Namikango Mission

Our News Articles

Change is Underway!

Mar 1, 2013

As we plan for the future of the Mission work in Malawi, some changes are underway.
We are in the process of registering with the U.S. government as a non-profit organization, 501c3, and we have selected trusted brethren across the brotherhood to serve as board members. With the help of attorney Deborah Lawson, our filing with Texas has been approved and filing with the IRS is underway. We will be using a CPA to file the annual IRS reports.
We have discussed this move with many in the brotherhood and feel that this is the wise thing to do. The Elders of New Beginnings Church have graciously agreed for this to be done. We have appointed a Board of Directors comprised of eight strong leaders in the Church of Christ, who will have the oversight of the work.
Things we have considered: This change would position us favorably to solicit and receive contributions and grants from companies who would support a non-profit organization but would not be free to support a church work. After much time spent in prayer, we have made the decision to move forward with this.

Meet the Board members who have been selected and have agreed to serve:

Sidney Vaughn – Board President
B. Shelburne – Board Vice President
Mark Thiesen – Secretary of the Board

Members of the Board:
Frank Devine, David Langford, Robert Lee, Gene Shelburne, and Shawn Tyler.

We have adopted the following spiritual statement as a guide:
“Namikango Mission leaders, and those who have historically supported it, are committed to Biblical fundamentals. They are known for valuing Biblical Grace and Unity. They have believed in the Restoration sentiment, ‘In Faith Unity, in Opinions Liberty, and in All things Love.’ Our ultimate desire is to seek the truth found in God’s Word, to seek and save the lost, and to work together in peace and love. As members of the Board we will be guided by these principles.”
It is our desire that we will all be of the same mind and heart that has guided Namikango through the decades past, and that as directors we would be United, One in Christ.
The bulk of the work, oversight, producing bulletins, corresponding with the staff, etc. will be done much as it is

now, with Sidney Vaughn handling and B Shelburne advising and corresponding. Mark Thiesen will be making the Meeting Minutes reports that will go to the government.
In addition to the Board of Directors we would have two non-board members serving as officers: Lowell Ezzell will be serving as Treasurer and Robin Vaughn-Hughes will be serving as Secretary. They will handle day-to-day dealings; news, contributions, reports, etc . . .

Sidney Vaughn, President
Born in Roswell, NM in 1932. Married 61 years to Anita Mayes. They have four grown children, 8 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Sidney has served in the ministry in various capacities since graduating from Kerrville Bible Training Work in 1952 – including Pulpit Minister, Deacon, Elder, and now as Elder Emeritus. The Namikango Mission Work has been his passion for 39 years as he has served in a leadership capacity since 1974. He’s in wonder at the ways God moves in this work year after year. Sidney has made 8 trips to Malawi to see the work first-hand and is honored to have Anita, Karen, and Robin helping alongside him in this good work.

G.B. “B.” Shelburne, III, Vice President
Born in Abilene, TX, in 1936. Married 56 years to Helen Ruth Hayes. They have three grown children and 11 grandchildren. BA and MA in Bible from Abilene Christian University. Served U.S. churches 1956-1961. Missionary to Malawi, Africa, 1961-1980. President of South Houston Bible Institute (SHBI) 1980-2008. Dean and teacher at SHBI 2008-Present.

Mark Thiesen, Secretary of the Board
Mark has spent over half of his life in Malawi beginning his time there as the child of missionaries in northern Malawi. He trained for ministry at Harding University. He resolved that his life's purpose was to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the people of the world. He served as Missionary to Ukraine four years and in Malawi for 7½ years. He now lives in Buffalo, MO, working for the Department of Social Services, but still believes his main calling is to promote missions in Malawi and around the world.

Frank Devine, Member
Married to Jeannine for 33 years, they have three children (a married daughter, a married son, and a second son who is a junior in college) and two grandchildren. He serves as an Elder at Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, Texas. His business calls on distributors in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

David Langford, Member
Born in 1955. Married 29 years to Lisa Gomez. They have three children – two daughters and one son. He received his MA in Communication and Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Therapy from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He has served as minister with the Quaker Avenue Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, since 1988 and as an Elder there since 2001. David also serves as an Associate Editor for Christian Appeal and Gospel Tidings.


Robert Lee, Member
Born in San Bernardino, California, in 1952. Married to Jana, they have three grown daughters and one granddaughter. He is a graduate of Fresno State University and the Fresno Bible Preparatory. Robert has served as the Pulpit Minister for South Fulton Street Church of Christ in Denver, Colorado, for 36 years.


Gene Shelburne, Member
Born in 1939. Married 53 years to Nita. They have a daughter, two sons, and 13 grandchildren. He is in his forty-fourth year of ministry at the Anna Street Church of Christ in Amarillo, Texas. A widely published author, Gene is a past Chairman of the BSA Foundation and a Director of the Curtis and Ruby Humphries Charitable Trust. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University and WTAMU.


Shawn Tyler, Member
Married 34 years to Linda Watkins. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University. He served 31 years as a missionary to East Africa and helped establish a children's home and primary school in Kitale, Kenya, a Bible school in Mbale, Uganda, and initial work on LivingStone International University. Shawn returned to America in 2012. He now lives in Lubbock, Texas, and works part time in missions for Quaker Avenue Church of Christ and teaches at Lubbock Christian University.

Lowell Ezzell, Treasurer
Lowell served as a Deacon at Main St Church of Christ when he lived in South Houston and he has served well as the Treasurer for the Namikango Mission since 1974. Through the wonders of electronics, he has continued this work after moving to Utopia in the Texas hill country.


Robin Vaughn–Hughes, Secretary
Robin attended Main St Church of Christ since she was born. She handles a variety of work for the Mission including lay out, proofing, and publishing the monthly Mission Report. She keeps up with contributions, correspondence, and online transactions as Secretary for day-to-day activities.

“Oh, you of little faith!” . . .

…Jesus would probably say this to many of us who are church leaders today. It would certainly be a fitting rebuke for those of us who lead the Anna Street congregation in Amarillo. Seven or eight years ago when Mark Thiesen contacted us about becoming his sponsoring congregation, we were delighted by that possibility but dubious about our small church’s ability to meet such a challenge financially. Before Mark called us, our monthly commitment to Namikango had been $100. We Elders thought that was generous.
When we talked with our people about Mark’s request, we asked them to let us know how much extra they might be able to give each month toward the Thiesens’ support. When our people immediately offered an additional $600 monthly, we Elders were stunned and humbled. By the time the Thiesens left Malawi, our commitment had reached $1,700.
Let me briefly share the next chapter of this story. When Ben and Becca were able to secure their total support from family, friends, and congregations who know and love them, we at Anna Street decided to redirect our Namikango commitment to provide support for Bisani and Lillian. When we informed our people of this shift, we explained to them the monthly support for the Mphongolos in the Namikango budget.
With some timidity, we Elders asked our people how much extra they might offer to help us cover more of Bisani’s monthly check. We feared that we might be stretching our small flock too far already. Within two weeks our congregation agreed to raise our monthly commitment. God keeps on reminding us that his people are incredibly generous people.
I tell you this tale not to boast but to ask what might happen if you challenged the church you worship with to assume the support of a particular project at Namikango. What if you talked to your people about the possibility of underwriting the monthly support of the maternity clinic or possibly the annual Bible study program? I suspect that your leaders might be as surprised as we were at the response you would get from your people.—
Would you believe that during the time we have increased our giving to missions, the increase in our annual income has outrun the giving by a significant amount?
Gene Shelburne