A Church building under construction at Area 24
By: Mphatso Thole
It was in October 2004, when Lutheran Hour Ministry (LHM) organized a rally at Ngwenya Primary School in the city of Lilongwe by then not even dreaming that the place would be a center of attraction to non-Lutherans.
Unlike in the rural areas of Malawi, a city is a hard rock to crack for the establishment of the church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) is finding it a challenge to grow in cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, Mzuzu and some towns like Ntheu, Salima, Karonga, Mulanje, etc.
Area 24 Preaching Point so far with membership of above 100 is a product of the rally, which LHM initiated in that month of October in the year 2004.
Aubrey William Bunguzu, the Audience Relations Coordinator of LHM is reminded of a few members who gathered for the first Sunday worship in that October.
“I remember it was my family, the Katalama family and a few children from people around Madalitso Private School in Area 24. Honest speaking it wasn’t easy at the beginning, as it was only a few of us who had the passion of continuing gathering,” says Bunguzu.
After Cathedral Congregation, Area 24 Preaching Point is the second largest preaching place of ELCM in the parish.
So far Area 24 has the strongest women’s group which is very keen in outreach activities.
The journey that started with less than ten people has reached to an extent such that more than 100 members have joined a race.
As it is the Muslim dominated location, Area 24 Preaching Point managed to acquire land where a big church building is under construction.
Very unbelievable, people who started gathering in a classroom have now started realizing the dream of constructing a semi like cathedral church of Lilongwe.
On May 11, 2014, Bishop Dr Joseph P Bvumbwe, the leader of the Lutheran Church in Malawi paid a visit to the area.
“I have been hearing about how ELCM started and how it is growing in Area 24. I did not want to believe in hearsay but to see by my own eyes. I am very glad to see such growth. When I visited here in August 2005, it was just a few families but now is a big gathering. Our Evangelism office, the Lutheran Hour has made us proud,” says Bvumbwe in his speech.
The visit of LHM to Area 24 on June 1, 2014 indicates that the Preaching Point has not only grown in numbers but financially.
Members are able to raise funds for the building project, evangelism gatherings, the choir activities, visiting the sick and participating in other church developments.
Area 24 is not only the preaching place initiated by LHM but just a good case study of the success stories of this ministry in the country. Places like Area 36 and Area 25 are the products of Kuunika. Soonest Area 44 will be another great success.
With the current gathering of about 15 members soonest LHM Malawi will celebrate the handover of Areaa 44.
However Area 24 is a special case as it is growing so fast and recognizing the support of LHM.
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