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In the ‘Israel of Africa,’ Bible college refocuses, partners with Bear Valley

MZUZU, Malawi — “The Israel of Africa.”

That’s how minister Priestly Nkhonjera once described his native Malawi, a tiny country in southern Africa. In 2000 an estimated one out of every 50 Malawians was a church member, according to research by Mark Berryman and Wendell Broom.

But Churches of Christ are failing to keep pace with Malawi’s rapid population growth. The country, now home to 16.3 million souls, could reach a population of 26 million by 2030, according to demographers. Multiple faiths — including Islam — are growing. 

“That’s why missions are still needed,” said Mike Linkous, an elder of the Thomaston Road Church of Christ in Macon, Ga., which has overseen the Mzuzu Bible College in Malawi’s Northern Region since the 1990s. The school was lauched in the 1960s by James D. “Jimmy” Judd. The missionary and his wife, Clydene, initially agreed to serve in Malawi for three years but stayed there for more than 45. Their son, Randy, continued the work.

In recent years, conflicts over the college’s trust and property have threatened to stifle that work, said elders of the Thomaston Road church. 

Marc Veary
In 2014, Randy Judd invited British missionaries Marc and Christine Veary “to become involved in the mission work and to take it to the next level,” Linkous said. Marc Veary, now director of the college and chairman of its board, has worked to resolve conflicts at the school and within the Jomo Road Church of Christ in Mzuzu. 

“Over the past 16 months, Marc’s tireless work ethic and leadership have established a high level of spirituality and professionalism at the school,” said Linkous, who visited the work recently.

In addition to updating the curriculum and reestablishing gospel campaigns to the villages of northern Malawi, Veary helped form a partnership between the school and Bear Valley Bible Institute, a Denver-based ministry training school that has 18 extensions in 15 nations worldwide.

This year the college has 62 students studying in its two-year program — up from 19 in 2015, Linkous said.

The Vearys recently launched a program to translate material for Malawian Bible class teachers, preachers and elders into the local language and a vocational training program to help Christians earn income through carpentry, tailoring, welding and maize mill maintenance.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, and to learn about supporting the work in Mzuzu, contact the Thomaston Road Church of Christ or see mzuzubiblecollege.org.

Filed under: Headlines - Secondary Partners

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