As part of Sovereign World Trust’s mission, we sometimes partner with other church ministries which bring a unique knowledge and expertise in local areas of the developing world. One such partnership is with Starfish Malawi.
Starfish Malawi was founded by Chris Knott in 2003. The charity seeks to reduce extreme poverty and build the Kingdom of God in the lives of children via their work within communities, schools and churches in the UK and Malawi. Starfish projects focus on Christian teaching, education, health and agriculture.
In line with their mission, Starfish were keen to include a strong element of Christian education and support for local pastors. They recognised that in addition to practical support for the communities to help them become self-sufficient, spiritual and moral transformation were also necessary and that relevant books could play a part in this.
In 2010 Starfish set up a library in Salima, a town about an hour's drive from the capital of Lilongwe. Subsequently, Sovereign World gave their collection a boost by supplying three hundred books to help local pastors who were keen to learn more.
Over the following years the library grew with hundreds of regular users and in 2014 six smaller satellite libraries were planted in the surrounding villages in response to many requests. Following a visit by Sovereign World Trust in 2016, three more were planned.
Since this time the libraries have gone from strength to strength with regular ‘top-ups’ of books from the Trust. Only last month, we delivered our largest top-up collection to a container bound for Salima. The shipment we prepared contains 39 boxes of new and pre-loved books – a total of 1,200 books. We also sent bookcases to house the books in.
This month, we were delighted to receive a recent update from Pastor Bornwell of the Starfish team in Malawi, with stories from two pastors:
“The Library work continues to go well and there are now 11 centres including a newly established library at Mtakataka in Dedza District, which borders Salima to the south at a distance of about 60km from our main library at the Starfish office. Most of the library members are benefiting greatly spiritually and 11 of them use the books to also support them as they study in various theological colleges. These are saying that the books are helping them with the assignments of different subjects and many have testified of passing with good grades in all tests because of the availability of the resources in the library.”
Two of the Salima pastors have given feedback on what access to the libraries has meant for them:
“I’m Blessings Mwanyali of Eleventh Hour Labourers Ministries. Our Church is located in Salima township and I’m a member of the library at the main library. I would like to testify of how the books assisted me with my theological studies. I’m a student at ‘Hands On’ Africa Bible College and I was on a degree program which I have just graduated in April this year. I did a five year degree course in theology and for me to pass all the subjects it’s because of the books which I've been using from the resource centre. All the subjects I passed with distinction, and the books which were mostly used are The Messages of Philippians, The Messages of Colossians, The Message of Joshua, Unlocking the Bible, Systematic Theology, African Commentary and The Purpose Driven Life.
I am thankful to Starfish for the Library because I found it easy to pursue my education - a situation that is not so easy in other places where they don't have a resource centre like we have here. My passion for studies has grown following the way I passed the program and I am aiming to do a master’s degree since I know I will also do well since we have resources available in the library."
“I am Mtendere Chipewa of The Apostolic Crucified Church using the Chipoka Library. I've been a member of this library for some time and I have read many books which have assisted me spiritually. My way of ministering for the Lord has changed for the better. But also, through the use of these books, I have managed to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Ministry from TNET (Training Networks International). I used most books from the library mainly to do my assignments for the Sermon Preparation module. The following books particularly helped me: African Commentary, Matthew Henry Bible Commentary, Preaching Through The Bible from Daniel, Hebrews and Revelation by Michael Eaton, Vision by P Mwanza and leadership books like The Foundation of Christian Living and The Foundation of Christian Doctrine.
Now I am doing a master’s degree in the same course, which I am assured to be successful because we have the right books available in the library. I would like to thank Starfish and Sovereign World Trust for the donations and organising the resource centres in our locality.”
With grateful thanks to Starfish Malawi for the report and photographs.
Sovereign World Trust
Kent TN11 0ZS
(NOT for sat navs!)
We are a UK registered charity, No 327284