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The long road from Macon to Malawi

Erik Tryggestad flies from Lilongwe, Malawi, to Johannesburg, South Africa on South African Airways. That’s me in seat 15D. (Photo by Dick Stephens)

Blogging live from Jamaica, N.Y.
No, I’m not relaxing on the beaches of Jamaica in the Caribbean. Rather, I’m typing at a table in Terminal 7 of JFK airport, just outside New York City.
I’m returning from a two-week reporting trip for our Global South series to Swaziland, South Africa and Malawi.
It will take me weeks to process all of the information I’ve gathered, but the one thought that sticks out in my mind is that we truly are a family of believers — no matter what continent we call home.
That’s particularly true of Malawi — a country I’ve heard about since I was 5 years old. My home congregation, the Southside Church of Christ in Macon, Ga., (now Thomaston Road Church of Christ) supported James “Jimmy” Judd, a longtime missionary to Malawi. Now his son, Randy, carries on the work.

Randy Judd

I couldn’t make it all the way up to Mzuzu, the city in northern Malawi where the Judds live. But Randy and his wife, Marty, were gracious enough to trek southward to Senga Bay to meet me and Dick Stephens of The Malawi Project on the shores of beautiful Lake Malawi.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast named Cool Runnings, which has no connection to the movie about the Jamaican bobsled team. (Odd how Jamaica has reared its head twice in a blog post that has nothing to do with Jamaica.) The proprietor of the hotel, Samantha Ludick, runs numerous community development initiatives with help from The Malawi Project — including medical programs, feeding programs and soccer clubs for kids.

Fishing on the shores of Lake Malawi (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Randy and Marty took me to the nearby city of Salima, where church members have launched a ministry training program, a kind of satellite program of the Mzuzu Bible College.
It was great to spend some time with fellow Maconites in Malawi. But the connections to my home state didn’t end there.

Dick Stephens of The Malawi Project preaches about integrity at the Red Cross Church of Christ in Blantyre, Malawi. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

On Sunday Dick Stephens preached at the Red Cross Church of Christ in the south Malawian city of Blantyre. It’s one of the biggest congregations in Malawi, and offers services in English and Chchewa, a widely spoken language in Malawi. After church we ate lunch with three of the church’s seven elders. They talked about their plans to partner with Sunset International Bible Institute, The Malawi Project and other Churches of Christ on a project in Dedza, Malawi. A plot of land there will house a new ministry training school, primary school, community clinic and several other initiatives.
We ate and discussed the church’s work. Then one of the elders, Arthur Msowoya, said to me, “I think we met in Georgia.”
We talked about it and, sure enough, we met back in 2002. Arthur and other Christians from Southern Africa participated in a Southern Africa Mission Project conference at the River Road Church of Christ in Albany, Ga. I wrote a feature about the program.
Brothers in Christ make this world a smaller place.

Elders Arthur Msowoya and Chester Kabinda-Mbewe and deacon Davison Chuka of the Red Cross Church of Christ in Blantyre, Malawi. Chuka also serves as treasurer for the congregation. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

  • Feedback
    Dear Sirs : I am a World Bible School Teacher.. I found your website…while looking for a Church of Christ in Dedza, Malawi…I have a student that is interested in studying God’s word…do you have someone who could contact him.? Please advise… IN CHRIST JESUS…. GAIL ALLEN
    Gail allen
    May, 24 2011

    You can contact Namikango Bible School
    Box 13
    Davidb Manda
    December, 29 2012

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
    I am the last-born son of the late J.R. Robetcher Sisya who was the first black Missionary along the Lakeshore Region of Malawi in Karonga and Nkhata-Bay District. He started his mission work in Tanzania then, came to Malawi where I grew up and educated. After my secondary school education, I joined the Church of Christ Bible College now called Mzuzu Bible College. I was one of the first students who studied the Bible under the late Director, Dr. James Darrel Judd. After my Bible College, I joined the Ministry of Education and I was selected to go to University College of Education at Karonga Teachers’ Training College.
    My late father was trained together with Mwembe Msowoya of Lubagha Mission. I am delighted to have seen my brother Arthur Msowoya. May God bless you as an Elder of the Red Cross Church of Christ. (I Peter 5:1-5).
    Thank you.
    Brother Duncan Henry Sisya
    June, 10 2013

Filed under: News Extras Travel Reports

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