“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15 NKJV)
“I used to hate Christianity,” says Sam Kalonjele, who converted to Christianity after receiving a Chiyao audio Bible. This sentiment is not unusual among the Yao people, who live along Lake Malawi in Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. They are overwhelmingly Muslim, with a wariness of Christianity that is rooted in their history. When Christians entered the region and pushed to abolish slavery, the Yao lost much of the empire they had built up with Arab traders, a partnership that had led to the Yao’s acceptance of Islam. Since his conversion, Sam has created 30 listener clubs in and around Machinga villages so far.
“Let me thank those who are praying for the salvation of the Yao…”
So writes FEBA Malawi’s Director, Rev. Amos Siyabu. FEBA Malawi, known locally as Litala FM, is passionate about its ministry among the Yao. In addition to its FM broadcasts, which are produced and aired from our radio station in Blantyre, as well as other partner stations, the team distributes wind-up radio sets, Bibles, Yao booklets, and audio Bibles in the Yao language, Chiyao. They establish listener clubs, where up to 50 people gather to listen to Litala FM’s programs together, and also broadcast worldwide via livestream and shortwave to the Yao living in different southern African countries. Litala FM’s ministry involves a lot of legwork: they deliver radios to villages, hand out Bibles and accompanying literature, and follow up with their listeners in person. Recently, they have started running programs in discipleship, a venture that is proving blessedly fruitful.
As of the end of July, Litala FM has tens of thousands of listeners across all platforms. In the past few months, they have managed to visit and create 112 listener clubs in Malawi. They have also trained several young people in media and production, with some graduating in July.
A team from Blantyre recently visited the Ngauma District in Mozambique, where they conducted discipleship programs for all ages. Twenty groups dedicated themselves to the task of disciple-making and are testifying to God’s work among them. A man who found Christ through one of these groups, says: “I thank God that I have now joined the Bible study group and I’m at the same time listening to Litala FM radio. I was a Muslim and am now enjoying being a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Through listening to Litala FM’s programs, this man and his whole family received Christ into their lives.
Like many countries, Malawi is facing economic difficulties. The cost of living has become high, with an inflation rate of more than 20%. The fuel price keeps going up, while fuel becomes scarcer. All these things affect the FEBA Malawi team.
Some of the staff have been attacked by thugs on their way to and from work, bus fares are increasingly expensive, and they are struggling to make ends meet. Fuel expenses make it hard to conduct follow-up work to remote villages. Moreover, the team is facing a lack of resources: they need more Bibles, radios, audio Bibles, and discipleship teaching materials. They are earnestly praying for their own studio and more recording equipment, so that they can produce better content for their listeners.
These are the challenges all dynamic, fruitful ministries face. There is no stagnation. FEBA Malawi works constantly to bring in the harvest and does it full of gratitude. The team, like their listeners, must make their way through great difficulties every day. Still, Rev. Siyabu writes, “our team here is doing all the best to keep listeners’ morale high by providing them with the Word of God, which helps them find comfort from God through our broadcasting.”
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Until all have heard,
Dr Jurie Vermeulen