Engineering ministry refurbishes African Bible school campus

WINNIPEG, MB—A recent trip to Thondwe, Malawi by Engineering Ministries International Canada (EMIC) is bringing new life to a Bible school’s aging campus.

The Namikango Campus exists to train church workers in the Bible school and carry out educational and medical work, encouraging churches in Southern Malawi and Mozambique. EMIC, a non-profit organization that enables designers to use their skills in developing countries, is designing a master plan for the campus.

In mid-June Winnipeg architect Richard Derksen and a team of 11 people traveled to Malawi with EMIC. His third trip to the country, Derksen says he continues to go because he enjoys experiencing different cultures and working collaboratively with a consultant team that shares his values.

“We meet with the client group to review their program of requirements, get a sense of their ethos, try to understand their vision, and discuss approaches to redeveloping the site,” he says.

One of the things that impacted Derksen the most was living with the people of Malawi and realizing how vulnerable they are.

“A young man known to the community died of what was thought to be malaria within a day of feeling ill,” Derksen says. “This is a preventable problem that feels so much more tragic when you are closer to it.”

He also noticed competition between the influences of Christianity and Islam, judging from the number of older churches and new mosques in the city. “These communities appear to be living in peace, which is positive, but I thought twice about who was making more of an impact in Malawi today,” he says.

Civil Engineering intern Eleanor Siow also went on the trip in June. “My job was primarily involved with testing and evaluating the water and wastewater systems on campus with the other two civil engineers on the team,” says Siow. She adds that communicating with the locals to determine what they needed was an important part of the work.

What impacted Siow the most was seeing how Christians lived in Malawi.

“The people we met there had such warm hearts filled with kindness that can only be through Christ,” says Siow. “Seeing them live in such thanksgiving, peace, and joy, despite their circumstances, was inspiring.”

The team will be sending a final report to Namikango Mission with their research findings to help them lay plans for the future.

“I firmly believe God chose each of us to be on a trip to serve as a team together,” Siow says, “and that it was only through Him we were able to do the work we did.”

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About the author


ChristianWeek Correspondent

Allison is a writer, editor, and graphic designer with a BA in English from Canadian Mennonite University and a Certificate in Publishing from Ryerson University. She currently manages Area of Effect magazine and is a missionary with Geekdom House in Winnipeg, MB.