Hey Flood Family!
Emma Kalizang’oma here, formerly known as Emma Holmquist, before marrying Yamikani Kalizang’oma, my fantastic husband and the pastor of Flood Church Blantyre. Yami and I have both been members of Flood Church since 2008 — I in San Diego, he in Lilongwe. We are challenged and privileged to now minister in the city of Blantyre, located in the southern part of Malawi, where Flood opened its doors in 2015.
Last year, our small congregation experienced a sudden radical growth, by adding new members and and especially in our children’s ministry. At one point, it seemed like we went from having a single 4-year-old to 10 active toddlers almost overnight! The growth is fantastic, but it also presented challenges.
When our Sunday space evicted us with barely a week’s notice, Thoko, the owner of a local café called Kwa Haraba, took us in.
She actually put plans to expand on hold to allow us to meet there. God has built amazing bridges in that place and we have been extraordinarily blessed by them. They have even been allowing us to turn their storefront into a temporary kids playground these last few months! However, we need somewhere intentional for those small humans and the room where we worship has become too packed by our expanding congregation.
Full of faith that God would provide for the flourishing church he is raising, we began praying for a new building in October of 2018.
We sought a space that we could use all week, longing for a home that would give us new ways to live out our vision: to awaken a city of hope. Months passed and we were rejected time and again, often for no other reason than “we don’t want a church here.” This was disheartening to say the least, especially as many of these landlords were Christians.
We write to you today with a celebration and a proclamation of faith in God’s unusual ways. This Sunday, April 7th, we will have our first worship service in our new home!
The space God has provided for us is amazing, a 4-story building located right in the heart of Blantyre. We will occupy the bottom two floors, with worship in the front, kids church in the back, and offices upstairs. We are also grateful to Flood in San Diego for its financial support, which has played a critically important role in our search for a church home.
The most incredible part of the story?
After all those rejections, we’ve been welcomed into this building by owners who are Muslim and within the year, the top floor of the building will be home to a Mosque. God seems to be planting us in unusual spaces, pushing us to cross rigid borders of faith by creating physical proximity with our church. There is a current of energy and excitement in our team to see how God will use this completely unique intersection of worship spaces to transform lives and fan the flames of Christ’s living hope higher in this city.