From Cape Town to Blantyre, Malawi – By Mareke Nolo

Mareke Nolo is a past student of GWC. He now works as a BUILD trainer in Cape Town and Malawi.


  BUILD stands for ‘Biblical Understanding for In-service Leadership Development’, a programme that began in the Church of Uganda but is being used more widely. It delivers training to those who actually teach, care for and lead local congregations, using a biblically faithful curriculum that has been designed and developed in context.

 Training is delivered through more senior leaders who are empowered and equipped to act as local trainers and facilitators in their own local areas. In effect BUILD gives them tools to do a job they have already been called to do – to build up the leadership capacity of the multitude of local churches.

The cascading multiplication of training, coupled with the mobilisation of local resources and facilitators, dramatically increases  the reach and impact of the programme. College based training is critical for the health of the churches on the African continent, but in isolation those traditional forms cannot cope with the growing needs of the churches; one of BUILD’s aims is to enhance and multiply any college-based efforts.


From Cape Town South Africa to Blantyre Malawi  by Mareke Nolo

Whilst I was thinking that our focus as “BUILD Cape Town” is around Western Cape or rather Cape Town, on the 16 April 2014 I found myself and other BUILD participants on a road to “The warm Heart of Africa”, Malawi. We constantly hear from some of our BUILD participants about the pressing need to equip and train pastors in other parts of Africa. I must admit that I had underestimated the hunger that awaited us.

After 56hrs bus drive our host was kind enough to fetch us from the bus station in Blantyre and later allowed me to go through his old and latest news papers. I read about the poor economy, low GPD, the alarming unemployment rate, poverty, and lack of medical care, the growth of Islam, the upcoming elections and the presidential candidates. All this information was significant, as knowing the context of the participants helps one to apply the teaching within the context.

The very same day we arrived, six pastors came to visit us and they were curious to know when the training would start. A day later the BUILD workshop began, with pastors from different townships in and around Blantyre. Most pastors who attended the workshop never had bible training and do not have a grade 12 certificate to be enrolled at the Bible institution. Due to inaccessibility to good bible training, it is difficult for them to care, lead and serve their local congregations effectively.


They were so eager to learn and so grateful that we brought the training to them. We firstly taught them how to read the Bible then focused more on Module One of BUILD which covers 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, highlighting mainly what the gospel is, its importance, the need to pass it on and the need to be well equipped for this task.

They were challenged as the gospel we presented contradicted their own understanding of the gospel; they’re more into the so called “health and wealth gospel” they don’t address the problem of sin, the need to repent etc, most of their converts don’t become believers because they grasp what Christ has done rather what Christ can give them e.g. car, house, promotion, health etc. It is true that God does give material possessions but that is not the centre of our message.

I had a privilege of visiting some of their churches and heard them teach. Teaching them during the workshop made me realize that pastors do not always preach a false gospel intentionally. These pastors simple teach what they have been taught, they never had the privilege of going to a bible school or being part of a bible teaching church, this is the tragedy that churches are facing in Africa.


We were so touched when we visited Rivers of Life Church and noticed that only the pastor and the elders had Bibles and that made it hard for the congregation to distinguish what is true or false, since they didn’t have Bibles. We decided to get them 10 Chichewa Bibles.

Below is a picture of the Rivers of Life Church now (where we held BUILD meetings); a Muslim family have bought the plot and destroyed the building. At the moment the church members have been struggling to find another place.


I had an opportunity to lead a leadership seminar at (Champions in Christ Church) in Cholomone, I used the last unit of Module 1 of BUILD CURRICULUM, Henry (BUILD participant in Cape Town) was asked to lead a marriage course. We also had opportunities to preach. It is tough to do ministry in Malawi as many places don’t have roads for the cars to go through, so we had to walk 5-8 KM a day just to get to the church building, we spent the whole 3 weeks teaching and preaching in different churches around Blantyre. The bus from Malawi to Cape Town was long and exhausting but all in all it was a successful trip.


I realised afresh through this trip that it is so important to have teaching programs like BUILD and others that help these pastors to handle the Bible correctly.

BUILD Cape Town

  • The participants are growing in their understanding of the Bible and can confidently prepare the sermons without any assistant.
  • They have also been encouraging other pastors in the community to join the training as they see it helpful in learning the Bible and meeting other pastors who labor in the same community as them.
  • In March we had boat trip to Seal Island, it was their first boat ride and it was helpful in terms of building relationships.
  • One church has already started with BUILD program in Imizamo Yethu.
  • Since some of our members are from Malawi we have been praying for the work that has been started there and the partnership

5Thanks giving

  • We thank God for sustaining us and for constantly bringing new participants.
  • We thank him for the spiritual growth of our participants in Cape Town
  • For opening doors for BUILD Cape Town to train pastors in Malawi.
  • For all the people who have been supporting the work of BUILD both in South Africa and Malawi.
  • For Jem Hovil, Andy Davisson and others with BUILD Partners who are passionate about the gospel work in Africa.

Prayer request

  • We will be visiting Malawi in October to continue the work we have started there, please do pray for that.
  • Pray for Rivers of life Church as they seek to find a new place.
  • Continue to pray for BUILD in Cape Town and all the participants.
  • Pray for the new President of Malawi Peter Mutharika as he leads the country.
  • For the financial support of the work in South Africa and Malawi.

For any support please contact

Jem Hovil of BUILD Partners at in the UK.

If you are in South Africa please contact our Church treasurer from Muizenberg Community Church Chris Seipp at:

Mareka Nolo, San Raphael, Flat 10, Alexander road, Muizenberg 7945, South Africa, email: Cell: +27844860183