a main highlight of the trip was to spend time with Mphatso (Tyler and Rochelle come after that!). Mphatso is almost six years old and looking forward to her birthday in November. She is tall for her age, and of course we think she is very smart as she is working on learning her multiplication tables, is a great speller and is reading pretty difficult books for her age.

We were delighted in the growth of the facilities at Tyler’s school, Ekwendeni Campus of the University of Livingstonia. Since our last visit three years ago, a new large lecture hall has been built, there is a new women’s dormitory, and there is a new library under construction. It is customary in Malawi to introduce visitors to leaders at the seminary, and although many were gone for the break between sessions, we were privileged to meet Dr. Joyce Miengu, who is the Deputy Principal for the whole Ekwendeni campus. It was interesting to learn that she had been in Tacoma, WA and had used the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and University of Washington libraries for her PhD research. We also were pleased to meet Rev. Nkhonjera, who is the registrar for the Ekwendeni campus.

Probably the highlight of the trip was meeting one of Tyler’s former students, Rev. Lasson Kamanga, at Chikwena CCAP Church. This rural church was a bumpy 1.5 hours from Tyler and Rochelle’s home. Rev. Kamanga earned a Bachelor’s in Theology degree from the University of Livingstonia. Rev. Kamanga and his wife have been at the congregation for just eight months, which includes the main church and four prayer houses, for a total membership of 850 members. Rev. Kamanga walks four hours (one way!) each week to meet with one of the prayer houses for a day. In Malawi the need for trained pastors is enormous, and the University of Livingstonia’s Seminary is working to train pastors to go out to these far distant churches. It was thrilling to see Tyler’s role in helping to address this goal.

While at Rev. Lasson Kamanga’s church, it was humbling to be treated so kindly and royally. Rev. Kamanga would speak in his native language and then turn to us and explain what was said in English. Following the service we were invited for a special Malawian dinner at his home behind the church.

The drive to the airport to leave Malawi and return to the USA is a four-to-five-hour car ride. The morning light was beautiful and it highlighted the surrounding hills and mountains, which has left an enduring picture of how beautiful the country of Malawi is. It also brings to mind Romans 10:15 which says, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ That is exactly what the Livingstonia Seminary is preparing pastors to do … to bring the Good News to the people who live out in these hills and mountains of Malawi.”

Please continue to support our ministry and the work of the University of Livingstonia. The work of the PC(USA) partnering with the CCAP is not possible without your generosity, and we thank you for your continued support. To support my position with the University of Livingstonia through E200532 (Congregations D507572) and the growing programs of the Faculty of Theology through E052124.

Tyler


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