Namikango Mission

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They Begged to be Taught

Sep 11, 2012

By Ann Thiesen

The Elders in many village churches heard about the ladies studying with me and they started inviting me to many different locations. I had so many requests it was hard to keep up with them. I went both to nearby and to distant locations each week. I always took an interpreter with me as Mark did not feel it safe for me to go out alone. It was hard to find some of these places far out in the boonies.

I went to places such as Polombe, Myyaka, Chingale, Chilobwe (big cow), Kabula, Lomoni, Mulira, Kwazi, Kachere, Namathiya, Blantyre, Limbe, and Zomba. And that is just a few. Some of the roads were so rough that I feared that my pick up would not make it . . . but we always did. I ended up getting a driver who could do a better job driving on those trails than I could.

One time I went with Mark to an Island where no white woman had ever been. We rode a little boat and I was afraid that thing might turn over and it would be the end of me. You see I knew there were giant hippos in that lake with huge mouths and teeth. But, we made it and after we got out of the boat, we walked about two miles and had a wonderful study there, so it was really worth the effort.

I often marveled at how the ladies would meet me as I began to enter their village. The women from the churches would be singing, dancing, and clapping as they approached. They would put me in the middle of them and ushered me into the church building. What an experience this was! Their spirits were contagious and I clapped right along with them. This is their way of showing happiness. I had several different subjects to study such as “Christian Living,” “Purity of Life,” “Heaven,” “Jealousy,” “Hell,” and lots of different lessons on the “Family.”

They really loved classes about “Child Rearing.” I tried to cover things that applied to their situations. For example, jealousy exists everywhere and there is lots of jealously in Malawi, even among Christians, so I taught a lot on this. Lying is also a major problem and I gave many lessons on this.

Many of these classes were several hours long and I was completely bushed by the end of the day. I always tried to get back to the Mission before dark for safety's sake. My classes varied in size from as few as 8 students up to 401. Most classes were somewhere in the middle of those numbers. Namikango called all the ladies from all over the area to come and study and one time we had a total of 401 ladies to come, and this was for an entire week. It takes a lot of work taking care of this many people, but everything went well, and the ladies went home happy and hopefully edified.

I was also so blessed to be able to teach another class of ladies. These women had HIV/AIDS, many through no fault of their own. We taught them regularly at the Mission twice a month. It was so good to teach these ladies who had no hope whatsoever for improvement physically but still they seemed so happy. They sang spirited songs and clapped as is their custom. I tried to give them hope as best I could and told them we are all here to serve God and live for him no matter how bad our circumstances may be. They sure understood “Bad Circumstances.” They were such a lovely group of ladies. I miss them. They encouraged me as much as I did them.

The Namikango staff also asked me to teach the ladies that were there for their pre-natal care. We would have 50 to 100 ladies each week and they all paid very close attention to everything being said. These ladies were not from the church so I tried to share with them very basic Christianity and Godly principles. I usually had a few Muslim ladies in the class as well. What a blessing it is to teach people outside the church as well as those in the church. I think the teaching made a difference to some.

I know that the Christian men there want their women to be taught as well as the men, so they will have the same beliefs and understanding as they do. In the past very little has been expected of the ladies, spiritually. This is now changing and the men want their wives to have a deeper knowledge of the scriptures. This is possible if we help them. They are growing and some are even teaching classes themselves.

I am so happy that Ben and Becca are in Malawi to be of help to these dear people. Becca can have all the opportunity to teach that she wants. She will be such a good influence in their lives. The ladies there love for the American women to teach them. Of course Becca will have her young family to care for, but she will never lack for opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus and His love.

I believe there is no better place in this world to bring up children. My five children just loved it there and have said they would love to relive their childhoods in Malawi all over again. I pray God blesses the Hayes family as He did mine.

I guess I will always miss Malawi as part of my heart remains there and I do believe that almost anyone who ever serves there comes back feeling this way. I miss those ladies and someday hope to go back to do some more classes. God was so good to me to let me serve in this way.

May our God of love bless you abundantly!