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Latter-day Saints in Malawi on Africa’s east coast rebuild bridge after Tropical Storm Ana


Members of the Zingwangwa Branch in the Blantyre Malawi District spent Saturday, July 2, helping rebuild a bridge destroyed by a cyclone earlier this year.

Tropical Storm Ana affected several African nations along the south east coast of Africa in January, and the heavy rains and flooding continued to impact the area for several months. Hundreds of people died, more than 300 people were injured or remain missing, and more than 500,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Branch President Jonathan Nkhoma told the Church News that he was approached by community leaders in February about a bridge they wanted to construct when Tropical Storm Ana destroyed some of the roads. When the bridge was swept away, a big trench was left between the school and the rest of the community.

“As a branch council we decided that we should go and assist in this project by sacrificing our time and energy,” President Nkhoma wrote. ”The cyclone had a big impact on our members and some of their houses were demolished. We shared a little that we had and some financially they are still struggling.”

The branch council worked to purchase cement, sand and other building material, and on July 2, branch members turned out in full force to rebuild the bridge. Primary children, youth, young single adults, the elders quorum and missionaries all worked together. 

Primary children in the Zingwangwa Branch in Blantyre, Malawi, help bring materials to the site of a new bridge as part of a branch service project on July 2, 2022.

Primary children in the Zingwangwa Branch in Blantyre, Malawi, help bring materials to the site of a new bridge as part of a branch service project on July 2, 2022.

Credit: Elder Prince Sibanda

Elder Prince Sibanda, a missionary in the Zambia Lusaka Mission who is serving in Blantyre, Malawi, said, “The community expressed gratitude and also came and joined in building the bridge. You could feel the love they have for the Church and all its dealings with the community.”

He said it has also helped with missionary work as Church members and missionaries not only built a bridge, but also built relationships and trust with the members of the community.

“Others were asking more about the Church,” Elder Sibanda said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also helped in other ways after the flooding. For example, the Church provided a grant to WaterAid to help provide humanitarian relief to vulnerable families. Read more about that effort here.

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