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Tyler Holm and His Family in Malawi

A Letter from Tyler Holm, serving in Malawi

Spring 2023

Write to Tyler Holm

Individuals: Give online to E132192 in honor of Tyler Holm’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Tyler Holm’s ministry

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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Dear friends,

We are busy resettling into our life and calling here in Malawi after our family spent about two years in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost everyone around the world has seen more change in just a few years than many see in a generation. Yet, also like the proverbial frog in a slowly boiling pot, some changes are not recognized as we go through them. As some parts of the world are looking forward to a new way of living with COVID as a persistent presence, Malawi is reeling from a new pandemic, cholera, that has received little global attention. This is a bacterial disease spread by fecal-oral transmission, which means contaminated food or water is ingested and then causes serious diarrhea and vomiting. The Malawi Ministry of Health now states that over one thousand Malawians have died from this outbreak in this short time of cholera outbreak, in comparison around 2,700 have died of COVID-19 in the past three years.

Tyler has now completed two terms and teaching six courses in both the Bachelor and Master of Theology programs at the University of Livingstonia, a ministry of our local church partner, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian. This gives both a moment to take a pause and a landmark to think back about our reintegration into Malawian society. Having been teaching at the University of Livingstonia for 10 years now, it is a great encouragement when alumni stop in to visit.

Whenever we are in the USA and meeting with churches and individuals we are often asked about our lives and home in Mzuzu. It is both difficult and a joy to share about as home is so normal and unremarkable to us at times. Seeing things through the eyes of others though gives us a good reminder of the amazing blessing it is to live in such a beautiful and caring community. Having had to be away for two years, we have a great deal of appreciation for what we sometimes take for granted. With that, lets take you on a visual tour of some of our surroundings.

Charcoal is a common fuel for cooking, although technically it is illegal, and can be bought at nearly any market area in small heaps.

Most areas of Mzuzu have access to electricity, but not every household has service. Electricity is prepaid in Malawi, units are bought in advance and loaded onto a household meter.

Malawi has very few private household landline telephones, it was almost skipped over for private cell phones. Cell phone towers can be seen on many ridge lines, even in the most rural areas. 

While paved roads have increased (slowly) over the last 10 years in our neighbourhood, most roads remain dirt. The paved road sometimes just ends abruptly. 

Bicycle taxis are a common way to get around town, they congregate at intersections ready for their next rider.  They have a padded bike rack as the seat for the rider and often have colorful reflectors. 

Piped water access has increased in Mzuzu with the expansion of the system over the last 10 years.

It is always refreshing to be reminded of the privilege it is to be living in our wonderful community for these 10 years. To see how Mphatso sees things is always a highlight. This is what she says:

The neighbourhood is a good place for having to get friends and fun. The neighbourhood has its own two churches. Many people are eating the traditional food called nsima (corn porage) and mpangwe (mixed cooked vegetables).

The people in the neighbourhood is very nice. They have been very helpful that is what we do here in Malawi. In Malawi we all help people every day.  

Our neighbourhood is across from the University of Mzuzu. The university has its own children’s library in the campus They are building another library for the students. 

Our neighbourhood is unique and wonderful to live in.  We honour our community. 


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