A DELEGATION from Cairns Church in Milngavie returned from a fact finding mission to Malawi recently where they’ve had a twinning agreement with a local congregation for the past four years.
Church elders Dorothy Ross, Brenna Campbell and Marion and John Calder spent nine days at Nkanda Church, near Zomba, seeing first hand what their fundraising efforts had achieved and identifying ways of helping the community in future.
Mr Calder, a retired doctor who worked in Malawi more than 40 years ago, said: “Cairns has been helping the Nkanda congregation to re-roof the church and to provide fertilizer for the staple maize crop.
“We in Cairns felt that the relationship between the churches could grow better if personal contacts were established and last year we were fortunate in obtaining Church of Scotland Faithshare funding to bring three Nkanda members to Milngavie.
“This visit was a great success, particularly as two of our guests had never been out of Malawi.
“We decided that the relationship could be cemented further if a Cairns delegation visited Nkanda and, in September, four of us spent nine days out there.”
The visit allowed the group to assess local needs and take part in two Sunday services.
Two years ago a formal agreement was drawn up between the two congregations linking the churches after Mrs Ross had visited Nkanda with her son, Rev. Ken Ross, who is currently chairman of the Scotland – Malawi Partnership and now a minister there.
Mr Calder added: “We received a very warm welcome and were delighted with the enthusiasm of the local people, the size of the congregation and the large number of children and young adults in church, something we in Scotland would do well to emulate.”
After a meeting with Nkanda village elders it was agreed that the most pressing needs were to continued providing fertilizer, to help build a primary school, to connect the village to an electricity supply and dig another well.
The delegation was told that an electricity supply would provide the village with business opportunities and a well closer to the village would save the women and girls as young as 10 the task of carrying water up to half a mile on their heads.
Between the two Sundays of the visit the group managed to go on safari to Liwonde National Park and Lake Malawi.
Mr Calder and his wife Marion also got the opportunity to visit some of their old haunts, including their old places of employment, Zomba General Hospital and the old Malawi parliament building.
The four were given a rousing send off by their Malawian friends, several of whom accompanied them the 50 miles to Chileka Airport, Blantyre.