In January 2019, it started to rain. One tropical cyclone after another pounded southeast Africa, the most notable being Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in early March. Rivers rose quickly, and entire villages were simply erased from the landscape. Family members watched as others were swept away in the waters, never to be seen again. Mothers report huddling over their children and praying for rescue while their roofs collapsed. People’s houses disappeared before their eyes; stability and a sense of safety vanished in a matter of moments, and thousands of people found themselves battered, homeless… but alive. Around 76,000 Malawians were displaced, most having nothing to move forward with.
In a land largely marked by poverty on “normal” days, the situation appeared hopeless to many. God’s people are not exempt from the common suffering of mankind living in a broken world. We still experience tragedy, disaster, and loss. Our Malawian Sports Friends Country Leader, Fostance, reported that in their area 59 people lost their lives in the severe flooding that followed Cyclone Idai. Among our own Sports Friends teams and churches, many more lost their homes. The great truth in life, though, is that in the midst of the storm, God is with us.
Fostance reflects, “It has been a bad experience, but at the same time a moment of trusting God as the only means of hope. In more ways, we have seen the faithfulness of God… He provided for us with food and blankets and encouragement. We are so thankful that He sent people to help us and our players. We are very grateful to our brothers and sisters around the world who have stepped in to help us in time of need. They have really added joy, peace, and a huge smile to the faces of our coaches and players here.”
Experiencing God’s help when we most acutely recognize our desperate situation teaches us not only how truly we (always) need Him, but also how truly faithful He is. His goodness and willingness to save forever all who call on His name can be seen so much more clearly in the place of overwhelming circumstances. Please continue to pray for our Malawian brothers and sisters, for their healing of body, mind, and soul, and for the rebuilding process that their communities continue in. Pray for an awareness of God’s Spirit with them, for bold witness to God’s faithfulness amidst tragedy, for comfort in their grief, and for practical provisions of grace to lift them up onto solid ground again.