Namikango Mission

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Ann Theisen’s Travel Report

Sep 3, 2014

Concluded from last month...

May 30th found me teaching at a village 50 miles from where John and I raised our family at Lubagha Village. I led a lovely class under the trees with many women sitting on mats. They gave me a chair to sit on and I was so glad - I did not know if I could get up off of that mat. I think sometimes those ladies have more endurance than I do. I also met several of the preachers at that village who had been supplied with bicycles they use for going out preaching. They travel to distant villages and it is such a good help to them to not have to walk. These bikes were supplied by churches in Mobile, AL and Buffalo, MO. This is also the village where Kemelton Harawa lives and is a chief. He was my husband John's secretary for some 25 years. He and my son Mark Thiesen made the arrangements of contacting preachers in the north to get these studies set up for me since they know all of them very well.

I had the privilege of meeting Dickson Gondwe an elderly preacher in his 80s that John had worked with for so many years and he set up a study for me in his village. May 31st was a bittersweet time for me since this good friend of John brought back many memories. It was an awesome day for me even if I was teary eyed part of the day. The class went well and at the end of it many took pictures and even hugged me - which they never did in the past; I can see their customs are changing. They seem to be more westernized now. They knew I have a favorite song in the Chitumbuka language and they sang it that day. It really made my day and touched my heart! What a wonderful time that was. I felt so at home.

I worshipped with the church at the town of Ekwendeni June the 1st and was asked to teach a ladies' class there in the afternoon which I did. Davis Ndhlove is the preacher there and he had called women from several different churches to come so we had a very good study there. I taught them on "Praising God." They always have lots of questions to ask after the class.

That same afternoon I wanted to go by and visit a worker that had worked for me for so many years. He washed our clothes by hand since we did not have a washing machine – we didn’t even have electricity. He and his family were happy we came by. That same evening I had many come to visit and to tell me goodbye since I had plans to drive 500 miles the next day to Namikango Mission where our missionaries, Ben and Becca Hayes, had set up several ladies groups to study with me.

The next day we told my dear friends goodbye and left at 6:00AM for the nine-hour trip to the south. We had a very good trip and arrived by 3:00PM at Namikango Mission and were met by Ben and Becca, as well as Ben's brother Ryan and his wife Justine. I had a very good visit with them that evening as well as with B Shelburne – who was there on a teaching trip. John and I knew Brother Shelburne as a missionary in Malawi when he was here. He and his wife Ruth were missionaries for some 20 years. Such wonderful memories.

The next day I taught at Chilobwe - a suburb of Blantyre. I had taught there several times before so this was another homecoming for me. I gave them a lesson on "Choices and Their Consequences" as well a "Bringing Up Children." They always want lessons on raising children. After the study, my driver took me back the 35 miles to the Mission for visiting with the missionaries...and for some rest.

My last day of teaching was at a place called Chilimba – another suburb of Blantyre. It was a wonderful climax to my two weeks of teaching with 85 excited, happy women in attendance. At the end of the day they served cold cokes to all of us which were so good. I was quite thirsty and I don't dare drink water unless it is bottled. They even took one out to my driver. They sang a spirited song as they marched up, hugged me, and told me they loved me. As I said earlier - this is unusual and I felt honored. They count me as one of them. This is a great thing to happen to a missionary.

June 6th I had to leave my wonderful, adopted homeland where I lived for so long and where John and I raised our family and even had our daughter Kimberly born there. I reached the beautiful USA on June 7th, my birthday. What a wonderful way to celebrate the day. Most of my children met me at the Springfield airport and came back to my house for supper they had brought and to catch up on all the stories of their beloved home in Malawi.

I want to mention I had ladies from a total of 17 congregations in the north who attended the classes. I give God the glory for the wonderful experiences I had teaching and trying to help.

It was also wonderful getting to know Ben and Becca better. I appreciate their labors there so much as well as their hospitality to me. They have two precious children, Braylon and Brooklyn, who I enjoyed getting to be with. I was also happy to meet Ryan and Justine and their beautiful new baby girl Amelie who was born there.

God willing, I hope to repeat this trip next year. I am very thankful to all who made this possible for me. I appreciate it more than words can say.

Ann Theisen