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Harry Cobb Audio of Malawi Trip October -November 2006

March 29, 2008

The season of rain here in Malawi (November through March) appears to have now  ceased and the weather is becoming cooler.  Seasons here, as Malawi is south of the Equator, are opposite to those of the United States – it is now what we in the States would consider the beginning of Autumn.   Due to the unusual abundance of rain, however, the landscape everywhere is green and beautiful. 

We assembled on our first Sunday here at Chingozi where there were about sixty-five in attendance.  Last Sunday we met with about one hundred twenty-five disciples at the Sagawa congregation, after which seven precious souls were baptized in a near-by stream.  During the week between these two Sundays, Brother Wayne and I requested a meeting of leading and influential brethren to discuss, in addition to the teaching of God’s word, one of our primary purposes of this journey - the digging of water wells and promotion of irrigation.  Because of the unusual amount of rain during the past season and resulting floods in some areas, the harvest this year is meager.  One brother harvested two hundred bags of maze last year as opposed to forty this year.  It is now time to plant vegetable  gardens.  Hopefully the proposed wells will greatly aid in making productive these and future plantings. 

During our mission efforts here in Africa through the years we have been instrumental in digging nine wells, six with view to the present irrigation project. Our thrust on this journey, as many of you know and have generously supported in a financial way, is to provide with the Lord’s blessings as many wells and gardens as possible.  During the two weeks we have been here the digging of five new wells has been contracted, preparation has been made for another, and search in under way in other localities for additional sites and well-diggers.  Requests continue to be received from the many places churches are located, even from across the border in neighboring Mozambique.  Although we strongly encourage participation and decision making by the local brethren, we intend to frequently visit and monitor the progress.  

We are careful to determine that the local brethren have control of the property upon which these wells and gardens are being located.  It may be of interest to note  that just this past day we purchased an ideal site.  The village headman had no land available for us (which sometimes they freely donate to the brethren), but the brethren in this village were persistent and pursued the matter further.  They found a land owner who would sell some of his land to the church for  40,000 kwacha ($260 U.S.).  Upon bargaining with the land owner, the price was reduced to 30,000 kwacha, and then realizing the intended use of this property, the land owner finally sold the land to our brethren for 20,000 kwacha ($130 U.S.).  Quite a bargain compared to farm land in the United States!  

Our well-drilling equipment is available and in good condition, but in view of the fact that fifty well pumps have been stolen (including two belonging to this project), our emphasis  has been directed to hand-digging instead of use of the machine.  We simply cannot afford the risk of loosing the high cost pumps and the wells consequently being rendered unusable.  

Costs in the United States have risen, as we are all aware, but here in Malawi increase in prices is extremely noticeable.  Bread has increased about one-third, diesel fuel is now $5.12 per gallon, while gasoline is $5.48.  The first fill-up of our Toyota truck was $97.00.  Bibles, of which we have freely distributed literally thousands, now cost  880 kwacha (about $6.15), a price the average person cannot afford.  Because we purchase in such large numbers, a Bible cost us $5.71.  

The cause of truth here continues to spread, with  harmony and cooperation among the disciples appearing to have greatly improved.  Brother Bright Chitambi several months ago was asked to conduct a funeral which was attended by several who were spiritually concerned but not properly taught and not members of the Lord’s church.  They referred to themselves as the Disciples Church, really a Scriptural designation.  They were so impressed by the teaching of Brother Chitambi that they requested his coming to their location and teaching them further.  He did, they received the truth, all seventy were baptized, and these honest souls are now assembling in accord with the Bible pattern.  

It is grand, yet so humbling, to consider how the Lord has wonderfully blessed the work in  this  portion of His vineyard, permitted us to be just a small part of His  purpose, and have the wonderful fellowship of you all, our dear brethren.


November 4, 2007 

Hello to each and everyone!  Brother Ron Slocum and I departed from Atlanta airport Wednesday the 24 and flew to Johannesburg with a short stop over at Dakar to fuel up the plane  We spent the night in Johannesburg and departed Friday morning arriving in Blantyre Malawi around 4:30pm. We were greeted by Bro. Bright Chitambi and his wife Annie. After renting a small car, we drove to Mulanje where Bro. Bright had reserved a room for us. We spent most all day Saturday trying to locate a vehicle to purchase for the work here in Malawi. Every dealer was closed Saturday so we were unable to locate anything of interest. Sunday, the Lord's Day was very enjoyable. We met with the Brother and Sisters at the Natchiwale congregation. This is the home congregation where Bro. Bright attends. There was well over a hundred in attendance. I gave the lesson and Ron waited on the Lord's Table. Monday and Tuesday were very successful. We accomplished in two days what we had expected to take the better part of a week. We located a small double cab truck on Monday and purchased it on Tuesday. This truck will be kept at Bright's home in a 40' steel contained. The truck will be used by him for various church related needs and we will have total use of it when we visit Malawi again.  Our plans at present include driving this vehicle with some of the brethren up to Chitipa which is locate in the upper most part of Malawi. Also visiting the congregation in Tanzania. There is several congregation which need our encouragement in the work of the church. We hope and pray to be successful in this endeavor. The truck will be a wonderful blessing to the church here in Malawi. There is so many needs for such a vehicle. Many times there is a need to take someone to the hospital such as a boy from Mozambique which needs to be taken to the doctor about his eyes. This truck will be used for hauling building materials  iron sheets for roofs on church buildings, hauling materials for digging wells, also for transporting the drill rig when we have to drill a well, hauling bibles, song books and etc. to far places such as Mozambique. Many, many more uses in the work of the church.  The man whom we purchased the vehicle from, worked at the bank in Blantyre where we do business. 

    We have successfully rented a 3 bedroom house which Harry, Ron  and I looked at the last trip over here. It is brand new and will fit our needs fine. It has running water, electricity and could also have a phone if desired. The rent is $ 144.00 a month.  The house will be a blessing in many ways. We will have room for our brothers to come over and discuss the Bible and spend the night if necessary. We are planning a meeting at this house with the leaders of several congregations to discuss the subjects of , water wells, divorce and remarriage, the Lord's Supper, how to solve the problem of obtaining the 100% pure grape juice for congregations who have no way of purchasing it, and last but formost the need for elders in congregations where there is those who are qualified. It is our desire to get these brethren to begin to pay close attention to the importance of ordaining  elders in every congregation where their are those qualified. In Titus 1:3, Paul said that it was a commandment of God. Paul told Titus in the 5th verse to carry out this commandment. I strongly feel the importance of this matter. Hopefully next year when those of us return to Malawi, Lord willing, that this matter will be given top priory and there will be those who meet the qualifications in various locations. I will include in the next update how this meeting progresses.

    Our plans in the next couple of days is to visit several of our brethren who have requested assistance for various congregations for bibles, song books, water wells, iron sheets for roofs on church buildings and numerous other needs. Bro. Harry has asked us to look into these matter of request that he has received and use our own judgment. I have been blessed to have learned from one who has done a wonderful job in taking care of matters such as these, Brother Harry Cobb. Please pray for us as we make discussions on these issues.

    There does not seem to be any problem with hunger at this time. It has not been mentioned by those whom we have talked with so far. The first rain came and the second rain should be in a couple of weeks. Most will plant maze (corn) after the third rain. There are those everywhere we have been working in the fields preparing to plant. Well I have said more than enough in this update. By the first part of next week, we will try to send out another with some pic's. Please remember us in your prayers.


Danny and Ron 

November 23, 2006

Brother Danny Abercrombie, provides us with his final report from Malawi: 

It is sure good to be home after some 39 hours traveling from Malawi to Atlanta. The Lord blessed us in so many ways you wouldn't believe. As usual there was a warm welcome from the brothers and sisters whom I have grown to know and love. It is a joy to see those who are so anxious to hear the word of God taught. Bro. Harry traveled over several week earlier with Bro. Allen Kirk and his son Luke. After Allen and Luke departed, Bro. Ron Slocum came to be with Harry. When I arrived, Ron was still there but left about four days later. Brother Harry is well known among the church there in Malawi and is in high demand to visit and teach in hundreds of congregations. It would not be possible to visit all that ask if he was there for a year. We visited several congregations teaching and listening to their problems. When I say problems, we here in America do not know what problem really are. We have none compared to them. There is problems with hunger, (at this time only a few), plastic to put under the straw on roofs, concrete for floors in church buildings, mortar for laying brick, buildings to be replaced because of wind damage, doors and windows for church buildings, Bibles, song books, fertilizer, seeds to plant, wells for water, clothes, shoes, orphans to be taken care of, on and on and on with the need for our help. It is a sad thing not to be able to help everywhere there is a need. You have to use your judgment as to where the help is most needed and use the money where you feel that it is doing the most good. Bro. Harry handles this job very well. It would take too long of a letter to tell you all the interesting things that took place but here are a few of the most interesting happenings.

The galimoto (car) which we drive is at its life's end. In plan language it has seen its better days. Thanks to Bro. Wayne Moore who purchased it several years ago, it has served its purpose well. It is a Toyota Land Cruiser. It has to be one of the toughest vehicles made to withstand the shake rattle and roll effect of the roads there in Malawi. The brakes failed, the motor had to have the head rebuilt, the lights had to have repairs, windows would not work half the time along with many other problems. We are thankful to the Lord that he saw fit for it to last until we left for home. There is plans to replace it before our next trip over. This was only a small problem. There was a problem at the Cachrere congregation with one of the main teachers who was living in adultery. Normally we do not get involved with matters such as this leaving it up to the church to take care of it. In this case, Bro. Harry was asked to help in telling them how to handle this situation. Bro. Bello was living with his third wife. When he was confronted, he justified his condition saying that others there were living in the same condition. He was rebuked and he made a confession telling the church that he was wrong and that he was going to take back his first wife. The problem seem to have been solved at the time only to find out the next Sunday that he had changed his mind and was not going to change a thing. The brethren ask again for assistance in what to do. Another meeting was called and the leaders that agreed with us on the marriage and divorce issue were urged to take a firm stand against those who were living in adultery and withdraw fellowship. A letter was written and signed by all present, one of which was Bro. Bello's father, to withdraw fellowship from those who were living in adultery. We then had to go to the village chief and let him know what had happened at the Cachrere church building. The village chief had granted the land for the building and it was in the name of the Cachrere church of Christ. Bro. Bello and the others with him would be told they had no right to the building. This is not like taking someone to law here in America. When you get married there in Malawi, you go to the village chief and tell him and you are married. We have to go to the Village chief to obtain land for gardens, land for church buildings and etc. The chief told us that he was not a member of the church because of Bro. Bello. He told us that there were many problems with Bro. Bello that we didn't know about. He seemed to be very happy the church was taking a stand for the truth and that action was being taken against Bro. Bello. The chief's wife had passed away a few days earlier and her request was to have her funeral in the church building. Bro. Bello would not allow it. The chief came to church the next Sunday and met with them. There may be a happy ending to this yet. Of course we hope that Bro. Bello and the others will repent and correct their lives before it is too late.

Next, some of you may remember one named George Makuse. He is the one we caught steeling from us back on our last trip around the first of the year. A trap was set for him after we had suspicions he stole money from us and we caught him RED HANDED stealing. Well there is a long story of happenings from then until now which took place with George. He has caused a lot of trouble in the church. Early one morning two brethren came to see us, one of which was George and the other was Grayson Maphamba. They did not come together.  Grayson was there to let us know of a church building north of Blantyre which had its roof torn off by high winds. George Makuse began to tell us of all the problems he was having, sickness he was suffering, his mother in the hospital and etc. We were going to Limbe to take Grayson by the plastic factory and George wanted to ride also to Limbe to catch a bus. As we were riding in the Land Cruiser, I kept a eye in the mirror on George. When we arrived at the plastic factory, we let Grayson out and Bro. Harry got out also to talk to Grayson in private. I remained in the car with George. George began to ask for transport money and money to help his mother who was supposed to be in the hospital. I told him we would discuss it further when Bro. Harry got back in the car. When Harry got in, we started to pull away and get back on the main road. Watching in the mirror, George climbed up on the back seat and reached all the way to the back and garbed Harrys brief case (which only had medicine in it) and placed it behind the seat which he was sitting. He had his hand behind the seat trying to find some money. At this point I became very upset and stopped the car, jumped out and opened the back door and demanded George to get out. He got out and was told in no uncertain terms he was still a crook and we left him standing there. I don't believe he understands what a mirror in the car is for. We are very thankful that people like George are in the minority. We have not come across but very few who are like this one. Most all the brethren we are around and with, you could leave your money laying in the seat and they would not touch it. We feel that most are very honest people.

Another highlight in our trip was the two boys at the pipe supplier where we buy material for the wells. A year or so back, I gave them a track, The One True Church. They seemed to be very interested in what the church was all about. We decided to take them out to a place where we could sit down and discuss the Bible with them and we brought along Brite Chitambi who could talk to them in their language. They are going to start attending a congregation close to where they live. We feel that they will obey the gospel. Brite is the person whom Kent Dickinson converted years ago. He is very instrumental in the church.

While we were there back around the first of the year we found out to our surprise that one of the members who spoke English and had a very good job was living in adultery. His wife's first husband was dead but his first wife was still living. After finding out of his situation, we had to let him know how we stood on this matter. He was converted from a denominational church which taught it was ok to divorce and remarry. Bro. Harry made a copy of his book on this subject and we went by and left it with him to study. After about four days we contacted him and invited him and his wife out for supper and to discuss this matter. After we had finished our meal, he was asked what he and his wife felt about the teaching in the book. To our surprise he said that he understood the teaching and agreed with it. He and his wife both understood. This was all so sudden and he at that time was trying to make a decision as how to handle this matter. He ask if he should continue to get up and teach. He was told that it would be a bad influence on others with him living in adultery and that he shouldn't be up teaching. He understood. It was explained how he could live a separate life and serve the Lord, and still take care of his responsibilities to his family. He asked for our prayers. It is amazing how those who have not been indoctrinated with false teachings can sit down and study the Bible for themselves and come up with the truth. How true 2 Peter 3:16 is!

Well, there is much we could talk about but this is enough for now. Bro. Harry has done a wonderful job with the work in Malawi and surrounding countries. May the Lord continue to bless him with many more years. Harry had a few pains that was not normal on this trip. I know he would not want me to say anything but we need to put a little pressure on him to go get a check up. We thank everyone for your prayers.


November 11, 2006

Here in the “warm heart of Africa” (as Malawi claims itself to be) there is never frost, ice, or snow.  It is indeed warm and often very hot.  But yesterday Brother Danny and I were in a super-market to purchase a few items, when over the background music being played came the old, familiar tune we always hear back home at this time of the year, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  What a contrast to think here in Africa about “tree tops glistening” and “sleigh-bells in the snow.”  This must have been precisely what the songwriter meant, however, when he wrote of ”dreaming” about these memorable things.  

We really don’t care for most of the food available in the restaurants.

Mostly for lack of time, we often eat only one meal each day.  This routine may be somewhat adjusted, however, by snacks of peanut butter and crackers or cookies and a Coke.  I have joyfully lost four inches in my waist, now fastening my belt in the fifth hole rather than the first.    

About two weeks ago we drove down a street on which we seldom venture.  There was a new restaurant having opened only recently and which serves  Italian food.  Excellent! and relatively inexpensive.  We have dined there three times already and will likely go again a time or two before our return to America.  My waistline has thankfully not yet surrendered to this good eating.  

Yesterday was most profitable in that several serious matters received attention.  A meeting at Moniker had been arranged by brethren from eight congregations to confirm their resolve to honor the withdrawal of fellowship last week from four brethren at Kachere.  These four brethren were not only endorsing immorality but were also attempting to maintain domination over these congregations.  Although regretfully necessary, this withdrawal of fellowship has had the effect of brethren who formerly submitted to improper leadership taking a firm stand in opposition to immorality and the desire for preeminence.   

We were also able yesterday, with the provision of God through you brethren, to financially aid congregations at different places with work on their prayer-houses.  The metal roof at Monekera had been  removed some years ago by a brother who took this action when these brethren opposed his domination.  They had since been meeting under an inadequate grass roof.  Another congregation had arranged to purchase some iron sheets (as they refer to them), but required assistance in completing the number required.  This is most encouraging, for it shows their attempt to do for themselves what they can.  A congregation here in Blantyre was assisted with iron sheets a few weeks ago.  During the past few weeks three prayer-houses (church buildings) have been either damaged or destroyed by strong, twisting wind and two have been damaged by fire.  Most fire damage is to the roof, for the walls are usually of hand-molded brick.  At one place where the building was destroyed, two congregations have agreed to merge and construct only one building.  

The number of congregations around the city of Blantyre has increased from four two years ago to now number twelve.  While it is evident that the presence of Americans attracts interest and sometimes attempts to seek financial gain, we are cautious of such and purposely avoid any suggestion that financial aid is available.  We pointedly announce that our primary interest in coming to Africa (or any other place) is to proclaim the gospel message.  We are told by trusted brethren that our approach and sound Biblical teaching is the cause of many congregations changing their beliefs and practices and associating with those of our persuasion.  

As with Jesus’ disciples and among early Christians, however, there are always present among us both here and in America those who would take advantage for personal gain or prominence.  Two days ago a brother riding with us attempted to steal from one of the bags in our vehicle.  We had already had such an encounter with him and were tempting to encourage his repentance.  Brother Danny was watching his every move in the rear-view mirror and caught him in his evil deed.   

Our final water-well project on this journey is being completed by several brethren hand-digging at a difficult site.  Hopefully this will be successful, for water in that area is scarce and is being obtained from open, unsanitary excavations.  We are told that village chiefs prohibit using government wells for even hand irrigation due to the scarcity of water, thus the wells we are providing will hopefully fill a serious need. 

In addition to our presence and work among the disciples here, they continue there with their own activities as they certainly should.  All along we receive reports of their efforts and resulting baptisms. There was report of fourteen baptisms about two days ago.  Danny and I hope to have a study with a family this evening and perhaps on Saturday afternoon with two men who work at a manufacturing plant from which we purchase materials.  On Saturday morning, if the Lord will, there is to be a meeting just south of Blantyre at a congregation with which we have just begun to work.  On Sunday we hope to assemble with brethren high up in the mountains and where we assisted in constructing a prayer-house several years ago.

Our intent is to depart for America next Wednesday.  After two and one-half months Burger King will surely be appealing, as will seeing our families and all you dear brethren.


November 10, 2006

I feel that Malawi's future is going to be good. There is more land not being farmed that could be. You got to be able to get drinking water first. If you do not have a well, you must live within walking distance of water.

 There is a lot of land that could be farmed that is not being farmed for that very reason. You can also grow crops all year long if you could irrigate. 

Irrigation is on the tip of everyone's tongue, not just in Malawi but all over Africa. I hope the Lord will allow me to make many more trips to Malawi. 

They are hungry for the Gospel. They are the ones that are spreading the truth. Harry has taught the truth over and over again. I feel that it will reap fruits beyond the border of Malawi and already has. With a house and a little assistance from America, a little money goes a long way. According to Bright's Mother, Churches of Christ started appearing in 1949. It would be wonderful to have someone over there all year round like there is on The International Space Station. Africa is a wonderful place with wonderful people. There are false teaching that have to be corrected as in America. Divorce and Remarriage is just now starting to crop out. Harry and Danny have worked hard to be sure it will not spread. 

Allen Kirk has opened my eyes for the need of medical treatment in Malawi. I spent as much time as possible with the children. I could see where some needed medical attention. Hospitals are free (IF YOU CAN GET THERE). It is kind of hard if you have to walk. But when you get there you must pay for the medicine even if the hospital stay is free. It is kind of hard to do that if you do not have a job that pays money. Susten was taking some one to the Hospital when we got to his house to take the truck to help  drill a well, so we had to wait on him. The man died alter he go him there. That is the only auto that anyone has among the churches. American Christians provided the money to buy that truck. It has been used hard.

Ron Slocum

November 6, 2006

  I arrived in Blantyre, Malawi after many hours either in the air or in the terminal waiting on a plane to leave. There was a problem in Atlanta with the plane which caused a four and one half hour delay. This messed up the schedule all the way. Thank the good Lord I was able to arrive in Blantyre Friday and there to meet me was Bro Harry and Bro. Ron. I was completely worn out but it sure was a blessing to see them. As most everyone knew, Bro. Allen Kirk and his son Luke were with Bro. Harry for about 2 weeks. Bro. Ron Slocum came over and spent approximately 5 weeks. Ron left on the following Monday after I arrived. This e-mail has been delayed because we have been away from Blantyre on trips teaching and have not had access to the computer. The work here is going well and there is much to do. I have heard nothing but good things about the teaching of Bro. Allen and his effort was greatly appreciated. We are near the completion of a well that was started by Bro. Ron in an area called Phalombe. This is where Bro. Kokole Mkwembe lives and also where the Katoma congregation is located. This well will be used for irrigating a garden spot for many in that area. Since I have arrived, we have held several meetings and have taught on some much needed subjects. One of which was the need and work of elders. Also the subject of marriage and divorce has come up several times.

            We went today to the Kachere Congregation where for the past four weeks, Bro. Harry has been trying to take care of a bad situation upon the request of some of the leaders. There has been much discussion about a Brother Bello’s, which is one of the main teachers there living in adultery. We did learn that there were others who have been married at least three times. At the first meeting, Bro. Bello tried to say that others were doing the same thing which justified him. After a great deal of teaching, he finally admitted his error and made a confession before the church. His plans were to put out the one he was living with and take back his first wife. Later we were told that he had decided to continue living in adultery. We were asked again to have a meeting with seven leaders of congregations in that area and take action against this Brother. We had our meeting and all present were in agreement to withdraw from Bro. Bello. His dad was one who thought this should be done. There was a letter written and signed by all male members which is to be given to Brother Bello and also to be read before the congregation. Also a letter was written to the Village Chief and signed by all. We took the letter and went to the Village Chief’s house and had court. Upon telling him of the situation with Bro Bello, he informed us of many other problems with him. The Village Chief’s wife was a member of the Church there at the Kachere congregation. His wife had passed away only a few days before and her request was to have her funeral in the church building. Bro. Bello refused to let the funeral take place there in the building. The Village Chief was not a member of the church and the reason was that of Bro. Bello. The Chief said that Bro. Bello was not living a Godly life and that is why he had not obeyed the Gospel. He agreed with our teaching on the marriage and told us he would be in the service tomorrow at Kachere. There are a few problems such as this that arise from time to time. A man is allowed to have four wives at one time here in Malawi. Bro. Harry has done a great deal of wonderful teaching on this subject from year to year and there is very few times problems such as this arise.

            We have been asked to meet tomorrow, Sunday, with the former one cup brethren who have decided they were wrong in their stand on the Lord’s Supper and are now working with us. Bro Harry has been asked to speak on the Lord’s Supper which he does so well. Harry has a way about his teaching on subjects such as the Lord’s Supper and Divorce and Re-marriage which is firm and to the point. We talked to a brother who is divorced and remarried yesterday and Harry explained our views on this matter according to the Bible. He asked if Harry could come to his home and explain the scriptures to the one he is living with at present. This shows his concern and his confidence in the teaching which he has heard. We pray that he will do what is correct in this matter. I want to conclude by telling you that crime has not gotten better here but worse. Last night, on our way in, we pulled in at a convenience store to get some bottled water. Bro. Harry got out and went inside while I stayed with the car. There was a man who came out of the store with a sack in his hand and two boys knocked him to the ground and grabbed his sack. You have to constantly watch what is going on around you. There are those who will hurt you if you give them the chance. The Lord has been with us. You can feel his presence all the time. After Bro. Allen and his son Luke returned home, the automobile (Land Cruiser), has broken down many times. It is going to have to be replaced the next trip over. We will send another update on the work here next, Lord willing. We would like to thank all of you for your prayers. Please continue to remember us. May the Lord bless you all.


October 18, 2006

The fresh, sparkling water which poured forth in abundance from the pump just installed caused our hearts to rejoice in praise.  This well had required much work and several months to complete.  Drilling on the well (bore-hole as a well is called here in Malawi) was begun last May before we returned from our previous journey. Brother Danny Abercrombie and many local brethren had labored long and hard against drifting sand which prevented successfully completing the drilling.  Finding it necessary because of our flight schedule to depart with the well unfinished, we left the matter of removing the piping and other materials in the capable hands of Brother Duncan Kamwendo.  He told me just today that he had completed some fifty wells.  Experienced as he was, Brother Duncan dug by hand around our failure and completed a beautiful hand-dug well.  Really beautiful, for his brick work lining the depth of the five foot wide well is simply outstanding. 

Upon our arrival on this journey we soon purchased a new pump, Brother Duncan prepared the cement cover, and today was the day for its installation.  What a grand smile filled his face as the water came forth and what joy filled the hearts of the many who had gathered for the occasion.  A local brother led us in a prayer of thanksgiving to the heavenly Father Who had so marvelously extended His blessings.  If it is His will, the surrounding acres will soon be flourishing with greenery from the soon to be planted seeds. 

Yesterday found us taking parts to Chikwawa to replace those stolen from the pump at one of our most productive gardens.  The brethren there are very diligent with this project and are taking measures to guard against such theft in the future.  On the next night after  stealing from our brethren, thieves stole eighteen rods from the well at local school. 

Tomorrow we plan to go to Phalombe to determine the exact place for our next well and the beginning of a collective garden for brethren in that area.  There is very little water to be found where we are scheduling this next well and we do hope, with the Lord’s blessings, to be able to relieve their plight.  Sunday will hopefully find us assembling with brethren at Kachere, one of many congregations in the Zomba district.



October 5, 2006

In addition to being hindered for several days by vehicle troubles in even getting to an E-mail agency, I have experienced considerable trouble today in finding a computer which would allow me to use my E-mail account.  Some had inoperative keys and numerous times I needed to change computers.  I think this one must be working fine.  

Hopefully the Land Rover ! will again be available this evening, for we have an important meeting tomorrow out of Blantyre to the north.  Should it not be ready, Brother Bright tells me his little truck (in which I have trouble even fitting) will be available.  The Lord has really, really blessed us and we are most grateful.  By the way, my belt now allows me to use the third hole rather than the first - about two inches less in the waist.

Other notes will hopefully follow as matters develop.  May the Lord's blessings be with you all.

It was certainly a joy to have the association of Allen and Luke Kirk here in Southeast Africa during the first nineteen days of this present venture.  Their presence, companionship, and most helpful participation in every aspect of the work were indeed a blessing.  Luke at fifteen years of age demonstrated most unusual patience and cooperation, which reflected commendably upon his upbringing by Godly parents.  In addition to wise counsel and helpful suggestions, Allen contributed greatly to our teaching sessions.  At numerous places and before very receptive crowds who had gathered from surrounding congregations, with many sitting for hours on the hard ground with no back-support, Allen repeatedly spoke on a subject very much needed here – the eldership.  He presented deep insight from the Scriptures, offered practical illustrations, and often used Luke as a means to express a vital point.  The people dearly loved Allen’s style and presentation, pleasingly ignoring the fact that he often spoke for two hours at each session, time not at all unusual for our teaching here.   

Having in the past received EMT training, Brother Allen brought with him experience and medical supplies which were a real blessing.  Some received needed attention and medicine.  Even common medicines such as aspirin are greatly valued here and are used as a medicine for high blood pressure. It is noteworthy that when attending to needs in uninformed places such as remote Mozambique, even those who are not ill attempt to wait in line for unneeded pills.  It is amazing how many seek eyeglasses when it is discovered we have supplied some eyeglasses to really serious brethren.  My eye-doctor and others have donated discarded glasses and we often purchase and bring with us inexpensive reading glasses.  My pharmacist at Wedowee has freely supplied some important anti-biotic pills which are being used with discretion.  One young boy with an acute eye problem and who lives in a remote area in Mozambique gained the sympathy of Brother Allen.  We are now considering means of bringing him to a hospital in Malawi for further examination and possibly the saving of his eyesight. In that section of Mozambique no hospitals are to be found and the nearest is hours away in Malawi.  One brother in Malawi was knife-wounded in a recent robbery attempt and is now recovering after receiving several stitches to seal the wound.  Another brother is recovering from a motorcycle accident.  

Crime is Noticeably on the Increase Here in Malawi. A few days ago while driving on a side road we were stopped by an old scheme for which I sadly fell subject.  Some men standing by the side of the road pointed excitedly to a problem with our Land Rover.  I did not stop.  But a short distance later another man also pointed in the same way to an apparent problem with the vehicle.  After stopping, Brother Allen left his front seat, examined the supposed problem, and could find noting amiss.  By that time the men, apparently all involved in the same scheme, ran to the car, quickly snatched our cell phone from the open door, and threatened with a long-bladed knife.  Others then joined the thieves.  Rather than invite possible harm from such a small matter as a cell phone, we quickly drove away with bitter experience and my embarrassment for falling for such an old trick.  

Brother Bright Chitambi, alert to the ways of his countrymen, foiled another attempt at robbing our vehicle while it was locked and unoccupied in a parking lot.  Another brother was robbed by a pick-pocket thief at the same shopping area.  Bicycles are important means of transport here and are often targets of theft.  We must be ever alert to one thief diverting our attention while another does his misdeeds behind our backs. The heavenly Father has been so gracious in protecting us from harm and serious loss or injury.

 Invitations are Continually Received for appointments at the hundreds of congregations among whom we have the joy of laboring here in Southeast Africa.  We simply cannot respond to all, of course, but attempt to select locations where many congregations can conveniently gather.  The next time we are in that general area we attempt to select another similar location so as to avoid one congregation having preeminence.  Jealously and the desire for a following are serious problems among many.  On the other hand, several strong and influential leaders are favorable examples of having foremost in mind the glory of our Savior, His cause, and His people.  They work in wonderful harmony, often visiting with one another and promoting one another’s endeavors.  Among such brethren we seldom encounter problems.  

Among those who seek for prominence there seems to always be some matter of contention.  Just recently we called a meeting to consider the case of a leading brother who had divorced his pregnant wife and within about three days married his girlfriend.  It appeared to be a simple matter of rebuke and encouragement to correct his way of life.  But not so! 

It was revealed that this brother had in the past supported three other leading brothers in divorcing their wives.  Now they, although in similar situations, were calling for HIS rejection.  Thus, we were confronted with four cases of adultery instead of the one.  The first brother admitted his error and called upon all to correct their situations.  We await results.  

Another brother about whom we have been in doubt for some time had refused to accept the confession and desire for prayer of another brother.  A case similar to that of Diotrephes in 3 John 9-10.  We reminded him of his own sin several years ago when he withheld and misused funds intended to purchase a wheel-chair for a brother with no legs; and another time when he embezzled funds intended to pay for lodging at a gathering of brethren. He had requested forgiveness and it was rightfully granted.  How similar to the ungrateful debtor in Matthew 18:21-35.  The brother in question restored funds for the wheelchair, acknowledged his error, and received our advice for correction.  We, again, await results.

 We Have Been Hampered for Several Days with transportation problems.  Yet we certainly cannot complain.  The Toyota Land Cruiser donated years ago by Brother Wayne and Sister Billie Moore has served marvelously well.  Like myself, it has traveled many miles and is now considered in old age.  On a recent trip the Land Rover began to over-heat.  Thinking it was likely the thermostat, but with no tools available, we phoned Daphne and Clement for assistance.  These are friends who kindly allow us to share their home and who own a garage and auto parts company.  They immediately sent mechanics to our rescue. Even though we were delayed some three hours (an acceptable condition among these people who live without our modern conveniences) we continued on to the meeting and found our brethren patiently waiting.  After driving about twenty kilometers the engine again over-heated and we again phoned for help. The mechanics soon returned and it was determined that the water-pump was now at fault.  We slowly drove the vehicle back to town, continually supplying additional water, and arriving much after dark. The next day was spent waiting for repairs.  

Early the next morning we delivered four hundred pounds of maize which we were transporting for a dedicated brother, purchased a pump for one of the irrigation wells, and departed to deliver it.  About seventy kilometers later the engine again over-heated.  By continually adding water, but mostly by the grace of our Lord, we limped back into Blantyre.  It was suggested that the problem might now be a clogged radiator, but that was not to be.  We had already detected a major loss of compression, so the final decision was to rebuild the engine.  We hope the repair will be completed by tomorrow, following which another meeting is scheduled.   

Daphne loaned us their pick-up for our long journey yesterday to Balaka. After a very successful and encouraging meeting at which brethren from other congregations were in attendance, we began our journey homeward. Within about fifty kilometers of our destination the engine began to “clang” terribly.  We discovered the dip-stick would barely touch oil. With Brother Bright searching for oil on a late Sunday afternoon, some cans were finally found and we continued on.  “Clanging” all the way, but with less noise as I drove very slowly, I finally arrived two hours after dark at Blantyre.  As always, God’s providence was certainly present. You might need to know that the pick-up was already in very poor condition.

Brother Ron Slocum of Texas, if the Lord will, is to arrive next Thursday.  It is his intent to be deeply involved in drilling (or digging) water wells for use with the irrigation program.  This we hope will be of great advantage in supplying water for growing a number of crops at various places where cooperative gardens are possible.  With unpredictable seasons of rain and drought, drip-irrigation appears to be a practical and reason-ably inexpensive solution to the problem of hunger.  One such garden has come to the attention of local agriculture officials and is being used by them as a demonstration and experimental plot.  The brethren have even sold some produce from this garden and the other night I enjoyed delicious tomatoes which had been produced there.   

At another garden where we have dug a well and are installing a pump, there existed within fifty feet of ours an old government well and pump  which had been inactive for about four years.  It is my understanding that the government installed their pump with the provision that repair and maintenance would be the responsibility of the community.  It appears that our action prompted the local people to respond to their neglect, for now they have repaired their pump and are not having to go a long distance to the stream for water.  

Seasonal winds have now begun to blow and old timers predict this to be a sign of approaching rain.  We have noticed this wind for several weeks; and sure enough, scattered rains have begun to fall.  The rains were heavy here at Blantyre.  Perhaps with the Lord’s will that it be so, this will be the beginning of a favorable rainy season and fruitful harvests.  

Thanks so much to the many of you who are our dedicated co-workers.  May the Lord grant us wisdom as we serve.  

Harry Cobb

October 2, 2006

Luke and I finally made it home this week and have been trying to deal with the jet lag ever since.  The actual hours in the air were just short of 25 but we had some extensive layovers making the total trip back home about 44 hours long.  I've felt like a limp rag every since we got home.  Once again my mind turns to a certain Senior Citizen from Alabama that has made this trip repeatedly and jumps off the plane ready to grab a tiger by the tail... he's got to be possessed somehow.

 This will be my last update concerning our trip to Africa… and it won’t be the shortest update that you’ve ever received.  I am hoping to also use this to share with some of the brethren that we have been interacting with regarding the unity effort and so I’ll apologize if some of this is redundant for those that are closer to Harry and know his manner of life. 

I have tried to contact Harry the last couple of days to see how some of their meetings went after we left but didn't have any luck.  We began wrapping up our trip by going to Lilongwe, the nation’s capital, and spent some time with the brethren there.  I'm going to be a little selfish here to point to my history with Harry.  Harry has been called into question for years by some that I have known for the methods that he would use to teach those in error.  As a child I recall hearing various rumors that Harry was a liberal and that he'd "go hunt with any dog that wanted to hunt".  Stories were wildly told about him simply going along with brethren associated with the Sunday school, one-cup, on and on.  I am personally persuaded that many divisions have been created and maintained on the mere basis of hear say, and certainly this is true with regards to Brother Harry.  Harry and I have discussed many situations that we have known about brethren who have been in error and I have the utmost confidence that Harry does not condone any interaction with those that are in error without the express purpose of teaching the heart of the weak brother or rebuking the heart of a brother in rebellion.  During our trip I was able to see him kindly correct something that was said that did not line up with the truth, I saw him gently encourage the leadership of a congregation in an area of neglect, the brethren at Lilongwe represent several hundred brethren between multiple congregations (400 at one location, 200 at another, etc) largely represented by brethren that left the one-cup practice and have aligned themselves with those that desire to follow the truth.  And while I've been blessed to see him in action having "compassion, making a difference" he also knows how to "save with fear, pulling them out of the fire" (Jude 22-23).   A meeting was to be had this past week to bring two brethren into account for their sin who have created many problems for the congregations in their area by being a "Diotrephes" in the case of one and a teacher that is living in adultery in the case of the other.  By the time I left there was a strong commitment by the brethren to withdraw their fellowship from these men if they would not repent.  The truth from scripture is that there is not a one-size-fits-all way to deal with brethren who are in error and a determination must be made to whether the intent is one of weakness or willfulness.  In all of these efforts the Christian heart should have the charity to be "made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." (1 Cor 9:22)  Harry readily admits that he's made mistakes and has misjudged situations through the years, and I appreciate so much his humility and transparency.  But you cannot take a trip such as this with Harry and leave believing in any way that he is lenient towards sin or is casual about how he approaches those who are in error.  I have visited with brethren who take exception to some of Harry's practices and have asked repeatedly for these brethren to show me from scripture where he is in error.  The conclusion that I have had to come to is that he may violate some man-made traditions that some hold dear, but I have never received an answer that biblically defined his error.  In fact some have been honest enough to share that their difference with Harry is not defined by scripture.  We would certainly like to ask for the prayers of the brethren who continue to pursue unity and peace among Gods people founded on the solid rock of truth.

 The last place we visited this past Lord's Day was the congregation in Bereu.  This was a day that I won't soon forget.  Harry had asked me to be prepared to speak and I was ready for another day full of teaching and meeting the needs of those that we were with... but the good Lord had other plans.  We arrived shortly before services were to start and we were told that they had asked a brother from Mozambique to come over and speak for them.  They were about to rearrange their plans because of our arrival but we were happy to encourage them to carry on as though we weren’t there.  It was great to just set with the brethren and take in the service.  We had been told that one of the sisters had passed away during the night and that they would have a gathering of the brethren at the home of the family shortly after services.  We went with the brethren the short distance to the home in this quiet village and as we neared the home we began to hear the wailing of some of the sisters in the distance.  As we approached we were led to a small brick outbuilding with a cane roof.  Several sisters slowly left the building as we came near and we were led inside.  There a young lady that departed this life at the age of 26 lay on a bamboo mat having been wrapped in a burial cloth.  We were told that she had been sick for a long time but in her passing had left a 6 year old child behind.  The people in Malawi are generally shorter than we are but I was surprised at how small this precious sister had become, perhaps not weighing over 80 pounds.  Here's where our trip would come full circle.  We began in Mozambique where there were great medical needs and we were delighted to help provide some small gifts of healing.  But here, even with slightly better medical resources, a long illness ended in the final relief of death.  I was asked to lead a prayer while we stood there together which I was hesitant to do knowing that I don't always hold my emotions in well.  But I was struck with the thought of how much a gift death is to those who suffer terribly in this life without the hope of healing.  It was such a sad occasion and yet the knowledge that a poor suffering soul suffered no more and with the hope that she now enjoys the presence of her Father sustained our thoughts.  After a song we passed out of the building and followed the leaders to the shade of a large tree.  As we sat contemplatively a group of about 24 of the young folk from church, who had spent some time formerly as a choir in the church before coming to the truth, began to sing.  My thoughts would later turn to Joseph's comments to his brothers when confronting them about selling him into slavery when he said "but God meant it unto good".  I've been blessed to get to hear some fine singing in years past and they too knew how to sing with multiple parts and in perfect timing and balance... but I've never heard anything that would compare to these hearts that were just pouring out their sweetest harmonies for a family in deep pain. 

 We would then quietly leave and were guided to the family gardens that the brethren labor together on that are sustained by the well that Harry helped them to put in times past.  It was a refreshing turn to leave a place of death and sadness and observe this place of fellowship and life springing from the healthy soil.  This time spent with the brethren in the garden would be one of the last times we would have with the brethren in Africa.  As we strolled through the produce I kept thinking of the old hymn about a garden... here too he walked with us, and talked with us, and told us we were his own.  The joys we shared as we gathered there this old world will never know. 

I want to thank Harry so much for asking us to make this trip with him.  We were blessed in so many ways to grow and learn and experience life by our brothers there that we knew so little about.  I trust that we will all remember Harry in our prayers as well as for Ron and Danny as they prepare to sacrifice once more large portions of their time for the benefit of those that have such great need.  We are also grateful that the Lord's will has allowed for such bountiful work in Africa... He is so good.  May your Lord's Day be one of many blessings.

Allen Kirk, Durango, Colorado



September 18, 2006

The trip from America to the Netherlands was, thankfully, uneventful for Luke and myself as we spent one of our shortest nights ever with our plane racing towards the east.  We would not meet up with Harry until we arrived at Amsterdam, and we would be there about an hour before Harry’s flight came in.  We were anxious by the time we saw him coming up the wing to where we were to meet and we were never happier to see that sweet bald head.  We flew on to Johannesburg, spent the night there, and the next made it on in to Blayntre.  Harry, and indeed the church, has been blessed here by their friendship with Daphanie.  She is helpful in everyway as are those in her employ.  We had noticed a significant noise under the Land Rover that the church has here as we took care of some business when we first arrived, but her mechanics couldn’t find anything wrong.  We then pressed on to Mozambique to work with some of the brethren right across the border.  

We spent three days at the first camp that Harry may give a name to in his report.  Harry gave a shortened version of his Genesis to the present day study with Bro. Bright, whom we’d picked up from his home as well as another one of the evangelists here, doing the translating.  Harry asked me to speak for a while and I was glad to give him a break though I don’t see how he keeps doing what he does.  This first place took us nearly an hour to drive to from Mélange over a road that would be similar to some of our wore out logging roads back home.  For three days we would travel over this rough and rugged road to the brethren awaiting us and then Harry would preach all day with the exception of a few breaks, and then travel that hard road back to the “rest house”.  But the people there in the bush are starved for good teaching and attention.  They set there for those many hours on the ground or on hard benches taking in every word like sponges.  When we start to drive up the kids and women are the first ones we’re likely to see.  My first time to take in the greeting you receive here will not be one that I’ll soon forget.  One particular middle-aged woman started jumping up and down in excitement like we see kids react to the ice cream truck that is coming through the park.  I love their singing here and it’s seldom better than the greeting in song you receive from them when you arrive.  The combination of the beating Harry takes over here while in the bush and their ability to endure hours setting on top of the packed dirt of this dry land made for wonderful results on the Lord’s Day when somewhere around 125-150 people came forward asking for prayers and 24 asked to be baptized.  I can’t put into words the spiritual upliftment that grew thru the day, but I can testify that it was very good.  

Monday and Tuesday would be dedicated to another group of believers that would be more than 2 hours down the same road from Mélange.  We had taken a tent and sleeping bags with us and because of the drive decided to spend the night in the bush.  Again we were well received and Harry would spend the first day talking on the Holy Spirit, which has had a great effect in converting a good many here from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The second day he taught on the Eldership having God’s ideals always in mind to see these brethren grow to full maturity.  Monday night was something else...  After we turned in the brethren began to visit and about the time I was about to dose off they started to sing... and sing they did!  Then they began to tell stories that were responded to by loud laughter, and then they’d sing some more, tell more stories, on and on.  This lasted all night even though it was evident that the crowd was smaller by early morning.  It brought a recollection to me of camp meetings from when I was a child of big belly laughs from a pair of bibbed over-all’s, fresh cold lemonade, and giggles from little girls being chased by their daddies.  The land, food, and customs are all different here, but it is the same Christian heart that grows from sweet fellowship with their brethren.  I did not get but little sleep that night... but I’ll never complain.  It was a good night. 

The next morning I spotted a little boy that had an open sore beside his mouth and asked Bright to see if I could put some medicine on it.  Brother Harry showed us some footage one time of a brother that had been attacked carrying some money for the church and had been laid into with machetes.  I didn’t have any idea what needs might come up but I decided to take along a medial kit in case we came along some areas of concern that we thought we could help with.  We were able to clean and apply some anti-bacterial ointment to this wound only to find that his little sister had a hole that had been burned in the back of her hand that about the size of a dollar piece.  I flushed and flushed the dead skin that was horribly filled with bacteria with peroxide.  I was finally able to rinse it and dress it.  It should receive continual care that she will not likely get.  Now the patients start lining up... next a man with painful toothache, then a lady with fever.  We attended to them the best we could and then set down to hear Harry preach.  The first thing Harry does is to tell them that I’m a doctor from America and that we’re glad that we can be of assistance to them.  I could have died...  Here we are in a country that I know little about with people that I can’t understand one word from, and now Harry decides to take a trip down Senility Road.  I have certified in years gone by as an EMT and have received various trainings, but I have not held a certification of any kind, including simple CPR, in the last 10-12 years.  In truth I’m only a dime’s width closer to being a doctor than I am being an astronaut.  Please pray for Harry’s quick recovery before Luke becomes a veterinarian.  

Harry did go on to explain that my training had exceeded many of their doctors and that was why he felt the liberty to promote me.  After the assembly there was more patients... a lady with goiter, a condition caused due to the lack of iodine, had a plum sized tumor in front of her Adam’s apple that is compressing her esophagus and causing her pain along the length of it.  Next was a young boy who has pain around his eyes and his sight fades in and out.  It appeared that he had very little sight at the time I looked at him and would only catch glimpses of the light from my penlight.  With it fading in and out there is hope that with help he might be able to regain his eyesight, but he may well go blind without it.  Harry and I have been talking about away to get him across the border to a hospital where he could get the care he needs.  We don’t know if this is possible yet, but we would certainly ask for the prayers of the brethren on his behalf.  

The needs of the brethren are great here physically, spiritually, and quite likely mentally.  They have been devastated by drought and war over the last couple of centuries.  There are still stories of kids coming along a soviet mine left from their civil war where the kids are killed or dismembered.  I hate the feeling of helplessness where the need is so blatantly obvious and yet there are not enough resources to pull from to help them all.  The fact that I would potentially have more skills than their doctors is itself a testimony of what little they have here for medical resources... it is just next to nothing.  Against the great need here we have done very little despite being very busy, and I’m burdened by that.  Even so they all smile broadly and sing for our safety as we headed back to Malawi. 

Upon our return here we again had concerns about the Land Rover and brother Harry had it examined again this time by a team of mechanics that seemed to have more training.  The result was quickly found that the right front bearing was going out.  We were overwhelmed by the thought of how different this trip could have turned out had the bearing gone bad while we were in the bush... God has been good to us and we are so very thankful.  We are taking another day’s break from the brethren today so that the repairs can be made to it. 

Luke has a lot of fun taking pictures of the kids and then turning the digital camera around where they can see themselves.  They are very verbal in the their expressions and are just delighted that someone has them on record.  The evening air here is cool and refreshing and the sunsets in Africa are truly beautiful.  This would only be made better if they could be shared with a certain lady of beauty from the mountains of Colorado...........................  50 points.  God bless you all! 

Allen Kirk

Now, the note from Allen's son Luke: 

Harry asked if I could send out another update.  So here's just a quick note as it's late and we'll need to get back to our quarters soon.  We've been back out in the bush the last couple of days teaching to those that represent 17 different congregations.  Most of those in attendance are leaders in their congregations and so Harry spoke for a while yesterday on a shortened version of his Genesis thru Christ study and then asked me to speak on the home and Eldership.  All of this seems to be appreciated and we we travel on to yet another location to spend a couple of days there.  If I've counted right we have distributed about 220 Bibles so far even though some congregations will only get four or five of these because there are so many congregations and too few Bibles to go around.  We are very blessed to see brethren that want so much to learn the truth and set patiently for hours to hear it taught.  They are very grateful for our presence and do their best to make us feel welcome although they are very poor.  We continue to have good responses by those that desire the prayers of the church for sin in their lives and for healing from various sicknesses.  We would continue to ask our brethren to remember these in your prayers as many times this will likely be the only avenue for intersession in their lives.

 Take care and God bless.

MAY 27, 2006  

With so very much remaining to be done and only four more days until we are to return to the United States, our time is rapidly fading.  In addition to the primary purpose of teaching God’s word, however, a number of essential matters have been successfully attended.  

One of  the foremost tasks was to drill the first water well (bore-hole, as they term it) with the drilling rig brought from America.  Hand dug wells had been successfully placed in operation, but this was the first time for us to learn and train others in the use of power equipment.  One of our brothers was an accomplished well-digger and it was our hope that he would adapt to this system new to him.  He did extremely well and we have fond hope of him continuing to be most instrumental in such future operations. Brothers Danny Abercrombie and Gabe Cogburn, both being very mechanical capable, quickly and efficiently mastered the technique and taught our Malawian brother. 

It is often our sad responsibility to interceded in matters of jealously and accusations.   This is so distasteful and we attempt to have the native brethren handle their own problems, but thankfully our presence does appear to have a calming effect.  Jealously is a real and ever to be suspected tendency among the Malawians.  This has been one of our continuing topics of concern and teaching.  Hopefully progress in this area is being made among our brethren.   Requests for our time and presence at their assemblies are also  areas with which we constantly struggle.  We regret to decline, but there is simply not enough time to favorably respond to every invitation.  Both Danny and Gabe will hopefully speak at out final assembly tomorrow.  These two American brethren have been genuine fellow-workers and have been highly respected by the disciples here.  

During this journey we enjoyed  association with several of eighteen congregations which last year began to work in cooperation with  those of our persuasion regarding the communion. 

We returned just last evening  from Chitipa, an area 675 miles north of Blantyre (our primary place to lodge), after  a long and tiring journey of about a week’s duration.  This northwest finger of Malawi lies in a remote district between Zambia to the west and Tanzania to the north.  The final 50 or so miles before reaching Chitipa was over a rough and twisting dirt road and required about three hours.   On this journey we experienced two flat tires, one leaking spare, one blow-out, and another tire which required replacement before continuing.  Two new tires were purchased, after which no other difficulties occurred.  The Lord’s blessings certainly accompanied us, for in this country driving is hazardous and is extremely dangerous at night.  Gabe, being much younger than either Danny or me,  certainly demonstrated his concern and skill in tire-changing.  In addition to this, Gabe (and not Danny as usual) was most helpful in mounting the top of the Land Cruiser in loading and unloading cargo. 

The Chitipa endeavor was a second visit among congregations which, upon learning of our  practices and persuasions,  recently  invited our presence.   The experience was both  sad and encouraging.  Sad in that several congregations influenced by digressive and liberal trends rejected our teaching regarding the clergy, institutions other than the Lord’s church, classes and women teachers, and divorce and remarriage.  It was encouraging because a number of congregations, having seen and experienced difficulties in following digressive trends and brethren, firmly stood for the Bible pattern.  We maintain high hope for  progress among these congregations. 

While on this trip we saw a snake about four foot long which had just been killed; perhaps a cobra or mamba..  We also ran over what .appeared  to be  a  small crocodile. Urgency in time prevented us from stopping at either incident.  Along the same highway, however, a young boy darted across the road without looking.  Danny locked the brakes of our vehicle, sliding into the path where the boy was headed, but maintaining control. Upon hearing the screeching of the brakes, the boy came to a sudden stop as we passed closely by.  With thanksgiving to God, the boy was not injured and we continued on our journey.   The children here are almost always careful in crossing the road, but isolated incidences such as this make us to always be on alert.  Dogs are not so careful and one was struck one night. 

On this same journey we were able to see a genet (similar to a weasel) which had killed a long, unidentified snake, a mongoose, monitor lizards, crocodiles,  hippos, elephants,  impalas, waterbucks, kudos, a sable, and several animals and birds unknown to our North America. 

We are sincerely grateful to our Lord and to each of you who have so faithfully made possible our coming to work among the disciples here in Africa.  The cause of our Lord here is growing and we are pleased that our heavenly Father has allowed us the privilege to serve His purpose among these people.


Scenes from Malawi

May 12, 2006

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Danny, Harry and I send our greetings from Malawi, and thanks to you for keeping us in your prayers.  The past week has proved to be mentally, physically and spiritually taxing.  But as with any sincere work for the Lord, we have been spiritually encouraged by spending time with our brothers and sisters in Christ dwelling in the country of Malawi.  Upon my arrival Saturday afternoon in Blantyre, brothers Harry and Danny were gracious enough to pick me up from the airport and initiate me to the work here in Malawi.  Most of the afternoon was spent running errands and packing the vehicle for our upcoming trip to Mozambique. 

Sunday morning we headed over to a congregation close to Blantyre called BCA.  The members there had a warm and welcoming reception for us.  Brother Harry presented a lesson encouraging them to continue spreading the gospel as there is no guarantee he will be able to continue traveling over here.  Later that afternoon we took a couple of brethren with us to look at a parcel of land for purchase to build another church.  The congregation that would use that location is presently meeting in a temporary grass and wood hut in front of one of the brother’s house.  The land seemed to be promising in its location and price as well as the possibility for serving as crop bearing soil.  The decision to buy the parcel was made and Lord willing the transaction should be complete in the coming week. 

Early Monday morning we left for Mozambique picking up brothers Bright and Kokole on the way.  We arrived at the Nyangani congregation around 11:30am to 3:00 brothers and sisters welcoming us with song.   They crowded around the car grinning ear-to-ear, eagerly welcoming us with chorus’s of gospel songs in their native language of Chichewa.  Because numerous congregations were present for this meeting, they built a special grass covered awning to hold the meeting as the church building could not hold the capacity of people.  Brother Harry spoke for a total of four hours on the subject of “Where are God’s People”, starting in Genesis and going through the story of the Bible into the New Testament.  A picture tells a thousand words, but brother Danny and I commented to each other how these people did not avert their attention for one minute while sitting on nothing more than two bricks stacked on top of each other for a total of four hours.  Brother Harry fielded a variety of questions afterward and after meeting the village chief and others we headed back to a small town in Mozambique to a rest house for the evening.

Tuesday we traveled two hours to the church of Makaruka also located in Mozambique, once again receiving a warm welcome with song from another 300 members.  Brother Harry spoke on the subject of the Holy Spirit to another extremely attentive audience.  Though he could have spent much more time on such a complex subject, he did an excellent job keeping it simple enough for the people to comprehend while exhorting them to further study.  Wherever you hold a meeting here in Africa, the people are excellent students of the Word.  They are a bottomless glass when it comes to teaching, no matter how long you teach or how many times you ask them if they are ready to stop, they continue to ask for more…more…more!!!!!!  I feel I can speak for Danny and Harry when I say “they encourage us more than they will ever know”.

The remainder of the week was spent in and around Blantyre attending to a variety of things requiring attention.  Thursday we continued working on the first drilled well.  As expected, there is a large learning curve, but progress continues and we are optimistic for this and other future wells’ success.  As is in every part of the world, there are problems among brothers and congregations, but with the proper spirit and Godly wisdom there is no problem that the Church cannot overcome.  It is getting late, but we send you our love and request for future prayers concerning this work. 

In His love,


May 6, 2006

Many of our brethren will remember fondly the “good ‘ole days” when they could fill their automobile tanks for about $20.00 and earlier for  even less.  You don’t do that here in Malawi.  Diesel costs $5.29 per gallon and it requires about $70.00 to refill the tank of the Toyota Land Cruiser – and that time comes often!  

As is to be expected on our frequent trips to this area of Southeastern Africa, the disciples often bring to our attention several problems which they have been unable to solve.  We Americans by no means have all the answers and our judgment is not always correct, but our experience and Bible knowledge appears to be received with great respect and appreciation.  Already we have been faced with an alleged case of adultery involving one of the leading brethren and dissention among brethren at another place.   

On the first Sunday of our journey an assembly was cancelled at Kachere for the purpose of holding a joint assembly with the brethren at Milonde.  275 were reported in attendance.  I spoke on the matter of realizing responsibility to carry forward the Lord’s work even though those from America were never to return.  It has been our intent to develop a self-sustaining work here, as it is in every area we travel.  This requires much time, of course, and is a continuing growth process.  

Monday, May 1, found Brother Danny and me journeying to Chickwawa for discussion with the Mhango’s.  After much inquiry regarding various brethren and congregations in the area, we discussed the efforts in Zambia.  Upon speaking by cell phone with William Mhango in Zambia, we were advised and agreed to delay until he notifies us of conditions with the Zambian government improving so that we may proceed.  That government is presently denying confirmation of all religious groups.   

Brethren Vincent and Winston Mhango were this week-end to proceed via dug-out canoe on a journey into Mozambique.  They laughed about my being too big to fit into the canoe.  They were correct, of course, for the dug-our canoes have extremely small openings where one sits and I  am extremely big around the middle. Brother Joshua Mahongo departed on  Friday for Philombe and from there was to proceed by ox cart to deliver iron sheets (barn tin) to a congregation across the border in Mozambique.  

On the same day Brother Danny and I met with Brother Haha for the purpose of having him examined by a competent doctor.  Previously he had been treated, and seemingly with little good result, by a local practitioner who suggested that he see a qualified doctor.  Daphne, the woman in whose house she and her husband have a room reserved for us, kindly offered to take him and did so.  It is well known here that when our white faces are seen the price often increases; thus the need to have a native attend to such affairs.  Brother Haha’s ailment appears to be something likened to a small case of phenomena.  Medicine was given to him and he was told to return next Friday.  We paid to cost of kl,705 which included both services of the doctor AND related medicines ($11.92).  Can you imagine?   One of the medicines given Brother Haha was amoxicillin (250 mg), two capsules three times daily.  Mr. Harold Harmon, my pharmacists at Wedowee back in America had kindly donated 500 amoxicillin (500 mg) for our use among the natives here in Africa,  This night Daphne requested some of the donated medicine for her husband.  At Brother Abercrombie’s suggestion, Daphne telephoned his doctor and the doctor adjusted the prescribed dosage to comply with the 500 mg capsules.   

With a truck borrowed from Daphne and Clement, loaded earlier with necessary materials and pulling the well-drilling trailer, we proceeded on Thursday, May 4, to Mulanje to begin our first machine-dug well.  We were somewhat hindered in beginning the actual digging process by several factors, but learning as we went and with the kind assistance of many brethren eager to be a part of this venture, we dug the first thirty-five feet before evening.  Supper and real cold Coca Colas were certainly a treat upon returning to Blantyre and dining at one of the very few restaurants open late at night.  Hot water was not available, but even cold baths made us rejoice and refreshed at having the grime removed.  

The next day, after attending to the needs of several brethren with the purchase of building materials, we returned to the well site and continued digging.  With his mechanical knowledge and determination to accomplish this venture which offers so much hope for this drought-prone area, Brother Danny is a real blessing.  We thank the Lord for Danny’s presence and conscientious efforts. 

Saturday, May 6.  After purchasing necessities for our forthcoming trip next week among congregations in Mozambique, if the Lord will, we are scheduled to meet at the airport Brother Gabe Cogburn who is flying-in from Sierra Vista, Arizona, to join us for the remainder of our current venture. 

We are most appreciative for the support, by interest, by prayer, and  financially, so graciously extended by you, our beloved fellow-laborers in the work of our Lord. 


May 2, 2006

I would like to let everyone know that all is well with Bro. Harry and me here in Malawi Africa. The trip over was long and tiring but we survived it ok. We arrived in Blantyre on Wednesday the 26th of April at the airport where we were met by Daphne Nkhoma. Daphne is the wonderful lady who gives us room and board in her home. She lives with her husband, Celment, four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. The boys many times go with us on Sunday to worship. Hopefully we will be able to convert them in the near future. The vehicle which we drive was purchased by Bro. Wayne Moore some time back. It is a Toyota Land Curser and has been a blessing to us.

The church here has many problems like we have in America.  We have had to deal with some of these our first week here. There is a Brother who has been very faithful and worked hard in the church for a long time now has been accused of committing adultery. Bro. Harry and I went to those who accused him and discussed this matter of adultery. After our discussion with the brethren, we went and confronted the one accused. He denied it. This is not the first time someone has been accused of this sin. You have to be very careful who you believe.

A tornado came through in mid December last year and tore off the roofs of two church buildings.  We went this past Lord’s Day and had a service in one of the buildings that had the roof torn off. The other building was only about ½ mile away. One of the buildings was where a Brother had left quite a while back and took several members with him. Our last trip over here we met with him and he repented and came back. It now is a wonderful opportunity for these two congregations to start back meeting together. Bro. Harry did a superb job in helping bring this about. They will now join together and build one new church building in the same area where all 275 can meet together. There will be several teachers and evangelist at this congregation who will now be working together. We are very pleased with the work of the church here in Malawi. It is growing due to the teaching that Bro. Harry has done here in the past. There are many STRONG teachers and evangelist here which have started new congregations all around Malawi. What a wonderful blessing to see growth in the Lord’s church.

The hunger problem. At present it seems that the hunger is almost past due to new crops coming in. The drought left its mark for many have died and quite a few have become sick. There is one Brother who is very sick at present and we plan on taking him to the hospital tomorrow. He is very important to the work of the church here in Malawi. His name is Bro. Haha. Please put him on our prayer list.

There are request for finical aid from many brethren. It ranges from the need for new church buildings, metal roofs, bicycles, spare parts for bicycles, transport, medicine, clothes, hunger, seeds, fertilizer, Bibles, song books and much much more. There is no way to supply all their needs. We use our judgment as to what and who is most needful.

Next week our plan is to go to Mozambique for approximately three days and two nights. We will be sleeping on the ground, in a tent or maybe standing up. Ha! It is a congregation that is about 3 miles from the road. The only way for us to get to them is to walk. I will record the sermons, Lord willing, so those who would like to hear may do so.

Bro. Gabe Cogburn from Sierri Vista Arizona is going to arrive here from the US on Saturday. This will be Gabe’s first trip to Malawi.   I am looking forward to seeing and working with him here in Africa.  Bro. Bill Yarbrough has been here with Bro. Harry in the past. There are many who ask about Bill and want to know how he is doing. He is well liked by all who know him.

We plan to meet this week with a member of the church who hand digs wells and try to train him to use our well drilling machine.  We feel that he will be very capable of doing this while we away. There are plans for many meetings while we are here this trip.  We have endless request for meetings.  We could hold a meeting every day for the next year and could not get to all the request. What a blessing to know that there are those who are eager to learn the truth and to serve God.

Well there is plenty more to talk about but I have said enough this time. I will try to get an update sometime after we get back from Mozambique. I am sure that there will be a lot to talk about. Please remember us in your prayers. I am sending you some pictures of the church buildings that were damaged in the storm.
Hope all is well your way. I will send another update towards the end of next week.


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October 11, 2005


Our plans had to be changed today as we had a request to meet with several brethren from the one container group. These brethren had heard of our work and teaching here in Malawi and requested to talk with us. Early this morning we had a meeting with representative men from these churches. They gave a detailed description of their desire to work with us. Bro. Harry, in his excellent manner, spoke on the cup question, marriage and divorce issue, pastors, women teachers, choirs, centralization and other issues. Their response was most favorable. After a long discussion they decided that our teaching was right and they decided to work with us. This included 27 congregations. Our plans are when we return to visit and work with these brethren.

Just a few days earlier we were contacted by brethren who had departed from our fellowship about three years ago and desired to return and again work with us. We met at the home of Bro. Howa. He made a confession and prayer was made and reconciliation took place. We are very happy and pleased with the work of the church here in Malawi. Bro. Harry's teaching has taken effect in the hearts and minds of many here. Let us pray that he can continue many years presenting his knowledge of the truth to these people.

Looking forward to some gravy and biscuits. Also some streak-o-lean. Hope to see all soon, Lord willing. We plan on leaving tomorrow headed home.



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Blantyre, Malawi, Central Africa

October 10, 2005

An old-timer informs us that recent change in the winds perhaps indicates a soon coming of the rains.  This would be a genuine blessing for these people who depend so heavily on their maize (corn) crop for survival.  One rain has already come and those who planted afterward now have beautiful, small plants emerging above the soil.  I suspect that many will plant this year after the second rain rather than wait until the third as is customary.

The drought has been extremely severe.  Wells have gone dry and everywhere we drive rivers which normally have water in them have none.  We have not yet visited the beautiful Likabula waterfall on Mount Mulanji, but the river which flows from it is very low.  The swift-moving waters which usually flow there appear to hardly move.  Perhaps the Lord this year will send early rains and relieve the situation.

We returned yesterday from a series of meeting and detailed studies at a congregation known as Kotamo, near the Mozambique border.  There were 682 in attendance, so many that the building was filled to capacity and others sitting outside.  Food was depleted, so we purchased additional maize and two goats.  With view to the wells being dry, we also brought four large containers of water from Blantyre.  

At the house where we reside in Blantyre the geyser failed to function, so we were without hot water for several days.  The weather being so warm, however, permitted the cold baths to be really refreshing.  As you might have surmised, a geyser here is what we in America call a hot water heater.  

Tornados are relatively rare here in Malawi.  The other day, however, as we drove along a rural dirt road we saw in front of our Land Rover a whirlwind twisting and moving rapidly in front of us.  It lifted and damaged the straw roof on a nearby house and continued onward.  We are told that sometimes these small tornadoes destroy the hand-molded brick houses. 

Iced tea is unheard of here (except in hotels where Americans sometimes visit).  This can sometimes be overcome, however, by ordering tea (always hot tea) and then ordering a tall glass of ice.  The waiter will not understand, and often ice is either very limited or not at all available.  At one place we are served Coke-Cola either cold or at room temperature with ice, but not both.  It is difficult for them to under-stand that we desire Coke-Cola both cold AND with ice.  Differences in  our customs are most evident and often very interesting.  Some eat mice and some a certain type of beetle.  Many eat termites.  It is difficult for us to understand their ability to withstand the heat.  Even on days when the heat is soaring men will often fully dress in pants, shirt, coat, tie, and sometimes vest.  They appear not to be in the least affected.  They, too, can withstand the direct rays of the sun much better than we. I must be very cautious with my bald head and exposed hands.  Being on time is not as important as it is to us Americans; and if we happen to be late they will patiently wait. 

In addition to our habits being somewhat different, there is also a difference in our reasoning and approach.  If I were to say, “You are not sick are you?” they would reply “Yes.”  Instead of answering “No” as we might, they would properly answer, Yes.”  By this they would mean, “Yes, I am not sick.”  Although their language uses an alphabet as we do, it usually requires many more words to express thoughts. No expression is comparable to our Latin based Western languages.  Even though there are doors on both sides of the vehicle, the Malawians will often all enter on the same side and crawl over one another. When going to purchase something several brothers will accompany you when only one may be needed.  One of the most elderly brethren is eighty-two. 

This nation, as acknowledged by many with whom we have spoken, is becoming increasingly corrupt.  Reports of crime and corruption fill  the newspapers, but it is evident to us each day especially in the major city, Blantyre.  Just a couple of hours ago a man boldly opened our Land Rover door and grabbed our tape measure, likely the easiest thing to locate, for both Danny and I were we were just a few feet away.  We chased the man, not knowing for sure what he had stolen.  Seeing our persistence (and with the Lord’s blessing) he threw the object down and we discontinued our chase.

Our primary purpose in being in this area of God’s vineyard, of course, is to proclaim His word and strengthen the disciples.  Another door has opened in South Africa with the conversion of a man here in Malawi who is from South Africa and has returned to that country determined to convert to the truth churches with which he has been working.  Two brothers here in Malawi plan journeys there to follow-through on this work.  Perhaps five congregations in South Africa are involved. We have been invited and encouraged to visit there on our next African trip. 

A few days ago while distributing plastic for covering prayer-houses and funds for food to an area where we work among five congregations, Brother Oscar Chilola informed us that six congregations of the one-container persuasion desired to identify themselves with our efforts.

Brother Chilola cautioned them that we had nothing to offer (not money, not goods) but simply the truth as revealed in the Bible.  On that basis we would be most pleased to have their association.  Although  Brother Danny and I intend to depart for America in two days, these brethren have sent word that a host of similar one-container congregations from various districts desire to meet with us before we leave.

We have altered our plans and are scheduled to meet with them early in the morning.  Prospects appear most favorable and we are indeed grateful for this opportunity.  May our gracious Lord bless this endeavor to His glory and grant us wisdom as we proceed.


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October 4, 2005

Here is an update of the meeting at Tafika congregation Monday thru Wednesday. 

The meeting has come to an end at Tafika and was a wonderful success. We had planned on having 3 services a day.  Plans were to have a night service but had to be canceled due to the fact that many would have had to walk home in the dark. There were 2 services each day for a total of six.  There was a morning service beginning around 10:00am and breaking for lunch around 12:30pm. We would come back about 2:00pm and end about 4:30pm.  There was an opportunity to ask questions at the close of each service. Many good questions were asked by the brethren.  Approximately two hundred were present and the interest was beyond expectation. Their eyes were glued on Bro. Harry as he spoke on the subject, “Where are Gods people?”  He began in Genesis the first chapter and went through the Old Testament and into the New to the establishment of the church. He then taught on the set up of the church and why we are different from other religious groups. 

All who know Bro. Harry and have been around him are truly blessed.  The knowledge he has in the scriptures is superb and the way he presents the word of God to these people here in Malawi can only be expressed as spectacular.  When he gets into the deep study of the scriptures, he has a way of explaining it that they all understand. He has truly got a God given talent which he uses to the fullest.  He winds up a 2 ½ hour session the way he started, eager to teach as long as necessary and looking tireless. I do not know where he gets all his energy from. Harry is under a great deal of pressure. I know not how to explain to you the pressure he is under.  I guess it would be like putting 10 tons of load in a 1 ton truck. He is certainly overloaded but keeps on never complaining.  Everywhere we go and meet with brethren, they tell us of their problems. Hunger is one of the main problems. The drought is the worse it has been in years. Many, many have nothing to eat. There is hardly any maze to be bought. Another problem is iron sheets for the church buildings. So many have grass roofs and are in need of repair or replacing. Every one of the leaders is requesting Bibles and song books. There are problems many times among leaders. You can go on and on, problem after problem. Harry handles these with love, kindness, as a true professional. I count it a joy and wonderful privilege to work here with him.

We plan on starting another meeting at Nachawale congregation tomorrow. There we will hold 3 sessions a day. Those who attend this meeting will stay over at night so we can have a meeting after dark using 12volt lighting which we shipped over in the container. The three sessions a day will be approximately 7 ½  hours total of teaching. There will be a large crowd with many walking miles to attend.

Well, please overlook all my typing errors I probably have made in this report. It is late and past bedtime. Harry is a sleep and I need to be. Please remember us in your prayers. It is a very dangerous traveling from place to place.

 May the Lord bless all.


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When I graduated from college in May 1970, I wanted to join the Peace Corp and work on irrigation in Africa. The Peace Corp said they did not need anyone to work on irrigation in Africa and wanted to send me to Thailand. So I went to Phoenix, Ariz. to work and met my wife, Debra. Know many years later I am going to Africa to work on irrigation. I probably know more about it know than I did in 1970.

Harry Cobb, Danny Abercrombie and I got to Malawi on Sept. 8. It was a long flight and we were tired. We hit the ground running. The first five days were spent getting the money to them who were in need of food. The Southern part of Africa was had less than average rainfall for several years. I learned more about life in those five days than I learned in five years of college and 58 years of  living. 

We went down there to begin using the drilling rig to bore holes to get water for irrigation. We just thought we knew what we wanted to do. The Lord changed our direction the first day.  We are having a hard time getting tags for the drilling rig. The dug irrigation well at Bereu only had a foot of water in it and they were using dirty water to put in their drip system because the water was muddy. We arranged for a well digger to dig it deeper while the water is low. We went to buy a pump to get the water out so they could dig deeper. Then we arranged to hand dig another well where the water table was within five feet of the surface. 

Let me just make this comment. Any of you who gave money to Harry to take to use in Malawi, don’t worry about him misusing the money. He is the biggest penny pincher I ever met. I can say that we got the cheapest pump in town and it was American made. It is true that some money has been stole from us and at times money he gives others is sometimes  misused. Harry usually finds out about it if it is misused. It is a very small amount of the total money being given to help the people of Malawi. If we did not do anything, we would not have to worry about theses kind of mistakes. We would be guilty of only one mistake. That is the mistake of doing nothing. Which would be the biggest mistake of all. 

Let me tell you about the people I met. 

  1. Bright told me how He converted a Lutheran Church in Mozambique  that had over 40 members.
  2. Symon is a man who works 12 hours a day at night seven days a week for $25.00 per month. He is also making money trying to sell things during the day. He also farms and has land next to a creek that he waters with a five gallon bucket. His bike got stole and we bought him a new bike. He says he gets two hours of sleep each night.
  1. Langston interpreted for me at Church. He had deep concerns about how poor his     people are. He is a School teacher and is one of the few who have jobs.
  1. Stefano lived far off a paved rode, what we Americans would call the middle of nowhere. His Father was an outstanding evangelist we  had bought a bike for. His Father had died and Stefano has assumed his Father’s role in the Church. He could not get his Father’s bike so we bought him one. You should have seen the proud look on his face. One lady gave Harry money to buy some one a bike. I guess you could say that this was that bike.
  1. I met two Winston’s, a uncle and a nephew. The elder Winston was trying to get a passport so he could go to Tanzania to work with a church he helped start. He has made several trips to the passport office without any luck. Harry spent one whole day helping him to no avail. If he would offer a bribe, I am sure he could get it a lot faster. Bribes get things done a lot faster, but that is not God’s way of doing things.
  1. We were assisting with digging a new well over a several day period. A man named Robinson came riding up on a bicycle. He said we keep diving by his house and he followed us to see what we were doing. He thanked us and thanked us for helping his people of Malawi. He is not a member of the Church of Christ. I am going to look him up when I go back.
  1. Let me tell you about Joshua. He is a farmer who has a dream. A dream to be self sufficient and no more have to worry about his people having to hunger. He is determined to make drip irrigation work. He went 100 miles away to talk to other congregations to get them to use drip irrigation. That is where Harry and Danny went this pass Sunday after I came home. I held hands with Joshua and talked with him about farming. Holding hands in Malawi means friendship. A total different meaning than what it means in America. He also told me how he is helping start a new Church down the road so that members would not have so far to walk to Church.

In conclusion, Acts 2:44-47 said that all the Christians had everything in common and shared everything. I witness it for the first time when I went to Malawi. They are the most humble people I ever met. 

These people have a dream. I want to help them achieve that dream. 

Ron Slocum



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Blantyre, Malawi, Central Africa

September 26, 2005 

The Lord’s work continues to make progress here deep in “the warm heart of Africa;” our days being filled with activities and invitations to conduct studies more than we can attend.   

What a blessing we enjoyed today!  Brother Danny, two other brethren from Chikwawa, and I visited the three year old Palonia congregation located about two and one-half hours east of Blantyre.  Danny addressed an assembly of one hundred and two regarding the approaching judgment.  His message was excellent and received most favorable attention.  Thirteen requested prayer and twenty-five, mostly young people, were baptized.   Eighty Bibles were distributed to leaders present from four congregations, as were supplies for the beginning of irrigation gardens. 

It is interesting that Phalonia was established when the body of a deceased brother at Bereu (three and one half hours distant) was brought home for burial.  There was no congregation of the Lord’s church in the area, but after listening to Brother Vincent Mhango’s funeral message the local people expressed great interest in having a church in their area which professed what Brother Mhango had taught.  After further teaching the Phalonia church was established, to be followed in the meantime by three others.  A lovely harmony and cooperation exists among these four.  Brother Joshua Mhango often travels a long distance by lorry (a large, open truck used to transport people) to teach and encourage these brethren.   We are often made to marvel at the strength and fortitude of our faithful brethren here who labor under much difficulty.  

During the past two weeks Brethren Ron Slocum and  Danny Abercrombie have suffered from an unknown illness.   Brother Ron went to the emergency room at a local private hospital.  The problem was not found, but an interesting observation was the costs compared to an emergency room visit in America.  Emergency room expense was $12.50, lab costs were $4.81, and prescribed medicine was $0.62, a total of $17.93.   We now feel that the problem may have been from MSG in food at a Chinese restaurant. 

Our primary purpose, of course, is to teach the Master’s message.  Due to the vast drought throughout the southern regions of Malawi, however, we have seen the urgent need to provide and teach how to use irrigation equipment which has been supplied by our American brethren.  Three water-wells have been hand-dug.  Two have already been used in supplying water for new, surrounding gardens.  The third well is almost completed and the surrounding ground is even now being prepared for planting.  Two of these three wells are being equipped with hand-pumps.  An earlier existing well is being used to supply water for a most beautiful  garden at a brothers home, but most of the gardens are cooperative with many Christian families using the same well.   Due to customs delay in allowing us a license for our drilling-rig, we have been unable to drill on this trip and have been limited to hand-dug wells.  The irrigation work has progressed most favorably and more requests are being received for our presence and assistance.  

On Monday, if the Lord will, we are scheduled to begin a series of studies at the Tafika congregation located in a rural area about forty-five minutes northeast of Blantyre.  As is their custom, members from numerous surrounding congregations are expected to attend.  We plan two hour sessions morning, afternoon, and evening for three days and there will likely be private discussions at other times.   Periods for questions from the male brethren are often encouraged and this is usually  well received with much interest.  Following this series, another three day study is scheduled at Nachawale.  These names often have meanings.  Nachawale, for instance, means palm tree. 


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September 23, 2005

Brethren and Sisters,

Bro. Harry and I took Ron Slocum to the airport this morning and he left headed home. His input and knowledge of irrigation was greatly appreciated and helpful. It would have been good if a bore hole (drilled well) could have been installed while he was here. Nevertheless, we accomplished a lot with the hand dug wells during the 2 ½ weeks he was here.

The work is going well with great accomplishments in some areas. There has also been some set backs in regards to the drilling of bore holes with the portable well drilling rig. There has been a great deal of time spent by Mrs. Daphne Jere in trying to get a tag for the drilling rig. We are not able to pull it on the roads with out it. It looks like the paper work is about to be obtained from the local authority’s, at which point we will be able to purchase the tag. This has not slowed us up in putting in hand dug wells. There have been a lot of very good results seen in this area. We have now got three hand dug wells with plenty of water to irrigate with. We have plans to overseeing the installation of two more before leaving for US. There are some brethren who have gardens in areas that have plenty of water such as a creek or a river. There has been a lot of interest among the brethren and also all around the country. Many have heard of what we are doing and it has created a great deal of interest. The media has discussed the subject on the local TV stations. 

This coming week, starting on Monday, Bro. Harry is going to start a series of meetings at Tafika congregation. We plan on having three services each day, 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the evening and 2 hours at night. This will be the same for Tuesday and Wednesday. A total of 9, two hour services. We are going to install temporary 12-volt lighting which we brought from the good old US. Before, we were unable to hold night services because of the darkness and no lights. This will be a blessing and the brethren will enjoy it and have more opportunity to hear the truth taught. Bro. Harry will began with the creation in Genesis and continue up to the establishment of the church. We hope to have a large crowd and pray that much good can be accomplished. After this meeting, another is planed at the Mechese congregation beginning on Friday and run through Sunday. I don’t know how Bro. Harry holds out to talk this many hours. He seems to be tireless when it comes to doing the Lord’s work. I count it a privilege and honor to be here with him and learn along with others. Remember us in your prayers.


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Sept. 16, 2005

My dear friends in Christ, 

Departing from Atlanta and flying by way of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Johannesburg  (South Africa) we arrived on the third day here in Blantyre.   It is good to be back again with our beloved brethren in a land where material blessings and conveniences fall far short of that which we enjoy in America, but where  reception to conservative Bible teaching is most encouraging.

As we had anticipated, the weather is not quite as warm as it will likely be in two months when the rainy season is expected to begin.  The timing is ideal for it allows us to dig water wells when the water table is near its lowest, thus permitting better digging conditions and ability to reach a more desired depth.  Two wells are now producing water for irrigation of a garden which was at first being attended by forty-two families, members of the Lord’s church at Bereu.  With reduction of the water supply this garden is now attended by thirty-two families.  These wells are in need of being dug deeper.  With the portable gasoline pump purchased this day we intend tomorrow to provide for going deeper and securing a better supply of water.  The garden where these wells are located is a beautiful green while surrounded on every side by drab, dry unproductive and untilled land.  We were thrilled at first sight, having departed from Africa  four months ago and leaving with these brethren the materials to construct this garden. This endeavor has attracted the attention of governmental agriculture agents and a host of local observers.   

Another smaller but also beautiful garden using materials we have supplied for irrigation is being attended by Brother Bright Chitambi at his own property.  In that same village, where the village chief is a member of the Lord’s church and by God’s grace has provided a very large plot of land for our use, we are having dug another well.  Good progress is being made, but we intend to also use the gasoline powered pump to remove the fast flowing water supply, thus allowing digging for a greater depth.  After anticipated success here, the same village chief has promised another very large plot for construction of another garden.  

As one might have detected, these gardens are intended to be communal undertakings by members of the church and surrounding a common well as a water source.  Hopefully they will assist in eliminating the lack of food during times of drought.  They may even   provide some income for the brethren involved.  We await word of land provided by other village chiefs so that this project may be expanded.  It is understandable that we cannot provide wells for every family, but where individual brethren have a water source they may well use these supplies for their own irrigation.  

Being mechanically inclined and talented, both Danny and Ron have proved to be of immense value in promoting this project.  Their knowledge, insight, and commitment have been genuine blessings.  

As it has always been true among  God’s people (2 Kings 5:20-27, Acts 5:1-11),  there are those who turn aside to their own self-interest and bring shame upon the glorious cause of truth.  Such have been found in the past among the disciples here in Africa and it has been our purpose to inform the supporters of this work of the unpleasant as well as the favorable.  Early on this journey a thief was discovered among the brethren.  It became our sad duty to confront him face to face.  It became necessary after the second incident to take two other influential brethren with us to confront him the second time.  Time will determine further action.  We feel, however, that a favorable effect may result from what the brotherhood in general may have learned from this discipline.  

Our primary purpose and intent, of course, is the teaching of the Master’s message.  This is being aggressively pursued and many invitations are received asking for our presence at various congregations.  Due to Brother Ron’s short time with us before it becomes necessary for him to return to his job in America, our immediate thrust is the irrigation project.  Afterward we intend to devote more time to teaching both at congregations and at gatherings where numbers of brethren attend from various places for a series of detailed studies lasting up to four or five days.  

We acknowledge with sincere gratitude the generous financial contributions from such a large number of you brethren; contributions which make possible our journeys and the success of these missions.  We request your prayers as well that we may have wisdom in administering your funds and in making the proper decisions.  The Lord’s ever presence and your valued fellowship are greatly appreciated. 


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Blantyre, Malawi

April 28, 2005


In an earlier report we mentioned  theft  of my briefcase from the Land Rover and that the Lord wonderfully blessed us in providing retrieval of the really important papers.  A few days later the Toyota Land Rover was put in the shop for repairs and we borrowed a pick-up to continue in distributing irrigation supplies.   While we were in a restaurant the spare tire was stolen from the truck.  Upon reporting the incident to the owner we were told that this  was the second time in two weeks the tire had been stolen.  Crime appears to continue to  increase here and we must constantly be on the alert.  This trend  toward corruption, however, seems to be a growing world-wide  problem.   Our  brethren  in  the Philippines have repeatedly  advised us due to terrorism  not to come there at the present time.


Perhaps there might be interest in knowing something of the contrast between conditions here in Malawi and there in America.  Upon speaking  with a  lieutenant  who has served in the Malawi police force for twenty-one years, Brother Wayne discovered his salary to be the equivalent of $100.00 per month.   Very large and delicious grapes (no doubt imported from South Africa) are $3.03 per pound.  Chocolate éclairs are $1.00, doughnuts with icing  65 cents,  and a  2 kg  (4 pound) box of detergent $7.50.   A dozen eggs is $1.20.  Diesel is $3.61 per gallon,  while gasoline is $3.83.   We drove 394 miles today on the tarmat (blacktop) and averaged 17.2 miles (not kilometers) per gallon.  This mileage would have been reduced, of course, had we been on the customary dirt roads.


Yesterday’s gathering at the Linjilili congregation (some twenty-six miles off the tarmat and a driving time of two hours) was most encouraging. There were perhaps two hundred fifty present representing several congregations and expressing much interest in the irrigation program.


We went to Linjilili expecting to find a sister in need of a wheelchair and intending to assist her in being fitted for one to be made to suit her needs.  We did not know of a brother there who was in much worse condition and who was finding it necessary to crawl on his hands and knees.  His situation was most touching.  We left fund for the transport of these two to the proper  facility to  be fitted.  Cost of the last wheelchair purchased was about $120.00, but  we expect these to be a bit more due to increase of almost everything here.


In addition to teaching at the assemblies, we are continually  discussing the Lord’s word and work with His people here.  Brother Wayne has expressed the thought that in many ways they respond as children and repetition is often required in explaining matters.  Although we encourage them to settle their own problems among themselves, we are often drawn into the difficulties, especially  at certain areas.   We were involved just last Monday in what appeared to be a clash among three brethren for dominance.


There was need yesterday for us to discuss with the father, a most intelligent son who appears to have an emotional problem.  Hopefully our advice was Biblical and correct and the son will recover.  It would surely be well if our American brethren would remember  this young brother , Victor Kulinga, and his family in your petitions to the heavenly Father. 


If the Lord will,  our intent is to go tomorrow  again to the Shire Valley  in Chickwawa, deliver additional irrigation supplies, and discuss with brethren there future work in the Lord’s vineyard.  The delivery tomorrow should total enough irrigation supplies for about twelve hundred gardens.  The following two days should find us far to the north in Mangochi.




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Blantyre, Malawa

22 April, 2005 


Our journey from Atlanta to Africa was safe and uneventful, but as always most tiring due to flying on the narrow-seated  Airbus for some eighteen hours.  We spent the night at Johannesburg and then proceeded two hours by air to  Blantyre  the next morning.   Our health is well and we continue very active every day.  


Several have expressed interest in the customs clearing problem encountered in shipping the irrigation supplies and water-well drilling machine.  With the  Lord's ever-presence among His people and the assistance of friends here in Malawi, the container and its contents were received well.  The unexpected cost was minimal and we were delayed for about three weeks.


In addition to the customary Bible teaching among the brethren, distribution of Bibles, clothing, shoes, and eyeglasses, and assisting in settling problems which arise all along, one of our primary objects on this journey is to distribute irrigation materials and teach the  brethren how to properly use  them.   We were very well pleased at Chickwawa where two wells were in the process of being dug and a large, ideal parcel of land had been allocated for our first cooperative garden.  Some forty brethren and what we would term the county agent met there on Tuesday morning to participate in this project.  On Wednesday  we drove for! about thirteen hours to introduce the irrigation program to a remote area and delivered supplies for their use.  One brother in that area had previously been using a water-can for irrigating a small but beautiful garden.  Demonstration gatherings are scheduled at various locations both this and  next week and we are most pleased with the promising prospect. 


Malawi, as many nations throughout the world, has experienced a marked decline in peace and tranquility in recent years.  Those who have recently traveled here with me (Brother Danny Abercrombie and my present companion, Brother Wayne Moore) readily testify to this through their own observation and experience.  We are constantly warned to be alert and to avoid certain areas and situations.  You may recall that during our  journey in January-February, Brother Abercrombie and I were attacked one night when we stopped momentarily along a dark, lonely highway.  On last Tuesday morning  Brother Moore and I stopped at a hardware store, made a purchase, and returned to the Land Rover.  The doors had been locked.   We unlocked them and went to the rear tail-door to look for an object. During that split-moment and absolutely undetected by us, a thief reached in, took my case from off the seat, and disappeared.   Upon returning to the front of the Land Rover we discovered the missing case.  There was no question but that the on-lookers saw the theft, but of course no one admitted it.  I returned to the store and informed the owner and he expressed his genuine concern. Several hours later the owner called by cell-phone and informed me that the case, less the cash which had been inside, had been located.  As it was late in the day, we went by the hardware store the next day and retrieved much of the contents.  It was then we learned that the store owner had sent his employees to locate the thief, tell him to keep the money, and give him additional funds to return the papers inside.  The store owner was most cooperative and would not even allow us to repay his expenses.  All the important papers (passport, airline tickets, and  papers related to our mission here in Malawi) were thankfully recovered.  Indeed, the Lord blessed us as He has times innumerable.  We learned a valuable lesson, but in such environment as this there may well be many more to also learn.


Considering the growing lack of spiritual interest in the materialistic world which surrounds us in America, it is most impressive to witness here in a land of poverty the number of responses to the gospel message.  This is a list of some recent baptisms at various congregations:


Bereu 11
Kapidigula 3
Kandiere 21
Misili  65
Nazolo  23


Brother George Makuse of the  Chigumukire congregations reports that he recently baptized eighteen people including four Moslems.  When Brother Moore preached at Nachawale last Sunday five persons came forward requesting prayer. 


What a grand source of encouragement and support are those such as Brother Wayne Moore who has taken time from his family and business to be a treasured part of this good work.  How blessed we are, too, to have the interest and splendid cooperation of each of you and the various congregations who so diligently work and pray with us in these missions efforts to take the gospel to those who will listen.  Thanks also to you, Brother Dana, for your cooperation in forwarding these reports.




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  March 14, 2005

Bright Chitambi is diligently working on preparing things for their next trip to Africa on April 14. He notes that they have a man contracted to drill the first well at Nachiwale (Palm Tree) in Malawi. The congregation there consists of about 150 members. The well will be for the use of the whole community. The property for the well was graciously donated by the village chief who is a member of the congregation.

Concerning the work in the Philippines, the US government and our brethren there have advised us to not return due to terrorist activities. Recent funds, totalling $500.00 were sent to help feed brethren on the island of Mindora. Please pray for them.

The plane tickets for Harry and Wayne have worked out acceptably and they will plan to stay for 2 1/2 weeks, returning about the 6th of May.

In Zambia Africa (just West of Malawi) that the "aids" epidemic has multiplied deaths substantially in the last year, killing more in that country than the total that died in the recent Tsunami. We are attempting to start a congregation in that country.


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February 27, 2005

Just a brief note to let you all know that the drill rig and all of the other stuff has been released from customs and is at Daphne's place of work.  Harry says that the storage area is very secure and he feels like everything will be okay until he returns sometime in April.


Harry Cobb is doing better.  He went to the doctor and got all medicated up and looked much better today.


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February 21, 2005

Harry and Wayne have returned.  Wayne's brother passed away on February 16 of a massive heart attack.  Please play for Wayne and his family.  Harry was a bit under the weather but is feeling somewhat better today.


The container with the drill rig has arrived in Malawi, but has not cleared through customs.  Daphne,  our wonderful friend and helper there, will try to secure its release.

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FEBRUARY 17, 2005  

Prayer was that you would return safely, Danny, and Brother Wayne confirmed our hope.  Wayne arrived properly, having spent the night at Johannesburg as scheduled.  Thanks be to our Lord.

The container arrived after considerable problems.  Some five weeks have been required in completing paperwork, paying fees, arranging additional shipping, and such matters - and we have yet to receive complete clearance.  Clement (Daphne's Husband) personally spent about eight days in Biera, port of Mozambique, arranging the details and paying necessary fees.  He and Daphne have worked tirelessly with us in having the container brought to Blantyre.

The lady official at the border finally arranged to release the container there for a fee of K60,000, approx. $60.00 .  The truck broke-down several times on the way to Blantyre, consuming another day.  The week-end interrupted our receiving the container, but on last Monday it was available for us to open and examine, unload on the premises for customs inspection and decision.  It remains there at the present time while we await their decision as to custom fees.

Interesting, and with much thanksgiving, the container had not been entered. The seal was yet unbroken.  Upon unloading and examining, we found not a single item missing.  The only damage was  to the metal cabinet which, likely through vibration, had lost a number of its screws holding it together.  Should be simple to repair.   The well-drilling machine came through extremely well except while being unloaded by about six or seven men the tail-light lens was broken.  No serious problem.

Today is the fourth day of waiting, but we continue to await word from customs that we may remove the items to Daphne's shop.   In the meantime we continue to attend to other necessary appointments, needs, teachings, and encouragement.



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FEBRUARY 1, 2005  

We have recently heard of the ice storm which blanketed our beloved Southeast  there in the United States .  It is the other extreme here on the other side of the world and below the Equator.  It is the rain season and relief comes from the heat when there is a cloud cover. The rain has been a real blessing, for the maize crop in most places appears to be very favorable.  We have, in fact, already twice eaten fresh, boiled maize (corn ).  The maize is much more tough than our Silver Queen, but it is good and is to these people the major food product.  

As described in an earlier report, crime here in Malawi is a major problem and appears to  have increased considerably during the years I have been coming to this area.  The house in which we are presently lodging has been robbed twice, another which we have looked into renting has been robbed three times, and the former home of an American  missionary was robbed week before last.  At midnight a few  nights ago we received an urgent cell-phone call requesting that we immediately come to a rural hospital (having very minimal facilities) and transport one of our brethren to a larger, better equipped hospital.  The brother’s home had been broken into by force and he had been robbed and severely injured.  One wound in his back was perhaps three inches deep and we later discovered that it required three layers of stitches and a total of two hours of work by the doctor.   The  second hospital could not cope with his situation which required ex-ray, so we then brought him to Blantyre to the largest national (and non-cost) hospital in the district.  He remained over-night and we took him home the next day.  The following day we took him some powerful pain medicine which we had purposely brought from America.  It and mainly the good Lord relieved his pain and he is  recovering well.  We again took him to the hospital yesterday to have the stitches removed.    The ironic  twist in this matter is that there is serious implication that police supposedly guarding another brother may have been involved; and we understand it is not at all unusual to suspect police involvement.  

Unless one travels in lands such as Malawi and Nigeria , it is difficult for us in America to  appreciate our freedoms and conveniences.  The electricity here is subject to turning-off often during heavy use times and not returning until hours later.  Litter is an eye-sore in the cities and there is little order in arrangement of houses and roads (or paths) leading to them.   Almost all roads are in bad repair.  One must secure his belongings, while most houses and almost all businesses of any note must hire guards for protection.  

But on the other side of the question, the common people here, especially in the rural areas, are humble and very friendly and are encouragingly responsive to the gospel message.   The congregations are generally growing both in size locally and in number throughout the various districts.  We need to be aware and most thankful, too, that our English language is the most prominent in the entire world.  In many nations English is the second language and we can almost anywhere find someone who can interpret for us.

Several problems exist among brethren in a few places and we are, with sincere requests for guidance from Above, attempting to reach satisfactory settlements.  Week before last, we understand, twelve were baptized at Nachiwale.  Nachiwale in Chichewa means palm tree, so in effect it is somewhat as if we would call a place Oak Grove.   Brother Danny and I assembled last Sunday with these brethren.  There were two hundred fifty-two present, eight requests for prayer, and three baptisms.  Just yesterday we passed-by and saw brethren clearing the site for construction of a prayer-house for the  newly formed congregation at Mtendere  (meaning freedom).  Three brethren have just returned from a long journey into Zambia where it is hoped a new congregation may be established.  Brother Bright Chitamby awaits convenient opportunity to return to some promising prospects in South Africa .

 Brother Danny makes a good and tireless driver, which allows me to occasionally snooze. We are safe, well blessed with provisions, and thankfully loosing a little  weigh.    May God’s blessings be with you all.                                  


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Malawi Update January 30, 2005

Hello to each and everyone,

    I truly hope that everyone is doing well there in the US. I understand that it has been cold in some parts and has been well below freezing. You certainly do not have to worry about freezing here. Bro. Harry and myself both had our bald heads burnt from sitting out in the sun during a meeting under the trees. Needless to say we didn't sit under the trees but out in the open. You never get too old to learn I guess! It is very, very HOT here in Malawi as this is the middle of summer. It has been raining here most every day in the evening. The maze seems to be doing great at present and it looks like there will be plenty to eat this year. When it rains, the ground soaks it up quick. They tell us that the crops need rain about every three days. Hopefully the rains will continue a little longer.


        The container is sitting in Mozambique and we are having a hard time getting it released and brought to Malawi. The lady, Daphne, who's home we are staying, has been a great help. She is getting her husband to go over to Mozambique to get it released and brought here. We have spent a great deal of our time with several of the leaders discussing various matters pertaining to the church. The congregation in which Bro. Harry and I met with the first Lord's Day we were here, about 35 miles north of Blantyre, developed a serious problem. One of the main leaders of that congregation was robbed and cut up very bad. His name is Bro. Danger. His son called us around mid-night on the 22nd. of January which was a Saturday night Sunday morning. He told us that his dad had been robbed and was in serious condition. He need us to come as quick as possible to carry him to the hospital. When we got to the clinic where he had made it to, we found that he was indeed in very serious condition. They could do little more than sew him up. We took him with several friends and family members to another hospital where we were told that a doctor would not be there for another day. We left there and headed to the hospital in Blantyre. There they were able to give him help and now he is now doing a lot better. Bro. Harry gave him some pain pills which he need badly. About all you get here for pain is aspirin. Danger is everywhere you look here in Malawi and you have to be on your guard everywhere you go for there are those who will do you harm if you give them the chance.


Thursday, Jan. 27th, Bro. Harry and myself drove up to the Kachere church building for a meeting with various Brothers.   When we arrived there at 9:30am., we found only one Brother and he did not know anything about the meeting. At this time we headed to one of the leaders home to find out what had happened. Later we learned that the meeting had been called off. The were unable to get in touch to let us know. Anyway, as we were leaving the Kachere church building, we came across a a girl laying on the side of the road with a man and women. She was laying in the mud. We stopped to offer help and found out that she was trying to get to the hospital. We put her in the car and headed to the hospital a few miles away.  A little way down the road, we came across a brother who was heading to Kachere church building and he didn't know the meeting had been called off. We picked him up and he was a welcome sight for he could translate with the woman and girl we were taking to the hospital. When we got to there, they kept her for treatment. She was very sick with collier. While we were there at this hospital, which had very little means of treating anyone, two women there needed to be taken to another hospital several miles away. One of them had a baby which was dead at birth and she was having serious problems that they could not take care of. She had been waiting there for 2 days since she gave birth. She was not able to stand up or speak. She was in very serious condition.  The other women was not quite as sick. We took both women which were sick and a vehicle load of family members to the other hospital some 10 miles away.  There is no ambulance to call if you have no money and if you do have money, you still may not get one. It is a very bad situation if you get sick or injured here. We all should be very thankful for everything we have in the wonderful country in which we live.  The Lord has blessed us beyond imagination. Please keep us in your prayers.
May the Lord bless you all.
Yours in Christ

Danny Abercrombie


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JANUARY 20, 2005  

Most of you who will be receiving these notes are aware that Brother Danny Abercrombie and I are presently in Africa , having departed the evening of January 9 from Atlanta .  Our intent for the present work, if the Lord will, is to cover a period of two months, with Brother Wayne Moore flying over to join me shortly after Brother Abercrombie returns to America on February 11.

During the past week we have been arranging for facilities to receive the container shipped by sea and which has already docked at Beira in Mozambique . The container is filled with 10,000 pounds of supplies and tools for use in well-drilling and irrigation, as well as clothing and goods to be distributed among the brethren. 

Much interest and many favorable comments have been expressed.  Blessed with the Lord’s presence, we anticipate success in helping these brethren eliminate much of their hunger problem by providing means for producing food in ways previously unknown or unavailable to them.   

While waiting for the container we have been active in visiting among brethren at various places.  Although they are aware of the need to settle their own problems and not wait for our return, some difficult situations fail to reach satisfactory conclusions before we come and become involved.  Although supposedly settled, one problem at Namwiri has persisted for several years.  A certain leader has been accused of improper relations with women other than his wife and although denied, it has become so evident that no doubt remains.  I have personally confronted this brother on three occasions.  Attempts of the brethren to meet and confer with him have been rejected.  We understand he tells them the prayer-house is his and if they are not satisfied to simply leave and go elsewhere.  He is technically correct in that the property was inherited from his father.  The local head-man (village chief) and Traditional  Authority (superior over several village chiefs) recognize his claim but have granted us permission to remove the metal roofing and related trusses, items financed by us and which may be reasonably removed.  The Traditional Authority has also been most helpful in seeking suitable property upon which we may erect a new meeting-house.  She has arranged for us to purchase for $280.00 an ideally situated site along paved highway M-1, the major highway in Malawi .  We could not have desired a more ideal location. Brother Danny and I assembled last Sunday with seventy-three who had withdrawn from the brother and the few remaining with him.   Fourteen congregations in the area continue to work together in harmony.

Another congregation in another district has a potentially similar problem and we are seeking to settle it.  Such ownership and control is a problem inherited from the past and one which we continue to correct.  The Traditional Authority in yet another district has called attention to the need for property to be held in the name of the church rather than that of an individual and he is presently working with the local brethren to assure this.  We are encouraging all congregations to make certain their property is properly owned and we intend to restrict support should any not favorably respond.  We have for years condemned the desire of some to control and dominate as Diotrephes (3 John  9-10) and feel this action will further strengthen our teaching in regard to following the Bible pattern.


The support of an American brother last May made available to an invalid sister a tricycle wheel-chair.  Due to some misunderstanding as to the place and time of delivery, the wheel-chair was not received until we investigated, located the chair at the work-shop, and on Tuesday took the wheel-chair to her.  As one might imagine, she was most pleased and very thankful.

Through the years we have witnessed Malawi , formerly a peaceable and relatively safe nation, become more and more corrupt.  Thievery, murder, auto high-jacking, break-ins, corruption among those in authority, and police check-points have increased alarmingly.  In the past we have had items both attempted and actually stolen and an attempt at stealing our pick-up.  Several brethren have been robbed, some mugged, and one has had his house and family robbed at gun-point.  A number of bicycles have been stolen.

We were warned about theft at the Nairobi airport and upon arrival in Malawi again warned to be careful and alert.  Most appropriate warnings, to be sure.  We attempt to avoid driving at night, but sometimes our schedule does not conform with our intent.  Last Sunday evening we were returning from taking a brother home in a rural area a few kilometers north of Blantyre .  We eventually reached the tarmat (pavement) and turned toward Blantyre .  After a short distance we noticed the rear door was not completely closed.  It was “pitch dark” with visibility extremely limited, but at a wide place where a small road joined the tarmat we thought it safe to pull aside and close the door securely.  There was absolutely no one in sight.  I opened my door, stepped to the side and closed the rear door, and re-entered my door to be seated.  Remembering that the head-lights needed checking, I immediately re-opened my door and stepped outside.  At that very moment a dark hulk opened the rear door and lunged inside.  Before he could make his move to attack us, Brother Danny began to yell at him from the front seat.  Apparently realizing he was between Danny on the inside and me on the outside, the man quickly bounded out the door.   Where he went and whether he had others with him we do not know.  Bother Danny yelled for me to get in the Land Rover, I quickly did, and we sped away.  We do not know if this was an attempted robbery or car-jacking; but we are very confident and most thankful that the Lord was surely with us.  As you might suspect, we are careful to be sure that our doors are locked, careful as to where we pull-off, and careful about driving at night. Considering the cost of fuel when we departed from Atlanta , be assured that even with recently elevated prices we in America are well blessed.  Here the price of diesel is $3.38 per gallon.  Brother Danny is doing almost all the driving; a tiring task when one considers the bad roads, the reckless drivers, and frequent checks by the police. Having been a partner with us on three trips to Malawi , Brother Danny has been a genuine blessing. Brother Dana Chandler is kindly forwarding these notes to those of you for whom we have E-mail addresses.  As we do not have the E-mail address of all who might be interested in these reports, we would appreciate your forwarding them on to those whom you feel might wish to receive them.  Many thanks and may God’s blessings continue with you.  


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Scenes from Malawi

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Harry with two translators outside of Chitipa, Malawi

May 2006

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Brick pews in Mozambique . They sat on these for several hours
May 2006


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Church Building in Mozambique

May 2006

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Danny, Harry & Gabe

May 2006

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Church Building Mpingwe Mozambique

April 2006

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Harry and Bright in Mozambique

April 2006

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Gathered for meeting in Mozambique

April 2006

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Harry and others with well drilling equipment: April 2006

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Danny and others with well drilling equipment: April 2006

Inside Tornado Damaged Building

April 2006

Outside Tornado Damaged Building: April 2006


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Malawi Sawmill


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Tafika prayer-house.  Do you think the roof would leak?

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Brother Harry teaching at Kotamu meeting, sitting  after eight hours of teaching

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Only a few of many at the meeting

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A few of the bikes at the Kotamu meeting

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Few of brethren at Kotamu and building behind

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Kotamu building packed, with three or four times as  many outside; 682 in attendance

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Women cooking for 682 present at meeting

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Clay pots

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Brethren gathered at Phalonia Church

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Baptism near Phalonia Church

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Joshua baptizing girl with women in attendance

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Spears belonging to Bro. Diamond Komwa. These belonged to his people from way back. Don’t know how old. Very, Very old!

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Bro. Komwa's spears

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Bro. Harry after a long day as we journey to the house

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Bro. Harry discussing going deeper with one of the wells at Chickwawa

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Bicycle given to Bro. Stefano who is a teacher in the church

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Ron standing in front of a Boabab tree.

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Brothers Harry Cobb and Ron Slocum evaluate the garden for placement of drip system

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The drip system in use.  Note how the ground is wet by water from the small pipes.

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Brother Harry preaching to a congregation using an interpreter.  This increases the time of preaching by over double.

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Bro. Danger's Wounds

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Tending Wounds


George Mkuse and His Family

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