From the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ to the


‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ – and back again!

The work of STUM is supported by SIM Malawi project #96556 Christian Education Resources

John Msowoya, Country Director of Sunday School Teachers United Movement in Malawi (STUM), recently visited New Zealand to spend time with Jim and Diane Young who had retired from SIM Malawi earlier in 2018. John was able to visit a number of churches which have supported Jim and Diane over the 15 years they were in Malawi and have also been supporting the work of STUM

For three weeks in November 2018, the Warm Heart of Africa and the Land of the Long White Cloud came together as John Msowoya from STUM visited New Zealand to be introduced to a number of fellowships which had been supporting retired SIM Malawi missionaries Jim and Diane Young before they retired.

Safe arrival: Jim meeting up with John on his arrival in New Zealand

 Jim and Diane are back in New Zealand after 15 years of service in Malawi, and having John visiting them brought together two opportunities, as Jim explained: “John’s visit was timely on two accounts. It was important for our supporters to meet the director of STUM and hear of the ongoing work, and it also coincided with us finishing our time in Malawi and our final visit to our supporters over those three weeks in November.”

John visited churches and fellowships on New Zealand’s South Island, and had the opportunity to meet supporters from as far afield as Christchurch and Invercargill.

“I was very pleased to meet so many people from so many churches and fellowships,” said John, “people who had been supporting Jim and Diane and, more recently, supporting the work of STUM. We had services and fellowship groups, prayer meetings and fish-and-chip suppers! Very different from Malawi but it was good to meet God’s people in a new place.”

But the visit had a definite purpose to it, as both Jim and John explained.

“For me, the purpose of the visit was to give the opportunity to our supporters to hear first-hand of the work,” said Jim.

“Also, with us finishing in Malawi, it was showing that we are committed to the work continuing. The formation of STUM was for this very time that, when we had to leave Malawi, we could make sure things were set in place for the work to continue.”

John added: “The visit gave me the opportunity to speak about what STUM is and what we do. It also gave me the opportunity to talk about how we see the work of the mission going forward.

“The people we met and spoke to were very interested in the work and how we train Sunday School Teachers in Malawi. They were very supportive of the way we do the work we do in mobilising and teaching the teachers.”

Prayer support: John being prayed for with Jim and Diane at the service in Cromwell

Looking ahead, now that John is back in Malawi, the hope is that people who have supported Jim and Diane for many years will continue to support the work of STUM.

New friends, new experiences: John getting ready for a New Zealand Fish-’n’-Chip Supper!

Jim summed up the visit in this way: “It was a very positive and enjoyable visit. People responded well to John as he spoke with passion and did not hide the challenges that STUM faces as it moves ahead, especially needing prayers and financial support.

“Diane and I hope that, as a result, people will continue supporting the work both financially and prayerfully. We asked people if they would like to continue to receive updates on the work, and there was a positive response to that.”

John was equally enthusiastic: “Funding for STUM has always been a problem, so to have people saying they will support, or continue to support, our work was very encouraging. It has given us in STUM a boost to continue doing what we have been doing, knowing we have brothers and sisters in New Zealand who are supporting us and praying for us. I am confident that this will help us develop further in the future.”

New mode of transport?: John getting to grips with a ride-on lawn mower!