THE STORY OF SEEDSOWERS
In 1993 a letter was received by Jennifer Ansell from a pastor in Malawi asking for bible tracts and bibles for his ministry. He explained that he was a poor pastor and had 6 Bible Churches to look after. After some prayer it was decided to accede to his request. Some time later another message was received from this pastor requesting a bicycle to help him travel around his parish. After prayer again, it was decided to provide him with a bicycle. A few months passed and another communication was received from this pastor declaring that the bicycle had been stolen and could more money be sent for a replacement. Jennifer’s husband Mike was a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and at a chapter meeting the situation was prayed about and it was decided for another man with Mike should go to Malawi to see the situation for themselves.
In 1994 the two men travelled to Malawi. There was very little money and the whole trip would have to put into the hands of God to provide for travel and accommodation once in Malawi. Prior to travelling two nights had been booked in a hotel in Blantyre, there were not enough funds for longer. On arrival in Blantyre the men were guided by the Holy Spirit to a specific taxi driver to take them to their hotel. During the journey the driver asked whether they were missionaries they told him the reason for their visit and of their need for accommodation. He enlightened them that he was a member of the Anglican Church and told them that the Cathedral had guest houses but doubted whether they would be available as there was a big Trans World Radio conference on at the Cathedral but he would enquiry on their behalf. The following morning the men had a telephone call from the taxi driver whose name is Charles Banda, that he had contacted the Cathedral and that there was a room available for them at a guest house for precisely the time of their visit. He then wen on to say that God had spoken to him and that he was to put his vehicle at their disposal and only charge them for the fuel and that he was to take a fortnight off from work and drive them to where they needed to go. This was God’s provision for them. Later, Charles told them that he only did his taxi work on certain days as his fulltime occupation was as a fireman at the airport and that particular day was not his usual day at the airport. The night before they arrived God had spoken to him to collect two white men the following day.
The next day the men set off to visit the pastor’s village and on meeting him they found the ‘stolen’ bicycle in his hut. Although that particular pastor was a fraud, what those members saw was the real poverty of the villages and their need for the basic requirements of life, physically, and their spiritual need to know Jesus and the Gospel. It was a visit of divine appointments, the Lord providing all the needs of the two for their stay. Our Lord showed that if the spiritual needs of these villagers was to be met then their physical needs would have to be met first. The one essential need in these villages was the requirement for clean fresh water. Many of the villages were suffering from cholera and other water-borne diseases. On enquiring the cost of a borehole for that particular village, Mitibali, from a borehole contractor, the pair were told that it would cost $6000. Obviously, this was a sum that was unobtainable for them. Charles then took them to see the Seventh Adventists and they informed them that they could provide them with a borehole for £1500, this of course was more obtainable. The Seventh Day Adventists encouraged the pair to buy a Vonderrig themselves, which cost £1200, and do more than one borehole.
On their return to the UK, the pair started to fundraise to purchase and equip a Landrover and trailer together with a Vonder Manual Drilling Rig to provide boreholes and Afridev pumps to six targeted villages together with a programme of instruction for the villagers to purchase spares and maintain them. It was at this time that Malawi Mission ( later to become Seedsowers Trust) was born.
In 1995 an airlift of 10 people from the UK flew out to Malawi to initiate the project, and the Landrover, trailer, and Drilling Rig were shipped. Despite many frustrations and disappointments, the project finally started in August 1995 and the first borehole completed in September 1995. The first Afidev pump was supplied by the charity Actionaid. Also, in September that year Malawi Freshwater Project was born and granted NGO status by the State President Bakali Muluzi.
During this time the charities activities came to the ears of the then British Overseas Development Agency who provided further drilling rigs and pumps and finally provided another Landrover to help the work. At one site in a rural village the drilling team were told there was no prospect of water being found at that location by the Blantyre Water Board. After praying about the situation, they found water within 10 metres. On hearing this the Water Board proffered further drilling rigs as they were so impressed with the results of the charity.
Malawi Freshwater Project was handed over to Malawians with Charles Banda at its head and by 2012 they had completed over 1000 boreholes and numerous sanitation projects culminating in a paper on the subject being presented to the UN in New York by the then Director, Charles Banda, the humble taxi driver. Sadly, Charles Banda died from cancer in 2012.
From the year 2000 the charity was informed that there was a great need for clean purpose built Traditional Birth Attendant clinics because of the high death rate of women giving birth in the rural villages. This programme was carried out with the help of Doctor Sam Bhima, a Malawi doctor, the British Safemotherhood programme and the Malawi Ministry of Health. Eleven such clinics were built. The programme was discontinued after a change of policy by the Malawian Government.
Chiwaya TBA Clinic-2005
Sani TBA Clinic-2006
Lozi TBA Clinic-2006
During the 30years that the charity has been working in Malawi, it has also been engaged in Orphan welfare, famine relief and evangelism of the Gospel.
'Agape' Orphan Home-2006
The charity is at present instructing villagers how to drill their own boreholes using the Percussion Drilling Technique and making and installing Seedsowers Micro Pumps. Education of young adults from the ‘Agape’ home is also being carried out and in 2017 a work with the Women’s Section of Blantyre Prison was also initiated. Latterly, an irrigation project in nine Mwanza was started.
Mwanza Irrigation Project-2016
Teaching the Percussion Drilling Technique-2017
Testing Micro Pump in newly drilled borehole-2018