The Orbus Born to Shine Choir has completed the recording of their first studio album made up of 10 songs. The recording was completed at Alimoso Studios, Blantyre on the 18 July 2023 and was funded by Orbus Ministries Australia at a cost of A$400. We hope to have a link to the whole album for interested supporters in due course. Thank you for supporting this initiative and for the encouragement this has been to the students.
Thank you to all supporters of Orbus for everything you have done since 2007!
1: Thank you for the funds sent in to assist with the relief efforts following Cyclone Freddy. A total of 1,350,000 Malawi Kwacha (A$2100) has to date been sent from Australia. Much of this will assist in repairs to teachers and staff houses, some to be used to buy and distribute other relief items under the direction of a 7-member committee set up for this purpose.
2: For a short video with one of the Orbus choirs singing "Crown Him" please click the image above. For a longer audio of this singing please click here.
3: For a general letter of thanks from Orbus Australia to all supporters please click here.
Further to our update of the 15th March I can confirm that all Orbus staff and students are reported to be unharmed and well. The Orbus Head Teachers, Edmond Kananji and Wills Mbewe and other friends at Orbus have provided recent updates to me, and while things have not been as bad at Orbus a lot of houses have collapsed and lives have been lost in surrounding areas. Eight Orbus staff have been affected by the storm with damaged or collapsed homes but thankfully they and their families escaped unhurt.
“As of today, 21st March 2023, the number of displaced people is at 553,614 with 543 camps set to accommodate the displaced. The death toll has risen from 499 to 507 with 1,332 injuries. The number of reported missing persons is at 537 from 427,” (Source)
Bodies are still being retrieved from the mud and rubble. There has been a big response from neighbouring countries, the UN, and international organizations providing assistance, but more will be required as the devastation is too great for Malawi to handle alone.
There has been a slight reprieve in the rain, and the sun has been shining over the last two days. Schools are still closed as some are being used to house the homeless and displaced. Orbus is expecting to re-start some secondary classes next week.
Food shortages could become a major problem very quickly. The crops I saw everywhere when I visited in February pointed to a bumper season for Malawi, even though there was a shortage of fertilizer, however much of the maize crops in southern Malawi will have been damaged or destroyed.
Although many people in Malawi received a cholera vaccine in February, there remains a real risk of a worsening cholera problem in Malawi, along with other water born sicknesses.
I spoke with the government regional health coordinator onsite at Orbus in February and was informed that most of the Orbus students had by then been offered a cholera vaccine, and while there were cases of cholera in the vicinity no cases had yet been reported at Orbus.
Combined with seriously storm damaged infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, these looming problems all point to major challenges ahead for southern Malawi, so please continue to pray.
I asked what the greatest needs are, and how best Australian friends of Malawi could help in this situation, Edmond suggests the needs are mostly for food, clothing, buckets, blankets and plastic sheets.
Assisting the Orbus community in whatever way we can is our objective in coming weeks. Orbus staff are able to purchase items for distribution and Lameck, our in-house building project manager, is ready to assist where needed to assess and facilitate urgent home repairs. With this in mind we will seek to establish a committee of Orbus leadership and staff in Malawi and myself to oversee and account for an Orbus Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund.
As part of Orbus’ involvement in providing relief and development in Malawi, donations to Orbus Ministries Australia Inc. are tax deductible for Australian donors. If anyone would like to contribute to providing some practical assistance through this fund, please specify "Relief" clearly on your donations or by email to us.
Orbus Australia sending people to help, given the cost of doing so, is deemed unattainable and sending funds to facilitate local efforts would seem the way to help in this instance. Ideally if funds were available to do both there is very much a strong desire to do so.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like further updates in coming days.
0434 1968 29
Above: Some of the Orbus maize crop in February 2023.
On 11 March 2023 some of the senior students from the Orbus Mission Secondary School visited the Mulanje Mission Hospital nursing college for career information. The students enjoyed the day and the interactions with medical personnel.
Photos at the Orbus Mission Primary and Secondary Schools taken over a two-week period in February 2023 are available at: PHOTO JOURNALS FEBRUARY 2023
In February 2023 Caleb and Craig Manners visited the Orbus Mission Primary and Secondary Schools to strengthen relationships, assess recent projects funded through Orbus Ministries Australia Inc. and assist with various other matters. By way of reporting on their visit please see a visual report and read a letter and report from Craig and a short video put together by Caleb. We are amazed at what God has done with Orbus in Malawi and convey very sincere gratitude to all supporters over the years for their involvement through prayer, financial donations and volunteering.
Published January 12, 2023 5:51pm EST
The worst cholera outbreak to affect Malawi in two decades has now claimed 750 lives, a government minister said, while the World Health Organization chief described the southeast African country as among the hardest-hit amid ongoing global epidemics that are "more widespread and deadly than normal."
Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda on Thursday ordered the closure of many businesses that lack safe water, toilets and hygienic refuse disposal facilities, and announced restrictions on the sale of pre-cooked food.
"We continue to record rising number of cases across the country, despite signs of reduced transmission and deaths in a few areas," Chiponda said in a statement, and urged adherence to sanitation and hygiene measures.
On Wednesday, Chiponda said 17 people had died from 589 new cases of the waterborne disease "in the past 24 hours." She said the country has recorded 22,759 cases since the onset of the outbreak in March last year.
Figures show that about 15 people have been dying daily in recent days, with 155 deaths recorded in the past 10 days. Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.
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.