Malawi is a small landlocked Central African state extending along Lake Malawi. The economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture and the country is self-sufficient in food production, but life is hard--many live in overwhelming poverty, and the average life expectancy is only 43 years. All indigenous people groups are of Bantu ethnicity.

Malawi is known to be the "warm heart" of Africa and its people have been some of the most receptive to Christianity on the African continent. Eighty percent of its people are Christian. Church of Scotland missionaries and the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa pioneered mission work in Malawi in the late 1800s, resulting in the establishment of a strong national church, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), which is the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

The CCAP is the RCA's church partner in Malawi, where we work with Nkhoma Synod. CCAP requested assistance from the RCA in developing their diaconal ministry. In partnership with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, RCA mission personnel assist communities in developing literacy, agriculture, health, and income-generating projects that have evangelism and discipleship components.

In response to the AIDS epidemic, the RCA began partnering with Save Orphans Ministries. In partnership with Christian World Relief Committee, RCA mission personnel serve as consultants to this organization, which helps families and communities care for children orphaned by AIDS.

Cheryl Barnes

Many say educating children reduces poverty. Partnering with the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, the RCA, and the Malawi Mission Network, Cheryl Barnes serves as education facilitator for the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). In this role, she works with the education secretaries and education department personnel to improve the quality of education in the nearly 1,200 primary schools that fall under the CCAP umbrella in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Children's Feeding Program

The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Women in Development Groups carries out the Children's Feeding Program. The goal of the program is to rescue the lives of at-risk Malawian children under the age of five by providing monthly distributions of a high protein energy supplement. A child is considered rescued when his or her weight enters the normal weight-for-age range on the World Health Organization's health chart and stays there for three consecutive months.

Barbara Kapenga

The Nkhoma Synod in Malawi needs an RCA person on the ground, working with our partner church there to support its new university (especially the theology and education departments) and to help prepare more pastors to serve the growing number of congregations.