Aberdeen St Mark’s Malawi Committee

In May 2018 the Kirk Session of St Mark’s Church decided to end the Twinning Arrangement with Mpachika Church, Malawi.  This stemmed from an Aberdeen Presbytery decision to terminate the agreement it had with Blantyre Presbytery.  Additionally the members of the St Mark’s Malawi Committee had also resigned partly due to a lack of contact from Malawi over a period of time.

The decision was formally intimated to Mpachika, firstly by email to Lasmore Mbotwa from former Chairman, David Yacamini and subsequently to the Mpachika Minister, Rev Hudson Koseko by St Mark’s Acting Session Clerk, Alex McConochie.

MalawiThe “St Mark’s Malawi Committee”, was established in June 2009 and its membership updated in June 2012 following departures.  Membership then comprised Margaret Donald, Rosalyn Rennie, (who have both been to Mpachika) and Bethany Hogg, Carol Main, Beatrice Sutherland and David Yacamini who is Convener.  In 2015 Margaret Donald passed away and Bethany left Aberdeen to study in Glasgow and has been replaced by Jillian Carrol.  Oliver Heydari and Carol Main also joined the Committee.  Further changes took place in 2016, with Rosalyn Rennie stepping Down and Carrol Main taking a break.  You can read reports from the Committee in our Church magazine, the Messenger  or in the Messenger Archive. Some of the older material from the magazine is now on this page.  Other Malawi material can be found by clicking on the Menu buttons below, each of which will open a new window.

As of November 2016 the Committee members are: David Yacamini (Convener), Beatrice Sutherland, Jillian Carrol and Oliver Heydari.

We start with a general overview which covers the period from the start of our ‘Twinning’ up to 2013.  And as an update the 2015 Button takes us up to August 2015.  The 2016 button takes us to the Committee’s plans for 2016 and later we will add details of the 2016 visit to Aberdeen by the latest Malawi delegation.

The following buttons deal with other specific events/visits etc.

With the advent of our use of the services provided by  ISSUU.COM new material is now available exclusively in the Messenger or Archive (although some news is expanded in these pages).

Baxter’s Inverness 10K

Valerie Kemp is a member of the Malawi Committee and is running the Baxter’s Inverness 10K on Sunday 3rd October 2010.

“In my wisdom, I decided I needed a fresh challenge and what better way to do that than by training for the next 6 weeks by going out running every morning, whatever the weather!

Ten kilometres is just over six miles (about the same as a journey from St Mark’s to Dyce) so it is no easy task for someone more used to running to lectures than road running.  I hope to raise money to pay for a borehole in Blantyre province, Malawi.

Anyone who donates will be able to take part in my “Guess my time” competition – guess my time to the closest second and the person nearest my actual time on the 3rd October will win a special prize. I would be very grateful for any support the folks of St Mark’s can offer me, whether that be a donation or a bit of verbal encouragement – it will be needed!”

August 2010

On Sunday 1 August we held a “Pot Luck Picnic” after worship which was well attended.  Members of the Congregation provided individual food items and they and others enjoyed a two course meal of salad etc and sweet and also made a donation.  We had a retiring offering for those unable to stay for the “Picnic” which was held in the hall.  A total of £272.80 was collected and a further £50.00 was added from previous donations for the DVD of John Watson’s last service.  A total of £324.80 was therefore given to Presbytery’s Malawi Twinning Fund to help defray the additional costs of September’s visit.

Summer 2010 “Messenger” Article

The newsletter for Malawi is now ready and electronic copies have been sent to Malawi.  Paper copies are now available in the vestibule for the congregation to read at their leisure.

There will be a Pot Luck Picnic on Sunday 1st August.  This will be held in the Church Hall.  Please put this date in your diary.  Our last Pot Luck Lunch was well supported and very successful.

As you know our Malawian friends are coming over from the 2nd to 16th September.  Our visitors from Mpachika are Mary and Rose and below you will find a personal profile on each lady.  Hosts are needed for part of their visit.  A host is required to provide a bed, breakfast, transport and some dinners.  If you feel that you could help please speak with either Margaret Donald or Rosalyn Rennie.

Our Mpachika partnership is viewed, in Aberdeen Presbytery, as one of the most successful and with your continued help this is sure to be the case in years to come.

Mary Ngwirai

Mary is the Deputy Session Clerk at Mpachika, assisting Austin Katunga who visited last time.  She is the co-ordinator of the Women’s Guild, Sunday School and Evangelism and Building Committee.   She is 44 years old, married with children.  She likes listening to gospel music, reading novels, chatting with friends and working in her garden at home.  Her favourite dish is chicken with rice.

She sends her warm greetings to all.

Rose Mbotwa

Rose is married and the mother of three, Gift, Austin and Memory.  She and her family are dedicated to God’s service.  A housewife, and together with a neighbour, she also does some small scale poultry farming as a business.  She trained in Home Economics and Adult Literacy at Malingunde Women’s Training School in the early 90’s.

Rose loves praying, chatting with friends, reading the Bible and singing in the Mvano Choir.  She was Secretary of the Guilds,   Chairlady of the Guilds’ Choir from 2006 until February this year and during this time she led the Choir to the production of its first and only Album, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord” (In vernacular language: “Pfuulila kwa yehova”).   Her favourite food in Nisma with beef.  She does not like cold weather.  She loves visiting places and is looking forward to seeing a lot on this visit to Aberdeen.

Spring 2010 “Messenger” Article

Following the success of the Pot Luck Lunch before Christmas, the Malawi Committee has thrown itself into 2010 with a number of projects. Our main concern at the moment is contributing towards the funds being sought by the city-wide Malawi Partnership Committee to send containers of goods to Malawi; about £12,000 is required to do this.

On Friday 19th February St Mark’s arranged a concert featuring Craig Pike and Friends which raised over £900. Despite the atrocious weather conditions, there was an excellent turnout. It was a wonderful evening featuring songs from the shows as well as classic Scots tunes and a few surprises! We are very grateful to Craig and to Anne Donaldson and her team for their hard work both in and out of the kitchen.

Another event, a coffee morning, was held in St Mark’s on Saturday 27th February. The Malawi Committee all donned their aprons and we were very pleased to donate the funds to the visit of the Malawian delegation in September.  (Note the proceeds went to the Container Fund as the travel costs were fully raised.)

Spring brings with it the prospect of another Pot Luck Lunch and preparations for the forthcoming visit of a delegation of Malawians in September. St Mark’s will be assisting in the programme as well as hosting visitors too. This promises to be an exciting time for everyone.

Winter 2009 “Messenger” Article

MALAWI UPDATE REPORT From Mary Ngwira in Malawi {September}

For the kitchen project we are at roofing stage as John promised to send us money for the roofing. We have received the funds, about £2000 (St Mark’s £1500 plus £500 from John Watson).  It has taken about three weeks if not a month to get cleared by the bank. It was only yesterday when we were called by the bank that our money has finally been cleared. Converting in Malawi Kwacha its about MKw458,161.51. We are sure if we buy iron sheets and other materials ourselves we will manage to finish off the roofing stage, thereafter what will remain is finishing off, this will need extra funds i.e. plastering both in and out, floor cabinets etc, so that we can declare the kitchen is finished according to the plan. After finishing roofing we will sent you pictures and actual expenditures on roofing for both (material/labour charges).

Apart from the kitchen project we are also building offices behind the Church. I hope we showed you the plan that time you came. It is also on roofing stage. We had fund-raising (Big paper Sundays) on March quarter and June Quarter respectively. From the funds we accumulated from 1st quarter we started with foundation, from 2nd quarter building walls inclusive of office rooms, now we are about to finish up to roofing level. We are planning for another big paper Sunday this quarter to have funds for roofing process.

The Woman’s Guild, with the machine you gave us, are busy sewing their uniforms for the big launch they are having on 4th October.  With the money you gave to the Woman’s Guild choir, they have managed to produce an Audio CD with which, I am sure, they will realise a lot of money after selling them from this launch.  We need your prayers and support so that these functions should be successful.

As for Sunday School, they are going for their final plays.  They participating with other Churches within the Blantyre Synod.  Some of our children got good grades on poems, drama, bible verses, gestures etc and were chosen to participate in the final draws this weekend at Presbytery Office.

These are the latest updates so far.
Greeting to you all and we love you all.

Autumn 2009 “Messenger” Article

A Committee has been set up comprising  Margaret Donald, Valerie Kemp, Roddy Mowat, Rosalyn Rennie Kath McBain and David Yacamini.  One of the committee’s aims is to maintain the high level of contact between St. Mark’s and Mpachika.  Please keep an eye out for future events which include a concert at the end of October, a coffee morning early in the New Year and a visit from our friends in Malawi in September 2010.  We look forward to your continued support.

Winter 2008 “Messenger” Articles

My 17 Days in Malawi

As Convenor of the Malawi Partnership Group I led a party of 23 to Malawi in September of this year for a 17 day visit of our partner churches.  After a long journey and three flights from Aberdeen we arrived early morning in Lilongwe to be met by an eager television crew who wanted to interview me.  I know I looked a sight:  I was dressed in the same clothes I had left in from Aberdeen the day before. I needed a shave, my hair was  tousled from trying to sleep on the aircraft.  However, I managed to give a good interview which was aired on Malawi television for about 10 days.

After a further five hours cramped up in a bus we arrived in Blantyre to be met by about thirty or forty members of the Mpachika Women’s Guild who had come to greet us all and help us make our way to our hosts’ homes where we were to spend our stay.  That was the beginning of a rapturous welcome that was to continue throughout the whole time we were there.  To say that both Kath and I were treated like Royalty is an understatement and we were aware of that welcome and the love everywhere we went.

To those of you who think I was away on holiday I would ask you to think again.  I was in a country that has become special to me among a people who are also special and I wanted to give as much of myself as I possibly could.  A lot was crammed into my time there but Sunday 14th September may highlight for you how I spent my time.

I was awakened at 6am and told my bath was ready.  Bath meant a large basin filled with hot water, which you stepped into and proceeded to wash yourself all over.  No shower facilities, but it was fun.  I had breakfast, then was picked up and taken down to Mpachika church to start the Service.  When Kath and I arrived there several of the 8 choirs were already practicing.  The service started at 6.30am and people started to arrive many having set out several hours earlier.  We ended the first service about 8am, had some tea and bread and butter before starting the 8.30am service.  During this service I was preaching and conducting the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  During that same service I baptized 31 babies and conducted 11 marriages.  At the close of the service I conducted a Healing Service to which something like 240 people came for healing.

At the close of that service (1.30pm) Kath and I were taken to one of the Cottages where lunch was provided for about 120 people, including us.  After lunch we were taken to a home where I was asked to share in a funeral of a young lady that had died of aids the day before.  I felt intrusive, but could never have expected the way I was welcomed by the family of the deceased and family friends.  That I had taken the time to do what I did, gone to the bother of finding out something about the lady and speaking about it and going to the graveside meant more to that family than anything you care to mention.  Incidentally, her death meant another 4 Aids orphans added to the long list in Mpachika.  They are more fortunate than some of the other children as they would be farmed out to other relatives.  Some of the other orphans are not so lucky.

After conducting the funeral it was back to my host’s house to change and be picked up again for a dinner back at Grace Bandawe Centre at 6.30pm.  Who said ministers only work 1 day a week!  It was tiring, exhausting and demanding, but it was wonderful and I would do it all again tomorrow, if I could.

Mpachika is a wonderful partnership and over the next few months I will be trying to raise some more funds for the project that I started.  I know that you will help me.

Thank You, all of you.

Dolls for Malawi

I would like to thank everyone who has been involved with knitting dolls for Malawi.  We took some over to the Orphan Feeding programme in April and the look on the  children’s faces when they received the dolls was priceless. I am hoping I will soon be sending more dolls and the ones I have already received are very individual and unique.  PLEASE, PLEASE don’t feel that you have to stop knitting, the need is there for more.

Dolls can be handed to Rosalyn at Church or call 01224 620346 to arrange to leave them at 17 Northfield Place. Many thanks for all your work, I hope it has been an enjoyable experience; it certainly is going to be appreciated in Malawi.

If anyone would like to join in and knit dolls, patterns are still available – contact Rosalyn on the above number.

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