In September 2017 the Orbus Mission Secondary School was registered and commenced with a single Form 1 class of students. In October 2021 we celebrate the first cohort of students to go through the school and graduate from secondary school. We praise God for this milestone and pray for His rich blessing on these students as they embark on their post-schooling lives.
Photo above: Some of the secondary school students before preparing to sit their final exams.
Please pray for the Orbus community and Malawi in general at this time. The government of Malawi this past week closed all schools as a part of its response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. While many countries have welfare systems to assist the needy, and world-class health care systems for identifying and treating cases of this fast-spreading coronavirus, under-developed countries such as Malawi do not. Please pray for mercy and protection for all.
"Malawi has a population of around 18 million, with only 25 ICU beds and an already stretched health system. The close living conditions, cramped transportation and underlying heath conditions mean that the virus could be catastrophic." Open Arms Malawi
With the swift spread of this virus around the world and the disruption it is causing to billions of lives, the trail of destruction and the widespread fear and panic accompanying this, it is even more evident than usual that this is a fallen world. Sin has infected our world and caused much chaos and ultimately death for all. That is why "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
God expects you to respond to His free gift of eternal life with Him:
Jesus sacrificed His life. If you repent and receive Jesus as Saviour, King and Lord of your life, God has accepted this sacrifice as payment in full for all the wrong things you have done in your lifetime. You are then made right with God and can look forward to eternal life, true life, at the end of this fallen, sin-infected life.
There simply is nothing more important for anyone than a right relationship with God. To find out more about how you can have this relationship click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:1-3, 10)
Orbus Ministries Australia Inc. will continue to support the Orbus school during this closure period with its usual monthly teachers and staff wages contribution. Additional specified support can also be directed to the school and community in Malawi through Orbus Ministries Australia Inc. Another organization in Malawi worthy of your support is Open Arms Malawi, who care for orphaned and vulnerable babies and infants. You can give directly here.
by Craig Manners
27th March 2020
As the whole world grapples with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc through country after country, decimating economies, stock markets, currencies, livelihoods, hopes and dreams, people are left wondering what they will have left. As people watch helplessly as the things most cherished in this life are taken away there is but one true Hope remaining.
Starting in China in January 2020 at a time of record global economic growth and record stock markets, suddenly everything has been completely upended. Stock markets are down over 30%, whole countries are in lock down, airplanes around the globe are grounded, borders closed, cities eerily empty, businesses ruined, jobless queues growing.
The frightening thing is that with all our technological prowess, all our self-congratulatory back slapping and attempts to convince ourselves of our secular autonomous superiority and independence from God, we find that the cupboards are really quite empty and we are like dependent children. No one saw this coming!
It has brought home the reality of death! It can come out of nowhere and suddenly. It eventually comes for every single one of us. While we scramble for a cure for COVID-19 maybe we should look into the cure for death.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24).
We all get excited when mankind discovers a cure for an illness or disease, such as polio or smallpox. It makes the news headlines and investors scramble to get on board. Not everyone gets sick from all the diseases medicines are sought for. But eventually every single person on the planet will face a major health crisis called "death". It is inevitable.
What if there were a cure for death! Something that could move us from earthly life to true eternal Life. Something which could defeat earthly death. Something, or someone who could save us from death and give us life forever!
This would be nothing less than a cure for death. Could such a thing be possible? The Bible talks much about such a cure. Millions of people, over thousands of years have searched for this cure and discovered it in the pages of this Bible. Such a thing is surely worth searching for, so let's have a brief look. After all, what have we got to lose right! Except death itself of course.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-- that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Christians know that there is no hope for men, women or children other than in, and through faith in, Jesus Christ. There is no true comfort available in times of loneliness, distress and despair other than that found in Jesus Christ.
There is nothing else which can fill the void, the empty hole in our soul, apart from Jesus Christ. Nothing which can calm the restlessness and give us true rest other than Jesus Christ. In the face of our inevitable death there is nothing that can help us except Jesus Christ. He simply is all there is for mankind. There is nothing else out there.
There is only one name given to man for salvation: Jesus Christ. Salvation and eternal life with God can be found in no one else, “for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8).
“But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10).
As Charles Spurgeon, 19th century preacher in England once said, specifically referring to orphaned children, but which is equally aimed at each one of us as we are all fatherless until we are reconciled to God the Father, it is “better (to) have God and no other friend than all the patrons on the earth and no God”.
Jesus Christ has defeated death (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). If you have put your trust in Him then He has defeated death for you. Your new life even starts in this earthly life. Your whole perspective will be made new. Heaven will become the higher focus rather than this fallen world which is passing away. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Of Himself Jesus says: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26). Of His people Jesus said: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” (John 10:28).
Just think about that! In Him (alone) we have the cure for death. We can be made truly alive, and gain eternal life in His presence. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
When someone receives eternal life, only available through faith in Christ, death has no more power; it has lost its sting. (Hosea13:14). When earthly death comes, the Christian is simply translated from one kingdom to another. Death cannot hold us. Death cannot overcome the eternal life Jesus has given to us.
This would seem to be an instant change too. No long sleep or intermediate state. Immediate life in heaven with God for all eternity (Luke 23:42-43). It will, according to the Bible also involve our own bodies. "Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Phil. 3:21)
So, who is this gift of eternal life for? And how do we get it? It is for everyone who calls on (believes; trusts; recognizes as Lord of their life) Jesus Christ.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13). This “calling upon Jesus” can happen at any time, even in the final seconds of a person’s life. But don’t leave it until then: please “seek Him while you still can.”
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14).
There is real power in preaching God’s Word, God’s message of salvation through faith in Jesus.
In putting your trust in Jesus you have nothing of value to lose and EVERYTHING of true value to gain.
All your riches. All your poverty. All your possessions. All your lack of possessions. Your reputation, your earthly desires, plans, hopes, your influence, your lack of influence, your good deeds, your contacts, your status, or lack of status, your friends, or your lack of friends, your family or lack of family, your pride, your selfishness, your worries about tomorrow, about how to feed your children, about how to provide for your family, your worry about your unbelieving family or friends, your loneliness... all of it… it all disappears at that very moment of earthly death. They amount to nothing on that day.
While you can’t take anything with you when you leave this life, if you do have Jesus Christ as your Saviour, Lord and King you will suddenly have more than you can even imagine and for all eternity.
When all this is recognized, one understands there is a great urgency to tell those we love about this “cure for death,” because the pain is almost unbearable for those loved ones left behind when those we love die. But if our loved ones know Jesus, we are comforted even in this, some of the worst of human suffering.
There is a great urgency for every human being to know Jesus. Nobody knows when that moment of death will come.
Now, what must we do to gain this eternal life, this "cure" for death? Thankfully nothing.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he Saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
God has done it all for you, you just need to thank Him and accept the free gift.
If you put your trust in Jesus, then His sinless life and payment on the cross for your sins are credited to your account – which gives you a perfect record before God.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Who would you rather trust, God or man? “Anyone who trusts in Him (Jesus) will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11).
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
There simply is nothing more important for any human being than a right relationship with God.
If you are His, Jesus sacrificed His life for YOU. God has accepted this sacrifice as payment in full for all the wrong things you have done in your lifetime.
If you have already put your trust in Christ Jesus and received eternal life, praise God.
If you have not already asked Jesus to save you, to be your Saviour, Lord and King then let me urge you to act today with some urgency. Just call out to Him. Ask Him. Pray something like: "Jesus, I confess I am a broken sinner who deserves to die. Please forgive me, change me, SAVE me. I ask this in your name."
Receive Jesus and He will give you eternal life, and His Holy Spirit to comfort you throughout this life, and Jesus Himself will never leave you, never forsake you, never cease to love you and bless you. Will YOU accept Jesus as Lord of your life and receive eternal life?
To find out more about how you can have this relationship read What is Christianity all about? Or email us at email@example.com
Source: Cure for Death by Craig Manners
Orbus have had the privilege of building small houses for child-headed and grandmother (Gogo) headed orphan families in different parts of greater Blantyre, Malawi. For approx. A$3,500 Orbus can arrange to build a reasonable quality 2 room mud brick house with tin roof. If you are interested in facilitating such a project please feel free to donate and email us to get things moving.
Drawing by Caleb Manners 2017
Would you consider funding a well/pump for fresh water in an area with no, or inadequate, access to fresh, clean water? Orbus Australia has had the privilege of completing wells/pumps around Ngumbe, Malawi. One of the most practical ways of helping a needy village/area is to dig a simple well and put in a pump. There are plenty of areas around the Orbus Centre in need of fresh water. Funds (tax-deductible for Australian donors) aimed particularly at this area can be donated and an email sent to us to stipulate this specific area for the funds to be directed toward.
Drawing by Josh Manners 2011
2019 has been a difficult year for Orbus in several ways, mostly teething related difficulties with the Orbus Mission Secondary School, so what a joy it is to share some news with you this Christmas season. I received a heartening email from Rev. Lyton Kilowe, who reports that on the 24th November 2019 twenty people, including some of the Orbus students, were baptized at the Orbus CCAP Prayer House. May you rejoice this Christmas season knowing that the Christ in Christmas, our Redeemer, lives and reigns now and forever.
“In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” Psalm 33:21
Above: Twenty people including Orbus students were baptized at the Orbus CCAP Prayer House on 24th November 2019.
God is at work: After an inspection by three government inspectors on the 20th September, the CCAP Orbus Mission Secondary School was given official approval to start. With this go ahead the first Form 1 class began on the 25th of September 2017.
To view a selection of photos of the first week of school please Click Here.
CCAP Orbus Mission Secondary School - Opening Ceremony
11th September 2017
An opening ceremony was held on 11th September 2017 to give thanks to God, to celebrate the completion of the first secondary school building (completed on time in 3 months and 13 days and on budget - things only God can do under such circumstances) and to mark the beginning of the CCAP Orbus Mission Secondary School at Ngumbe, Malawi.
Please click HERE to view photos of the opening ceremony.
He Lowers to Raise
"Thy LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up" (1 Samuel 2:7).
All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him; let me equally see His hand if I am made poor, and let me as heartily praise Him. When we go down in the world, it is of the LORD, and so we may take it patiently: when we rise in the world, it is of the LORD, and we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the LORD hath done it, and it is well.
It seems that Jehovah's way is to lower those whom He means to raise and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the bringing low, I may well rejoice, because I see in it the preface to the lifting up. The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted in glory. That impoverishment which will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.
O LORD, Thou has taken me down of late and made me feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray Thee make it a profitable one to me. Oh, that Thou wouldst thus fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for Christ's sake! Amen.
Universities from Malawi and South Africa choose to donate gifts to ORBUS orphans and vulnerable children
22nd July 2017:
Orbus was chosen out of all the orphanages and orphan care centres in Blantyre to be the recipient of a loving and generous gesture by a large number of universities today.
University of Malawi Staff Sports Association (Umssa) today held it's annual Inter-Varsity Games at the College of Medicine in Blantyre where members of staff from the University of Malawi, the College of Medicine, Chancellor College, Kamuzu College of Nursing, The Polytechnic, Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and University of Limpopo (South Africa), who drove up to Blantyre yesterday, pitted their sports skills against each other. Malawian company Old Mutual, who are the official sponsors of the games, also participated in the games. Some of the games played included football (soccer, not the real game), volleyball, netball, pool, darts, chess and track and field.
They took a break during the proceedings to focus on some less fortunate members of their community and at 2.20 pm this afternoon, a bus full of media and representatives of Old Mutual, Umssa, Luanar and University of Limpopo arrived to much excitement at Orbus to donate lots of gifts including clothing, soaps, school resources and a cash donation, to the Orbus orphans and vulnerable children. Having brought much cheer these very generous visitors then departed to continue to the finals part of their games day. The excited and grateful children were very patient and well behaved as the goods were then distributed in a professional and orderly manner by the Orbus headteacher and teachers over the following two hours.
The visitors shared how they had conducted their research and decided to choose Orbus out of others they had visited because they noticed that we had been doing what we do completely under the radar, with no publicity sought or received. We thank God for this blessing which fell upon our children as if from heaven this afternoon.
Photos of the event are online at the July Photo Journal.
The Daily Times, Malawi. 20th July 2017
By Sharon Jumbe
"University of Malawi Staff Sports Association (Umssa) will hold its annual inter-varsity games at College of Medicine in Blantyre on Saturday, thanks to Old Mutual’s support.
Umssa Public Relations Officer, Martin Matululu, said the games will pool members of staff from College of Medicine, Chancellor College, Kamuzu College of Nursing, The Polytechnic, Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and University of Limpopo (South Africa).
“Old Mutual, who are the official sponsors of the games, will also participate in the games. Games to be played on the day are football, volleyball, netball, pool, darts, chess and track and field,” he said.
“Before the finals on Saturday, representatives of Old Mutual, Umssa and University of Limpopo will go to Orbus Care Centre in Ngumbe, Blantyre to donate to orphans and vulnerable children. We are appealing to well-wishers to join us in this good cause,” he said.
Matululu said Umssa’s objectives were to promote sports, healthy lifestyles and culture.
“In addition, the games are aimed at fostering existing friendly relations among members at all levels. Umssa is cognisant that such relationships, created through participation in sports, have significant potential of building bridges among these universities in other academic and research endeavours,” he said.
Meanwhile, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Managing Director, Tawona Biza, yesterday in Blantyre confirmed that the company was the official sponsor of the games.
Umssa President, Bernard Thole, said that the sponsorship would go a long way in making the games a success. Thole and Biza spoke during a press briefing.
10 Years of Orbus:
ONLY GOD COULD DO THIS! PRAISE HIM AND GIVE HIM ALL THE GLORY.
(What men could only mess up God just does and it becomes so very obvious that He is sovereign, He deserves all the glory and praise. He is God!)
By Craig Manners
20th July 2017
We recently had a memorable dinner with the Very Rev. Prof. Silas Ncozana, past Principal of the Zomba Theological College, past General Secretary of the CCAP Blantyre Synod, and active participant in past Malawian political history, at his home in Blantyre, and were richly blessed by a brief but fascinating discussion on Malawi’s history. It reminded me of the importance of history, that it is not only helpful to know the history of things but it is most often fascinating, especially to see how God brings things about.
So, I thought I might risk boring some of you with a reasonably brief history of Orbus, something which is in order as we mark 10 years since the founding of Orbus.
How did Orbus come about? It started with reading God’s word the Bible and coming to the realization that God has a deep love and concern for the fatherless, the weak, the poor, those in need and without help, and that His people should share this same deep love and compassion and respond accordingly. And that if this is the case, He will make things happen to bring about such things.
In the early 2000’s at South Yarra Presbyterian Church we had a family from Malawi. I had never even heard of Malawi until I had met this family. We got to know the Mbawa family over the following years. They told us about the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on Malawi and how there were hundreds of thousands of orphaned children. It is no easy thing to hear of this sort of tragedy and to sit back and do nothing. The question of “What to do?” exercised our minds and many of our friends from then on?
The Mbawas with their three daughters returned to Malawi in around 2006 and we kept in contact. Colin then soon became a minister in the CCAP. I was studying theology, as a private student, at the Presbyterian Theological College at the time, and studying God’s word made it clear that a desire to help was God given but by itself was not enough, action of some sort was required. In February 2007 I sent an email to Colin and Shirley asking if they would be interested in and willing to help us Australian’s to start a small home and school for AIDS orphans in Malawi.
With their positive response things got underway in Australia to establish Orbus, with the outlining of an initial plan, the choosing of a name (Jayni), designing of a logo (Rachel Stasse), the setting up of an advisory panel, the writing of a constitution and other things. There were plenty of like-minded friends at PTC, South Yarra PC and among our wider friends, who mostly all knew the Mbawa family as well, so there was no shortage of willing participants to help out.
The first Orbus funds were dispatched to Blantyre in June 2007 to register Orbus Development and Aid in Central Africa Limited, and thus Orbus was launched! With Colin and I to choose three directors each the founding directors were John Wilson, Vin Lopes, myself, Richard Chaponda, Elliot Mulange, and Hastings Thembakako.
Over the following years the strategy changed and the model changed, from one of sending money to one of sending people to work alongside our Malawian brothers and sisters to try to help more directly. My family and I had come to the realization in 2009 that we should go to Blantyre to help with the work. We made our plans, prayed much, sought counsel, saw God open doors and confirm we were on the right track and finally arrived in Blantyre in May 2010. Much to our dismay the Synod transferred Colin away from Blantyre to Zomba in around February 2010, leaving us without our key contact and local friend and wondering whether we had made a mistake in coming!
This change of circumstances, model and strategy led to the disbanding of the old entity and saw a new Orbus structure, established on September 23rd 2010, in partnership between the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) – Blantyre Synod, the Presbyterian Church of Victoria and Orbus Australia.
A single anonymous donation from Australia earlier in 2008 had provided the funds to purchase the 20-acre site in Daniel Village, Ngumbe from the Malawian government. So, having sought out, met with and sought counsel from the surrounding village chiefs, community leaders and church leaders and surveyed the actual needs in this community it was decided in June 2010 that our plans should be changed to focus more on education for OVC rather than on a residential home, as the extended family most often steps in and cares for orphans, and they were better off in their villages with extended family.
From this new start the Orbus Centre was officially opened on 31st July 2010. Then we opened the Orbus Nursery School for orphans and vulnerable children on September 6th 2010. This was followed with the opening of the Orbus Primary School for orphans and vulnerable children on September 5th 2011 with a single Grade (Standard) 1 class.
While we did not see much of Colin after our arrival in 2010 or over the following years, the arrival of the PYV team in June/July 2017 saw us catching up with him again when we all had lunch at the Mbawa compound with Shirley and two of their daughters. They are a special family and we give thanks to God for them and for their introducing the Australian friends to this equally special country of Malawi.
We give thanks to God for the many friends of Orbus over the years, you know who you are and I ask that you forgive me for not mentioning everyone by name. However, at this time it is fitting to make particular mention of the early work of some friends in Malawi such as our good friend Lameck Chitela (without whom Orbus would not be what it is today), and a special mention also to Blessings Kanike, also Colin, Richard, Rose, Elliot, Hastings, Flossy, Ellen, Rhoda, Felix, Leonard, Davey, Benson, Mjojo, Evelyn, Esme and Triphonia, as well as a special mention of our Head Teacher Wills Mbewe and current teachers, Grace, Martin, Mphatso, Elton, Florence and Samantha.
In Australia, trying to mention all the people God has built Orbus out of is fraught with danger, as some are bound to be missed due to the sheer number. But a special mention should be made of the initial directors (listed above), and each of the advisory panel members of the initial structure, being Jayni, Bill Medley, Rob Boyle, John and Sue Steendam, John Stasse, Stuart Bonnington, Dean and Sandy Carroll, and David Manly, who have all remained involved in varying ways since then. No doubt a second mention of the tireless work of Vin Lopes, Rob Boyle, John Steendam, Bill Medley and John Stasse is very warranted too.
Then there are some of the serial volunteers at Orbus including John, Sue, Rob, Doug, Diane, Steve, Michael and Dorothy. Along with the myriad other visitors over the years, and the numerous donors and supporters of Orbus, such as APWM, PWMU, PresAID, the faithful members of the Frankston PC, SYPC, Maroochydore PC, and others too numerous to mention. They are friends of Orbus, cherished and never forgotten, friends who have planted seeds at Orbus for God to grow. Praise God for these generous people and their selfless desires to help those in need in the name of Christ Jesus.
We give thanks for the way the relationship with the CCAP Blantyre Synod has worked so well over these past 5 years and we really thank God for the Synod. They are a blessing not taken for granted. Special mention should be made of the early friendship of our good friends Rev. McDonald Kadawati, and the current General Secretary Rev. Alex Maulana (the first and second Malawian trustees of the Orbus Centre), the past Education Secretary Lester and current Education Secretary Moses Kasitomu.
We praise God that now, in 2017 Orbus has 380 children enrolled from Nursery through to Standard 7 and is about to start Standard 8 and Form 1 of the new secondary school, God willing, in September 2017.
We praise God for all the people who have become such an integral part of Orbus since 2007, in both Australia and Malawi and we recommit this project to God’s glory and for the help of orphans and vulnerable children in His name.
"Blessed is he that considereth the poor" (Psalm 41:1). Many people give (or think they are) their money to the poor, the weak, the helpless, and the needy in a hurry and without thinking whether that is the best way to help them; and many more give (and do) nothing at all. Psalm 41:1 tells us that we should “consider” the poor i.e. we should analyze their particular situation, prepare plans that will really help them, not just on a short-term basis but longer-term structural help, we should involve them in these plans and then we should wisely and thoughtfully carry these plans out, again together with those in need. Perpetuating past practices of sending money or goods without really knowing where they are ending up will just achieve more of the same corruption and orphans and the genuine poor will continue to go unhelped. As Charles Spurgeon said, “We can do more by care than by cash, and most with two together.” Orbus aims to do what we can to provide this type of considered help for orphaned children.
ONLY GOD COULD DO THIS! PRAISE HIM AND GIVE HIM ALL THE GLORY.
Here is a brief run down on just some of the activity of the Presbyterian Youth of Victoria (PYV) team at Orbus during their three week blitz of love, generosity, compassion, thoughtfulness, selflessness, happiness, energy, hard work, perseverance, patience, and contagious joy. For further insight into the PYV team’s valuable ministry please visit their blog page and browse through each day’s entry.
This amazing team took Orbus by storm, hitting the ground running from day one and did not stop. They have made 380 children very happy over three weeks; conducted Bible talks most days; taught songs to the children (which fill the air as children skip around the school at play time); gifted sports and school resources; played lots of sports with the children; helped out in various classes; marked school work; supervised (invigilated) exams; helped the teachers in various ways in classes; visited orphans in their villages, providing groceries and gifts; bought paint and painted buildings; bought new playground items; conducted a thorough nursing clinic for 380 children, taking some to a local doctor and some to the hospital for more tests, and sadly discovering some serious issues in a couple of children, which if left untreated could have possibly been quite tragic. (We praise God for this and see His providential hand in the team having two nurses).
They also visited many local churches around the Orbus school, enjoying joyous Sunday mornings of wonderful Malawian worship.
Recently a few of us visited one little orphan girl in her village after school and found that she had been coming home after school and singing the songs the team had been teaching at school. Malawians learn much through music and dance, and the effort that the PYV team put into the songs they have been teaching at Orbus have been a big hit, echoing around the school and around the villages.
Seeing the children after school not wanting to go home, but waiting to give the team hugs and high fives, was heart-warming. There were some sad children, and team members, when it was time to say goodbye, and a sad Manners family at Chileka airport yesterday too.
My family and I went to Orbus straight from the airport and there was a quietness and lingering sadness about the school, even with 380 children running around at recess time.
Please visit the photo journal pages to see some of this activity.
Gail Van Heerden, a teacher from St.Andrew's Christian College in Wantirna visited Orbus for two weeks in July. She has been such a blessing to many staff and children in various grades, teaching, invigilating, marking, singing, colouring, doing craft classes, loving, sharing, and caring. One of Gail’s main problems though was that she had trouble getting the children to leave the class for recess or lunch, as they did not want the classes to finish!
You can visit the PHOTO JOURNAL 2017 to see some of Mrs. Van Heerden
There is a new church plant in Blantyre! The "CCAP Orbus Prayer House" has started up in one of the Orbus classrooms. The congregation which meets at 8.30am Sundays has lots of children, some Orbus teachers, police families and others from the area. http://www.orbusministries.org/orbusphotojournal2017.html
Things are moving ahead well here in Malawi. Our partner church, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) - Blantyre Synod, have been very welcoming and helpful and there is much excitement and activity, within the Synod and at Orbus, about the Orbus Secondary School, which is on track to make a small start in September.
The Synod organized a cornerstone laying ceremony recently with Synod leadership, Education Office representatives, local Ministers from CCAP churches, Presbytery of Blantyre North representatives, village Chief representatives, Synod radio station reporters, a women’s choir, and others present, with speeches, songs and prayers.
It is impressive how the school at Orbus has developed (Praise God!) and we are increasingly assured that the structure and relationship we have with the Synod is such that we can confidently take a long-term view of things, and I do think what Orbus are doing at Ngumbe is needed, is of definite practical benefit to the community and most importantly has at its heart a Christ-centred focus which by God’s grace we trust will be of eternal benefit to many.
There is a particular need for secondary education in the area, and we are hopeful that Orbus will be successful as a fee paying, and possibly boarding, school, which will then help to subsidize the free secondary education the school will be offering to orphans, the poor and the vulnerable.
A few brief things:
1- You can follow the activity at Orbus over the coming months at the Orbus Photo Journal: http://www.orbusministries.org/orbusphotojournal2017.html
2- On Friday June 23, the PYV Mission Trip to Malawi will fly out of Melbourne. They will be working alongside the team at Orbus for three weeks and visiting different churches around the Orbus school. They have worked hard to prepare themselves for the visit, and to bond as a team. Please support them with your prayers. If you would like to keep up with what's happening on the trip, please visit their blog - https://os17malawi.wordpress.com/
Read more-->> http://mailchi.mp/54a276eb69dc/orbus-malawi-update
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17–19).
Faith's Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon
Full Reliance on God
"For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper". (Psalm 72:12)
The needy cries; what else can he do? His cry is heard of God; what else need he do? Let the needy reader take to crying at once, for this will be his wisdom. Do not cry in the ears of friends, for even if they can help you it is only because the Lord enables them. The nearest way is to go straight to God and let your cry come up before Him. Straightforward makes the best runner: run to the Lord and not to secondary causes.
"Alas!" you cry, "I have no friend or helper." So much the better; you can rely upon God in both capacities-as without supplies and without helpers. Make your double need your double plea. Even for temporal mercies you may wait upon God, for He careth for His children in these temporary concerns. As for spiritual necessities, which are the heaviest of all, the Lord will hear your cry and will deliver you and supply you.
O poor friend, try your rich God. O helpless one, lean on His help. He has never failed me, and I am sure He will never fail you. Come as a beggar, and God will not refuse you help. Come with no plea but His grace. Jesus is King; will He let you perish of wants What! Did you forget this?
As the following Faith's Checkbook from Charles Spurgeon (one of my favourite old Christians if you haven't already noticed!) makes clear, there is work for all Christians, no matter what their age, status, situation, skills, etc. etc.
God uses all His people, we just have to be willing and then act. We all want to be useful in God's kingdom, and God wants us to be useful. In fact He expects us to be useful. It is no good praying and asking for God to use you if you are not also willing to act. Like the invalid man at the Bethesda Pool in Jerusalem (John 5). He was required to act, to do something. In his case it was to trust Jesus, pick up his mat and walk (what incredible faith, given he had been lame for 38 years), and then to sin no more.
Older people are so incredibly overlooked in Western nations like Australia. This is folly! Older people have lifetimes of experience and wisdom which young people simply cannot have. They should in reality be paid more for their services. Yet the reality in our world is that they are often overlooked and go to waste in their older years.
That does not have to be your reality however! There is much to do and "retirement" does not have to comply with the "norms" of society. Orbus volunteers John and Sue Steendam are two good examples of this at Orbus. In their 70s these two faithful Christians continue to seek to do the will of Jesus in their older years. Praise God!
Faith's Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon
"Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive." (Matthew 20:7)
"Yes, there is work in Christ's vineyard for old bodies. It is the eleventh hour, and yet He will let us work. What grace is this! Surely every old man ought to jump at this invitation! After men are advanced in years nobody wants them as servants; they go from shop to shop, and employers look at their gray hairs and shake their heads. But Jesus will engage old people and give them good wages, too! This is mercy indeed. Lord, help the aged to enlist in Thy service without an hour's delay.
But will the Lord pay wages to worn-out old men? Do not doubt it. He says He will give you what is right if you will work in His field. He will surely give you grace here and glory hereafter. He will grant present comfort and future rest; strength equal to your day and a vision of glory when the night of death comes on. All these the Lord Jesus will as freely give to the aged convert as to one who enters His service in his youth.
Let me tell this to some unsaved old man or old woman and pray the Lord to bless it for Jesus' sake. Where can I find such persons? I will be on the lookout for them and kindly tell them the news."
In many ways, given the change of heart supernaturally produced in Christians after Jesus saves them, the Christian church should be an outworking of practical works, reflecting Christ's ministry to the weak, the poor and the vulnerable.
Such ministry to the weak, the poor and the vulnerable should be intentional, planned and done with wisdom. It should be Christ centred, as any ministry which does not include sharing the gospel is not Christian ministry, and ultimately only provides temporary (bandaid) help.
Charles Price in one of his talks at Belgrave Heights Convention in April 2017 put it this way: “The local church is only as strong as it’s ministry to the weak and the poor.”
Faith's Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon
He Never Fails
I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5)
This word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Beloved, a life of warfare is before us, but the Lord of Hosts is with us. Are we called to lead a great but fickle people? This promise guarantees us all the wisdom and prudence that we shall need. Have we to contend with cunning and powerful enemies? Here is strength and valor, prowess and victory. Have we a vast heritage to win? By this sign we shall achieve our purpose; the Lord Himself is with us.
It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us; but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. On no one occasion will the Lord desert us. Happen what may, He will be at our side. Friends drop from us, their help is but an April shower; but God is faithful, Jesus is the same forever, and the Holy Spirit abideth in us.
Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail; and as He will not forsake me, neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith!