Ride 2 Transform Malawi plants seeds among the Yao

Over the course of seven days 17 cyclists from eight different countries biked a combined total of 8,591km in this years Ride2Transform Malawi

Over the course of seven days 17 cyclists from eight different countries biked a combined total of 8,591km in this years Ride 2 Transform Malawi (R2TM). 

The goal of R2TM is to raise prayers and awareness for the Yao tribe. The Yao are a predominately Muslim tribe numbering around two million who are based in southern Malawi. They are a difficult people to reach, but OM has found ways to build relationships through training programmes such as: entrepreneurship training, Foundations for Farming and AudiBible training.

During R2TM the team handed out 49 AudiBibles provided by Davar Partners International to people they met along the road and the three ministry teams distributed an additional 210.

The solar-powered AudiBibles contain the whole Bible in Chiyao (the local language) as well as a few sermons and songs. Regardless if they are interested in the Bible or not, people gather round in the villages to listen to the devices simply because it speaks their language. 

In addition to praying for the Yao people, the cycling tour also raised funds to build a school in Chisopi, a Yao village 30 kilometres from Ntaja. Named ‘Mbweni,’ which translates to “have you seen,” the school is the first in it’s village and an ideal way to reach out to not only the children, but their families as well. 

New this year

Three teams, made up of local missionaries and members of the OM Africa Trek, went to five different locations along the 640km cycling route to connect with local churches and run programmes such as AudiBible training, children's, women's and sports ministry, and door-to-door evangelism.

Each team came back with many stories and testimonies of how God is at work in Malawi.

“I have been told in the past that it’s important to love the people you serve, more than the job you’re doing,” said Africa Trek member Stephanie, from the USA. “This past week I have loved the people I was able to serve. The people of Malawi are beautiful and getting to teach them about children’s ministry was a highlight. They had a great desire to learn and on our last day those we taught had the opportunity to practically apply what they learnt and it was encouraging to see the evidence of the work God did in each of them during our time together.”

Cyclist testimonies from on the road…

The woman at the well

While biking the team saw a group of women pumping water at a well and decided to stop and talk.

Ilse (South Africa) didn’t want to just stand there and watch, so she asked if she could pump some water. While pumping she asked one woman where she lived, about her children and if she had enough to eat (the harvest last year was not great and many people don't have enough to eat). Then Ilse asked if she could pray for the woman and her needs. The woman agreed, and after praying Ilse gave her an AudiBible and encouraged her to seek God.

Changing views

The food van driven by Lindsey (South Africa) and Alice (Malawi) drove ahead of the cyclists to wait with water and snacks every 25 km. One day they were meant to park at a turnoff to signal the team to go on a side road, but ended up in the wrong place. Wrong place for the turnoff that is, but the right place for where God wanted them.

As it often happens in Malawi, people come to check out a vehicle when it parks. At this stop there was a group of teenage boys. Lindsey, who said she doesn’t connect well with teenage boys, groaned inwardly at the boys talking and laughing outside her window. 

God changed her view though, and when she looked closer she saw them in a different light; what hope they could have if they knew Jesus and what amazing men of God they could become. With Alice translating, Lindsey explained what the AudiBible was, how to work it and gave one to the boys with a prayer that they would use it. 

The carpenter and his wife 

There are many carpentry stalls alongside the road in Malawi and one day Chris, (South Africa), felt they were supposed to stop at the next one which is where the team met Johnson.  

Johnson was happy to talk to the men in both English and Yao, smiling and laughing at their attempts to have a serious conversation about Jesus. Earlier that day Geraint, Chris’s son, had watched a video about a Muslim who came to faith in Jesus and wanted to use the information he had learnt in the video, so he stepped forward. He asked the man if he knew how powerful Jesus was and that Muhammad could not do what Jesus did. As the man listened his face changed, he did not laugh, but appeared to be thinking intently. 

It is not common for a grown man to listen to a young boy, especially about religion.

At the same time, Shirley (USA) and Stephanie (Australia) talked to Johnson’s wife and daughter. The wife said she didn’t understand everything said at the mosque, but that her daughter, who is going to a Muslim school, sometimes explained it to her. The team asked the pair if they would like an AudiBible, which they excitedly accepted, saying that in school they said they should read the New Testament. 

Pray for this family, that Johnson would be challenged in his beliefs and that the women would listen to the AudiBible and see the difference between a religion and a relationship with their creator. Pray that they will use their AudiBible and share it with family and friends. 

The language connection

Lovedale (Zambia) and Mike (Canada) peeled off from the main road when they saw the sign for the school. Too early for the students to be there yet, the grounds were deserted in the morning light. The first person they met was a Christian teacher. Though excited to meet a follower of Christ, they felt that he was not who they were looking for.

The next teacher they encountered was actually born in the same town in Zambia as Lovedale and could speak his native language, Bemba, which gave them an instant connection. The teacher's name meant 'grace' and Lovedale was able to tell the man what grace meant, all in Bemba.

Encouraging the teacher to seek God, they gave him an AudiBible and left. Lovedale returned to the main road smiling from ear to ear. "It was like I just brushed my teeth from all the English I've been speaking. I feel so refreshed with Bemba in my mouth.”

Though the trip is over, please continue to pray for the people of Malawi; that they may know Christ as their personal saviour. Pray that through the AudiBibles the Word of God will shine brightly and plant seeds in people's minds, and that the Lord will send people to help those seeds grow.

 

By Rebecca Rempel