This international program serves the spiritual needs of those with disabilities in Malawi and has expanded its work to influence the communities’ perception and physical care of Malawians with disabilities through a program known as “home-based care.”
Pastor Joel Gaertner made a field visit to Malawi in September 2018 to provide additional training with Malawian volunteers and evaluate the current status of the program.
Highlights of his trip included the following:
- Meeting with three new pastors from the central region to discuss their JCM work within the past year. Impactful moment: One pastor offers Worship at the Cross once a month during worship to get it in front of all his members and keep the momentum going.
- Visiting the Lutheran Mobil Clinic (Central African Medical Mission (CAMM)). Impactful moment: Brainstorming the different areas where CAMM and local JCM programs can work together.
- Speaking with students in Pastor Alfred Kumchulesi’s class at the Lutheran Bible Institute, a prep college for pastors in Malawi and Zambia. Impactful moment: Teaching future pastors how to serve individuals with special needs.
- Meeting with WELS Missionaries Nitz and Panning. Impactful moment: Sharing how JCM is meeting the needs of Malawians both spiritually and physically.
- Visiting the newest JCM program in the central region. This program is led by a lay leader as the church currently does not have a pastor. Impactful moments: Volunteers handed out laundry soap and a meal to individuals and their families (which they purchased with their own money). Then they handed out handmade clothing sent from U.S. JCM friends. Three chiefs attended the service and afterwards spoke about how wonderful it was that they are reaching out to all the people with disabilities in the area, not just Lutherans.
- Discussing with pastors and volunteers from the southern region how their work is impacting the local Malawians. These pastors and volunteers were interested sharing the Gospel with everyone attending, especially people who are deaf. Impactful moment: Teaching pastors and volunteers sign language for the Bible verses in the JCM’s Dear Christian Friend (DCF) teacher’s guide. This prompted a discussion to translate DCF student lessons into Chichewa.
- Attending a JCM Worship at the Cross service in the village of Likwakwanda. Impactful moment: Seeing the local chief’s involvement and engagement with the participants and family members.
God is blessing this outreach effort, and we look forward to sharing the Gospel with more people in Malawi with special needs! Support JCM at tlha.org.