Plans Become Reality in Lilongwe

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Plans became a reality this year in January, when the foundations for a church centre were laid for the BCC fellowship in Lilongwe, Malawi. Now, just 10 months later, this building project is nearing completion with only some finishing touches to be done and it is anticipated that the centre will be officially opened in November.

This project presented the perfect opportunity for the young graduates from the Christian Youth Development Program (CYDP) to gain practical experience using the skills they learned on the program. (“Going from Strength to Strength” & “Looking Ahead in Lilongwe”) The graduates and several members of the Lilongwe fellowship, who assisted over weekends, formed an enthusiastic team – they were lead by an experienced site manager who is also a CYDP graduate. Supported by members of BCC South Africa, this team’s commitment and eagerness to learn made a significant difference to the success of the project. One of the many advantages of the CYDP is the transfer of skills that takes place when graduates return to their home countries from BCC in South Africa (where the program is mainly hosted); many young people have benefitted from on-the-job training on projects such as this, not only in Malawi, but in other BCC fellowships throughout Africa.

Challenges with procurement, rising costs due to a drop in the exchange rate, increases in the cost of fuel and building materials resulted in the scope of work being adapted and more cost-effective methods had to be found to keep within the budget.  The focus was also on building a low maintenance church centre in order to keep future running costs as low as possible to avoid it becoming a financial burden on its members. The end result is a well-built practical centre where the congregation, young and old, can gather for church services and other church activities in a safe and pleasant environment with the facilities needed for a growing fellowship.

The leader of the fellowship in Lilongwe, Eleazar Mkundika, explains:  “The CYDP graduates have contributed positively to the building project by taking responsibility for various aspects such as procurement, organising the kitchen, managing the painting, welding, tiling and general construction. They have managed very well!”

Several graduates share their experiences:

Chisomo Kunyambo:

“Before I joined the CYDP I knew nothing about building – but now I have experience in bricklaying, tiling, plumbing, electrical work and the installation of ceilings. The biggest thing I learned on the program is about myself and my spiritual life. Bible studies and church services have helped a lot with this and now I know when I do something wrong – like backbiting, being jealous of others and so on, I can go to God and ask for help and put the gospel into practice in my daily life.”

Mercy Bernard Banda:

“I have received training mostly in the kitchen – catering, budgeting and now I can make birthday cakes! In construction I have learned how to paint and to work hard. The most important thing I have learned is about the gospel and how to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Bible studies have helped me not to blame and look at what others are doing wrong, but to look at myself and pray to God for help when I see what I am doing that is wrong. I have also learned to live with others.”

Mike Elemia:

“I completed the CYDP and now I can use what I learned and help in my local fellowship in Lilongwe. Building the church centre has also helped me to get practical experience. I have learned about electrical work and how to be a foreman. The Bible studies on CYDP taught me to listen to others and humble myself. I must also be wholehearted in my everyday life and believe and do what God prompts me to do.”

Joshua Tyler Noah:

“I have learned to do tiling, roofing and some carpentry. It is really good learning to work with others, teamwork is important, and this is where the Word of God helps us in our daily lives.”



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