Twenty percent of Malawi’s land area lies underwater despite the nation’s landlocked location in East Africa. Lake Nyasa, the third largest lake in Africa and home to fish species found nowhere else in the world, and Mount Mulanje, one of the tallest mountains on the continent, display Malawi’s untainted beauty and life. The small nation ranks as one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 90% of the people taking advantage of the most fertile soil in the region through farming and agriculture.
Although Malawi is surrounded by rich natural resources, it remains one of the least developed countries in the world. Malaria and yellow fever are rampant, and the country has one of the highest global incidences of AIDS. Though the nation went through a period of economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, it came at the cost of an oppressive dictatorship that ended in 1994. All signs of that prosperity have vanished as the government struggles to address unreliable power, poor telecommunication infrastructure, water shortages, and inadequate roadways. Population growth, corruption, and increasing pressure on agricultural lands to provide for the people are all major issues, but the high levels of poverty and unemployment prevent drastic reform.
Despite these many adversities, the church is growing. More than three fourths of the population claim the Christian faith, and that percentage is increasing every day. The Word has penetrated nearly every corner of society, and many locales have been experiencing revival. Though the growth is not as explosive as in other regions of Africa, it is a steady biblical faith that is building mature followers. The intense poverty hinders education and is one of the biggest factors preventing theological training. The Bible is expected to be completely translated into the Yawo language in 2011, and the Lomwe and Chilambya are dialects still in need of a Bible. Though the people of Malawi are poor in the eyes of the world, they are spiritually rich in more ways than man can imagine. In the face of earthly suffering, God is calling Malawians for His glory, and they are answering Him.