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I H) i James and Beverly Sivlts
I M W Blantyre. Malawi 5980 McLarnan Road
ACDioA I i^u Gambler, Ohio 43022
AFRICA I Phone 635691 (614)668-2581
THANK YOU As we send our very first newsletter, we want to begin by thanking
each one of you who are receiving this newsletter for all of the support and
encouragement you have given us. Many of you have gone out of your way to
share encouraging words, pray, and contribute financially, and we really
appreciate you! It is difficult to find words to express how much your
encouragement has meant. God bless you all.
"HITTING THE DUSTY TRAIL" Since January 1989 we have been raising support
"full-time." We have been in about 25 churches and have travelled many miles.
Soon it will be VBS time, and we are scheduled to be the missionaries at
several VBS programs, as well as speak at church services.
EAC3IR TO LEAVE Our target departure date is mid-July, and we are working
diligently to meet that goal. Our application for our work permit has been
filed in Malawi, and we hope to have it approved by early July. We are con
tinuing to seek monthly support of $3,000/month that we need in order to
leave the States. We currently have approximately $l,500/month conrEiitted. In
addition to monthly support, approximately $19,000 is still needed for a four-
v^eel drive vehicle, air tickets, moving expenses, and equipment. Although
it seems we have a long way to go, we rejoice in the Lord for the way He has
blessed through so many of you. We are confident that through the prayers and
efforts of all of us that will work to meet these needs so that we might
do Eiis will in Malawi.
RAIN AND REEHGEES Malawi has had a trying year so far. Unlike many parts of
Africa, Malawi is suffering fron too much rain. There was flooding in the
north, vrtiich has resulted in many homeless people, and in the rest of the
country, maize crops have rotted in the fields. To compound the problans in
Malawi, there has been an influx of refugees from Mozambique (about 20,000
per month) vhio are fleeing civil war, starvation, and economic depression.
These problons, however, have opened up doors for the work in Malawi. We
are eager to arrive in Malawi, so that we may not only help meet the physical
needs of the people with food, clothing, medicine, etc., but so that we may
help meet their spiritual needs as well.
PRAYER NEEDS All of you v^o receive this newsletter are part of the Malawi
Christian Mission Stateside Support Team, and an important part of that support
is prayer support. Please join us in praying daily about these requests:
of work permit *Malawian people
support by July refugees
for airline tickets, four-wheel drive, etc.
We have seen that great things happen when God's people pray!! May our God
be with you all!
A v:)
Skaggs to Malawi
Steve and Vonnie
Steve and Vonnie Skaggs plan to
leave for Malawi the first of July 1989
to help in leadership training and
literature preparation for the many
churches of Malawi and Mozambique
(from 10 in 1979 to 250 in 1988).
Stephen was bomAugust 24,1965 in
Somerset, Kentucky toBill andMartha
Skaggs. He majored in Bible and
Christian Ministries at Kentucky
Christian College where he was
graduated as valedictorian, Summa
Cum Laude, of the class of 1987. He
was scheduled to receive his MA in
Missions from Cincinnati Christian
Seminary in May 1989. Steve has
served a summer internship in Bophu-
Yvonne was bora February 17,1966
in Lusaka, Zambia to Bill andJackie
Brandt, now missionaries in Malawi.
She grew up in Africa but received her
Associate of Arts degree in 1986 from
KCC.' She and Steve were married
January 10, 1987. Vonnie can com
municate in six languages.
The Skaggs are recommended by the
elders of Pleasant Hill Christian
Church in Montpelier, Ohio cmd Grove
Church of Christ in Gambier, Ohio;
President Keeran andPalmerYoung of
KCC and Tom Thurman of Chris
tian Restoration Association.
Needed funds should be made
payable to Malawi Christian
Mission and sent to forwarding
agents, James and Beverly Sivits,
6980 McLarmanRd., Gambier, OH
43022, phone 614-668-2581.
Steve and Vonnie may be reachedon
the field at PC Box 2500, Blantyre,
Malawi, Africa, phone 011-265-
P.O. Box 2500
Biantyre, Malawi
Phone 635691
James and BeverlySivits
5980 McLarnan Road
Gambier, Ohio 43022
WE'RE OFF!! By the time you read this newsletter, we will be on our way to
Malawi. We will be leaving July 17 at 6:00 p.m. from Atlanta. We will fly
Jbhrough Amsterdam and will finally arrive in Malawi on Thursdays July-20 r
Please pray that God will give us a safe journey.
YBS's On June 1, we left home for a full month of VBS'sl Malawi Christian
Mission was the mission project at VBS's in Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio!
We also spoke at several church services during our "VBS Tour." Thanks to
the generous giving of so many kids (and adults) at these VBS's, we were able
to pay for our airline tickets! Thanks to all of you who made our June an
exciting month!!
AN UNWEILCXX4E SURPRISE We recently heard that Malawi is now requiring all
new residents to have an exit fund in a bank in Malawi before they will grant
a work permit. Malawi is requiring us to have $2500 in this special fund.
Please pray that God will provide the funds to meet this urgent need.
SUPPORT UPDATE Please be in prayer concerning funds for Malawi Christian
Mission. Currently, we need almost $1000 in monthly support. Ten thousand
dollars for a heavy-duty vehicle and $4000 relocation fund is also needed.
We are stepping out in faith that God will raise up supporters to meet
these financial needs as we work for Him in Malawi.
A SPECIAL THANKS Thanks to all of you who have been so encouraging to us,
especially in ^ese past few weeks before our departure. As the -p2sessu2=e -
grew more intense with our departure coming ever closer and much of the
support still lacking, it was the prayers and encouragement of many of you
that keeps our chins up! Thanks!
vw CLr.ci
Field address
PQ Bo* 2S00
QvAr.-.ydi Mfliaw
A" ica
Jarnes aixJ Beverly Snts
5980 McLarr\an Road
Gai"0er. Opa3022
Last month wc had some surprising news come our
way. Vonnie found out that she is expecting!!! The greatness
of this news is that we had been told it might be difficuil for
us to start a family. This little baby is a blessing from
God...in more ways than one. We are excited and look
forward to the arrival of this new addition to our family in
late April.
Our work permit was finally approved in September!!
Actually, our permit has an official starting dale in mid-
August, but we were just officially notified in mid-
September. Although we never doubled that it would be
approved, we were glad to finally have it in hand.
Based on my experiences in Malawi thus far, if there
is one thing that I am certain of, it is that a sturdy vehicle is
an essential. The other missionaries here have told us that,
next to our Bible, our mission vehicle will probably be our
most used tool! I cenainly agree! The vehicle that has been
recommended to us is the Toyota Hilux pickup. The purchase
price for the Toyota in Malawi is 81,000 Kwacha, that's
$30,000!! The good news is that we can purchase the Toyota
factory direct in South Africa for approximately $10,000.
Because we must have a vehicle that will get us out to the
churches and because buying direct in South Africa will
save much money, we have placed an order for a new Toyota
pickup. It will be ready for us to pick up in late October. We
had a few specials, communion, and offering lo go, not to
mention introductions of all the visitors! By the lime the
service was over, it was about 1 p.m. or later. After we had a
lunch of goal meat and nsima, we finally made it back home
to Blantyre at about 3 p.m. What a day!!
The next few months look like they are going to be
busy ones. Not only will we be travelling to a different
village to preach each Sunday, but we will also begin
language learning in earnest. Up to this time, I have been
able to pick up some Chichewa, but starting September 18, a
large portion of each day will be spent learning Chichewa
from two Malawian helpers, Alfred Kachipeso and Patson
Phiri, and going out into the townships and villages
practicing what I learn each day.
In other mission news, Bill and Jackie Brant are
reluming to the U.S. this month for a short furlough. They
will be living in Grayson, Ky, and are have limited
availability for speaking engagements. Their U.S. address is
P.O. Box 932, Grayson, KY 41143. Jeff and Karen Kennedy
are planning to move to northern Malawi in the near
future. They will be the only family from our church in the
northern section of Malawi., and will be "starling from
scratch" up there. Ray and Suzie Nutt and family are
reluming to the U.S. this month because of health problems.
Although they would love to stay here in Malawi, they feel
they must retum to the U.S. for adequate health care. Please
be praying for all three of these families!!
Please join us in praising God for:
*News of Baby *Granting of Work Permit
Also please join us in praying about these needs:
*Funds for Truck ^Language Learning
* Kennedys' Move to *Continued Need of Monthly
Northern Malawi Support
r i v i n Truck Back From J *Nutis' health problems and
South Africa .return to the U.S.
have established a special account here for the purchase of
the vehicle. Currently we have $2,000 in that account.
Please join us in praying that God will raise up contributors
to provide the funds for this essential mission tool! Also
please be praying for me as I drive the truck from South
Africa to Malawi. It will be a long Journey over some often
times unfriendly territory.
On September 3, Vonnie and I made our first trip out
to a village church by ourselves. Up to that time, we had
always gone out with the Brants, though I often preached.
We borrowed the Brant's truck, got directions to the village,
took our handy road map, and headed off. After about 20
minutes of driving, we saw the last of the "tarmac"
road...from that point on, it would be dirt "roads." Some of
the "roads" we drove over were nothing more than slightly
wide trails...but even these little trails were still on the
map!!! The closer to the church we got, the worse the road
got! Before we got to the church, we were travelling on a
small path (believe it or not, it was on the map as a road!!)
and were going over rocks, huge holes in the road, steep
hills and small streams. By the time we got to the church, I
was convinced that our purchase of a truck was a
necessity...and the thought entered my mind that a 4 wheel
drive vehicle wouldn't be a bad idea at all later on when we
can afford to get one.
We finally arrived at the church at about 10 a.m., and
very soon the service started. The church was concluding a
three day revival, so there were many guests there from
area churches. While the adults started the service under a
large grass-walled enclosure, during the first hour of the
service, Vonnie took the children aside and taught them
stories from the Bible (there were about 60 children
there).Vonnie was a bit shocked to find out that most of these
children didn't even know the story of creation...or any
story from the Bible, for that matter.
Well, while Vonnie was teaching the children, I was
preaching to the adults (at the one hour mark when Vonnie
and the children joined the rest of us, I was only about half
way through my sermon!). After I got through preaching,
three people came forward at the invitation time to
rcdedicatc their lives to Christ and ask for prayer. At this
point we were about half way through the service.
mA \
1989 Tovoia Hilux 1800 SR
This is a Toyoia brochure picture of ihe Toyota pickup
we have ordered. The truck we ordered will be while (a dark
color would be very hot here!). The truck will also have a
canopy with a roof rack on the back. This will be especially
useful since we very often carry both passengers and cargo.
Sometimes we will even haul building .supplies for church
We must have all 510,000 for this vehicle by
late October!! Currently, we have $2,000 set aside in a
special fund for the truck. This vehicle is essential to our
work here in Malawi. Currently, we have no transportation
of our own. We can do no work if we cannot even get to the
If you would like to make a contribution toward the
cost of the pickup, mail it to
Jim and Bcv Sivits
5980 McLarnan Rd.
Gambicr. OH 43022
We just wanted to close by saying thank you to all of
you for you many prayers and your financial support. As
we have said so many limes. "Great things happen when
God's people pray!" Your prayers do make a difference. God
bless vou all!!
PC Box 2500
Biamye. Malawi
P*X)ne 635691
James arxl BeverlySwis
5980 McLarnan Road
Gamtyer. Ohio 43022
We are finally going to South Africa to pick up the
Toyota Hilux pickup that we wrote about in our last newsletter.
Though the vehicle has taken a little logger to be produced
than we expected (we had hoped to have it by late October), it
is finally ready for pickup (pardon the pun). We are leaving
on 16 November to go down to South Africa to take delivery of
the truck. Concerning the $10,000 needed to purchase the
vehicle. . . we see that ,yet once again, God had worked
through His people to meet the need. As of 1 November, we
had transferred $9,000 into a bank account in SA to go toward
the truck. Our forwarding agents have informed us that there
were many special gifts for the truck. For those of you who
made special contribution to help cover the cost of the truck,
we say a very big thanks!! Combining the special gifts with
all the monthly funds we normally receive produced the
$9,000 total. Since we still needed $1,000 to cover the
remainder of the cost of the vehicle, as well as fimds to cover
insurance, travel expenses in driving the vehicle back from
South Africa, and funds to cover any unexpected expenses that
might arise during the process, we took a loan, hoping that we
could pay it off quickly without losing too much money on
It is so difficult to put into words all that has happened
for me in the past few months since we arrived in Malawi.
Although I have been busy doing many things, I feel the last
few months have been more of a learning time for me than
anything else.
Being a housewife in' Malawi is a definite learning
experience. Running a household and grocery shopping
takes on a whole new meaning. After several months, I am
beginning to feel capable as a housewife here. Learning how
and where to buy your groceries becomes a skill. The times I
have longed for one given hour at a Krogers store (where
everything is available in one spot) have become countless!
Understanding and knowing the Malawian people of
the city and bush is another learning experience. Their
culture and way of thinking is so very different from ours. It
is important for us to know and understand these people i n
order to know how to teach them and meet their needs most
The work I have been involved in the most since we
have been here is, ironically, teaching. Yet this too is a
learning experience for me. I teach as a volunteer at two
schools, both of which are private (not government funded)
elementary schools. I work with second graders at both
schools. My students are Malawian children, as well as
children from different countries of the world. Fortunately,
because these are English speaking schools, there is no
language barrier. At one school I teach "religious
instruction." We have been studying the life of Christ. I have
twenty-one very attentive students, few of whom have ever
gone to Sunday school! At the other school, which is a
Christian-based school, as a helper, I work with children who
have special, speciric needs. I enjoy teaching these second
graders as it allows me the chance to share my Lord with
children from all over the world.
Yet my most challenging work, and greatest learning
experience has come- from our weekly trips into the bush^
where we are at a different village each weekend. I teach the
children there, and because we are trying to reach all of the
over 150 churches , I never have the same group twice. The
lack of Bible knowledge and general knowledge these
children have breaks my heart. I teach the same lesson every
week. Since I know I won't be back again for some time, I
have tried to condense the most important message of the
Bible into about one hour's lesson. We start with creation,
Adam and Eve's sin, and sacrificing in the Old Testament, and
then skip to Christ's coming to earth. His message. His death,
and His resurrection. I wish you all could be with me to see
these children. They are so attentive, so hungry. How I wish
I could read them all the Bible stories I was read at their age. I
have encountered few children in the village who even knew
how the world came to be, or even knew that the earth is
round. They even have no concept of what an ocean is.
Despite the fact that I am the teacher, I am learning so much
from these children. . . like an appreciation for the teaching
about the Bible I received from my mother and teachers.
Yes, just about everything I have done so far in Malawi
has been a learning experience, and the lessons I am learning
are invaluable.
November 14 and 15 were exciting days for me. On
those two days I had the opportunity to teach a group of
leaders comprised of the primary church planters and
preachers from our churches in Malawi. (This group of about
15 men are known as evangelists. These men are hard
working church planters, but are beginning to assume more
power than is proper and are much in need of being held
more accountable to the local congregations whom they serve
for their activities. This is yet another great need here, and
will probably be expounded on in later newsletters.) My topic
for the seminar was Servant-Leadership. Certainly this is
a subject that needs to be taught in churches all over the
world!! During my sessions we discussed Jesus* very hard
teachings on servanthood, how Jesus actually fleshed out
these teachings in his life, and how we need to apply Jesus'
example to our own ministries. It was very exciting for me to
teach this group of men who were so very eager to learn!
Our next big challenge is to find a place to live here in
Malawi. Currently, we are renting the house of fellow
missionaries Bill and Jackie Brant while they are on furlough,
but we will need to find a place of our own when they return
in February. We ask that you will be praying that God will
lead us to the place that He, I'm sure, already has selected for
us. Since rent is incredibly high here, most of the time in the
neighborhood of $750-$!,000 (rental houses are very few in
number and are very high in demand), we are considering all
three housing options.. . . renting, buying, and building
(suprisingly, buying and building are not as expensive as one
might think and in Malawi are valid and economical options).
Eders are being ordained this weekend for the first time
at Musa Christian Church here in the Blantyre area.
Although this church has been in existence for several years,
the church had never ordained any elders, despite
encouragement from the missionaries to select qualified men
and ordain them. It seemed that Musa was content, as many
other churches here are, to have one or two men take the
position of authority in the church rather than to follow the'
New Testament pattern of a plurality of ordained, qualiUed
elders. Many churches have been confused by
denominational hierarchies where each church has one "big
man" in charge. Convincing the churches to recognize -and
correct this problem is a very big need in the young, rapidly
expanding churches here. Since Musa is a very well known
and influential church here, we are hoping that Musa's action
to follow the N.T. teaching on Biblical leadership will serve as
an example to other churches. Musa is expecting many guests
from Christian churches from all over the southern region of
Malawi to be present, so we are all praying that this
ordination service, will be an encouragement for all of them to
follow the N.T. pattern of church leadership.
Please join us in praising God for:
for the Truck opportunities for
Also please join us in praying about these needs:
Housing of Biblical
Leadership in Churches
Children at Musa Christian