Chikwawa and Nsanje
Chikwawa and Nsanje are the two most southern districts of Malawi. Home to the Sani tribe of people these districts form an area that receives attention from outside donors from time to time because the region is considered to be one of the most needy areas of Malawi.
It is found to the west of the Shire river. Its largest area is the flood plain for that great river, and the climate is recognised as being the hottest within the country. Hot season temperatures of early to mid 40s (in the shade) are not uncommon.
The mountainous area is marked by extremely difficult conditions for travel. Such roads as there are here are regularly washed away by the rivers that grow from just trickles of water during the dry seasons to torrents during the rains that fall between December and March. Generally the local people of all ages have to walk from one village to another over steep-sided hills that are not passable for vehicles at all. Generally the area has been forested until recent years but unfortunately deforestation has started to be a problem here too.
In 2009 Julian was approached by the leaders of a group of churches in Nsanje district and over the border into Mozambique. They had heard of Julian’s preaching from a visiting church member from one of the Lilongwe churches and, as a result, invited Julian to visit and preach the Gospel and teach their church leaders. Eventually this group of churches came under the care of Julian and Caroline and the leadership team.
The church now has several branches within that area such as Tengani, Bangula and Thomi. Many people within their congregations have experienced severe hardship in recent years because of loss of crops and at times houses, food and possessions due to flooding of the river. To the west again of the flood plain are found the mountains that mark the border with Mozambique. Here are the majority of the villages within which there are churches of the Disciples of Jesus. Several are within Mozambique itself. The central village is Nthondo which was the first to have one of our churches and from where the work has spread.