A delegation of 28 members from Blantyre CCAP Synod left the country for Pittsburgh Pres¬bytery, US, on Wednesday as part of annual exchange visits that have char¬acterized the relationship between the two congregations since 1991.
Of the 28 members, seven are church ministers while 21 are mem¬bers.
Blantyre CCAP Synod General Secretary, Rev. Alex Benson Maulana, said the trip will cement relations be¬tween the Synod and foreign church¬es.
Maulana, who is leading the del¬egation, told The Sunday Times that there are more lessons resource-rich countries like the US can draw from resource-poor countries, citing spiri¬tual enrichment as one of the potential 'exports' from countries such as Ma¬lawi.
"We developed this partnership in order to learn from each other. We learn things from them, and they also learn from us. For example, our church is very strong when it comes to the is¬sue of youths' commitment to church activities while our friends seem to be experiencing challenges in this area," Maulana said.
Maulana's sentiments were col¬laborated by the Synod's Partnership Steering Committee chairperson, Fyner Bakali, who said past trips have helped strengthen the faith of mem¬bers of partner churches.
Bakali said Blantyre Synod has come to realize that, even though church members in the US have more resources than their Malawian coun¬terparts, they still have not wavered in their faith.
"That has been helpful to us be¬cause, in Malawi, people tend to think that the opportune time to commit oneself to God is when one is short on resources. So, one of the lessons we have learned is that our US coun¬terparts have everything but are also committed to the Christian cause," Bakali said.
Bakali said the trip serves as a continuation of celebrating the part¬nership, which started in 1991 and clocked 20 years in 2011, as well as a move aimed at strengthening church-to-church relations.
Blantyre CCAP Synod Moder¬ator, Rev. Mercy Chilapula, said it was encouraging to note that, while the early missionaries came from afar to introduce the Gospel in this part of Africa, "it is good that we can also take the Gospel to them, especially now that the Gospel seems to be dying there".
Deputy Moderator, Rev. An¬drew Kamponda, chipped in to say, apart from taking the Gospel to the US, the visit will also strengthen the spiritual minds of Blantyre Synod members, offer new insights on how to develop the capacity of local churches, and help the Synod gain finances and support.
Said Kamponda: "Al¬ready, the Synod has benefited in that our foreign partners have paid part of the money meant for air tickets. On our part, we are looking forward to inspiring them with our spiritual faith. As you may be aware, people in that part of the world seem to have lost direc¬tion, spiritually."