The Clerk of the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Rev John Wilson, visited the Orbus Mission Secondary and Primary Schools in Ngumbe, Blantyre, Malawi on the 24th November 2023.
The visit marked the last such occasion in his role of Australian Trustee of the Orbus Centre at Ngumbe, a duty perpetually attached to the position of Clerk, from which John is soon retiring.
Following are some comments from John’s report:
“Almost the entire morning devoted to visiting Orbus Mission School-a totally satisfying visit.”
Commenting on the beginnings of Orbus in 2007, as just an idea, and then the purchase of the Ngumbe property, from the Malawian government in 2008, with nothing but rubble from the old tobacco farm, and lots of snakes, Rev. Wilson said of the vision for the orphan and other vulnerable children of Malawi, “It was a vision of God. Don't let anyone put you down for holding to a God-inspired vision. EVEN when there is nothing to see as evidence. Today there is building after building and a functioning school which provides education for children of struggling parents as well as taking in orphans and other vulnerable children of the immediate district.”
“About 535 children are enrolled at Orbus, and they achieved 91% pass rate at their Form 4 examinations (Form 4 read VCE). The Malawian (national) average pass rate is ~52%, so the school is doing well. We can pray for Edmund the (secondary) school Principal, Wills the school Primary Principal and for Moses the Synod Education Secretary (Moses carries a huge work load). There is a new chaplain appointed, but I did not meet him.”
“After touring the property and inspecting the newly constructed science laboratory and library, we discussed (and agreed to) their next big need: a multipurpose meeting hall, adjacent to the boarding dorms, which can facilitate conducting examinations, a meeting place for the whole school out of the sun, and kitchen facilities for the campus. Yes, I know I get excited about Orbus Mission School, but we are entitled to be excited. The project started on bare ground with NOTHING. It is now bringing education to 535 children and allowing them to hear of the love of God in the Gospel of grace and to respond to Christ. How did that happen? Ask Colin Mbawa. Ask Craig Manners and the hard-working team at Orbus Australia. Ask any of that circle of 15 Aussies who prayed in 2008 (though three of them have passed on into glory ahead of us). Or … come with me and visit. Or: teachers on LSL - lend Orbus 3 months of your life - you’ll never be the same.”
“The final blessing of the visit: the whole school Assembly came together under the tress, with a gentle warm breeze to sing, pray and hear preaching from this old Aussie minister. What an awesome experience. It was tough to work out what to say and how to do it - consider there were little ones who don’t speak English yet … through to school leavers … and it was hot. And I had no notes or microphone. And the senior school students were standing. So, I read from Proverbs 30, built a bridge from ants’ God-given wisdom in securing food for their future to us securing security for our future and ultimately to our eternal future and pleaded with them to trust in what Christ has done in dying for sin and rising again for us. It was a lot harder to convey than I’d planned it in my mind because of the conditions (isn’t that always the case?), but it seemed to connect with a few … and, regardless, God takes his Word and secures it in people’s hearts.
It was just such a pleasure to come all this way for this purpose. Let’s remember the work of Orbus in our prayers to Almighty God and for whether the PCA can rise to the occasion and support the desired multi-purpose meeting hall.”
PDF of this Despatch with more photos.