The Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) fellowship in Mulanje, Malawi, has a history dating back to 2007, when a student nurse from Norway came to do her practical training in a hospital in Malawi. Through a colleague at the hospital she met Collins Mauluka and visited his church. The nurse who was a member of Brunstad Christian Church put Mauluka in contact with Tielman Slabbert, the leader of BCC South Africa, who invited him to visit South Africa.
Subsequently a small BCC fellowship developed in Mulanje with Collins Mauluka as the leader. The members of the fellowship started building a hall in 2013, where church services could be held; however, they were unable to complete the project. The hall was just an unfinished “shell”, with a few ruins next to it that were meant to become outbuildings. There was only a small pit latrine (mud-built structure) in the field, and the property was unsecured with neighours walking through it.
Early in 2021, new life was breathed into the project. Young people from the BCC fellowships in Malawi (who had completed the Christian Youth Development Program (CYDP) at BCC South Africa), with support from members of BCC South Africa, worked together with the local members on the project to complete and construct buildings with proper facilities that could be used by young and old in the times to come. The hall was finished with ceilings, and proper doors and windows. The old ruins were built up and transformed into proper bathrooms, ablution and kitchen facilities, as well as overnight accommodation for young people attending church camps and conferences – which is a priority in “building” a functioning church.
On the CYDP, the young people had learned valuable skills through practical on-the-job training in bricklaying, plumbing, electrical work as well as budgeting, procurement, bookkeeping and several other hard and soft skills. The Mulanje building project also provided opportunities for the transfer of skills to other young members of the BCC fellowships in Malawi.
The completion and opening of the church centre was celebrated with a thanksgiving gathering in the new hall on the 22nd of January 2022. Several members from BCC South Africa who were involved in the project were present at the opening. Collins Mauluka started proceedings by welcoming everyone and expressed his heartfelt thanks that the building of the church centre had finally come to fruition, saying that it was a glorious day for the BCC fellowship in Mulanje.
In his message, Tielman Slabbert said that BCC uses such projects as opportunities for church members to work together, thereby gaining wisdom from God not only in spiritual, but in practical matters as well. He added that the completed church centre is an ideal “platform” where “the church can be built”. This work is much more important than building a house for the Lord with bricks and mortar. The real “building of the church” is done when we use the Word of God in our practical daily lives when we work together and do things together as members of the church. When young and old work together in harmony to the benefit of all the members in the different activities as well as to run and maintain the centre, it is of far greater value and more lasting than any physical building.
Quoting from the New Testament, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Slabbert explained that God cannot use a very gifted person who does his own will and lives in sin, to “build the church” or serve in the church. He rather uses someone who may be less gifted, but who is living wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ, to further His work. In conclusion, he said that although the new church centre is glorious, it is nothing in comparison to what God can do inside people who obey His will.
Edifying songs and a delicious meal formed part of the opening celebration of thanksgiving, not forgetting the warm fellowship that was enjoyed by everyone present!