Internet upgrade strengthens Malawi Conference

Malawi planning session.
Church leaders and staff in Malawi discuss ways to strengthen communications during a July 2013 meeting convened
by United Methodist Communications.
Photo by Neelley Hicks, United Methodist Communications.

April 14, 2014

By John Nyadaufe*

BLANTYRE, Malawi (UMNS) — Work at The United Methodist Church’s Malawi Provisional Conference should become simpler following an upgrade in connectivity, enabling the staff to have Internet access throughout the campus.

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., funded the project. Inveneo implemented it alongside a Malawian Internet company, Ultinet, through United Methodist Communications. The aim was to provide fast Wi-Fi Internet coverage at the main conference office, the model nursery school, the health office, and Galilea Church and parsonage. Previously, people could only access the Internet at the main conference office.

The upgrade allows staff to use laptops, phones and tablets to connect. In addition, the Malawi United Methodist Church gained phones in all offices where Internet is available.

Hugo Ngwira, Church of the Resurrection projects officer, said the upgrade improves communications between Malawi Conference staff and partners from across the borders.

Nurse Karen Mkhata, speaks at the health clinic on the Malawi United Methodist campus about using mobile minutes to reach community health workers.

“There is also (a) spiritual network, since Malawi Church will join its partners in joint prayers using the Internet through the program called Oovooo, Skype and other video communication software, hence strengthening our faith and relationship,” Ngwira said.

He added that the office phones would help staff share information quickly and with free airtime.

Prayer through technology

The Wi-Fi server allows users to access shared file storage and backup facility with educational, health and theological materials. These resources will enhance training in the denomination’s four focus areas: health improvement, leadership development, church growth and poverty alleviation.

Ngwira thanked Church of the Resurrection and United Methodist Communications for their support to the church in Malawi. He said he looks forward to a successful partnership with the communications agency.

During the first joint prayers test on March 18, six Malawi United Methodist leaders joined the Rev. Patrick Friday and other leaders at Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood campus.

The Rev. Cayce Stapp, director of partnership between the Malawi United Methodist Church and Church of the Resurrection, traveled to Malawi to witness the event. Stapp said it was amazing that God could enable United Methodists to pray together through technology. He acknowledged Bob Marsh, director of Inveneo, who installed the equipment, and the rest of the group for their participation.

The plan is to connect all circuits of The United Methodist Church in Malawi using technology for easy access of program information and communication.

With its partner support, the Malawi United Methodist Church continues to serve people and spread the gospel through its programs in health, evangelism, women’s and agriculture ministries.

*Nyadaufe is Publications Team leader for The United Methodist Church in Malawi.

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