Namikango Mission

Our News Articles

So much beauty...

Jul 10, 2014

By: B Shelburne

I was greeted in Malawi with bright, sunny days, not what I had expected in June on the edge of winter. The tropical beauty of the Mission grounds almost knocks you over when you walk out each day. Someone marveled that “Malawi can hold so much beauty and so much human need at the same time.” I was invited to speak on Sunday morning at the local Mission congregation. They are starting an extended series of Sunday studies giving an overview of the Bible. My job was to give a brief introduction to the Bible. The local custom is to have two different lessons, "preaching" and "teaching." This may have originated from churches in Great Britain. Ben did the preaching and my part was the teaching. There were a number of responses as usually happens in their services. Those being restored to the church are quite specific about their sins. The service lasted three hours.

It can be chilly, windy and gray in June but so far the weather has been mild and beautiful. I sleep under a mosquito net and take anti-malarial meds. I had malaria more than once while we lived here but by God's grace have been able to avoid it during my return visits.

The four-hour daily staff training sessions have gone wonderfully well. Ten key staffers were chosen to participate. Many of them are relatively young but have been here long enough to get established and take on responsibility. I believe they are all very committed to their roles and to serving the Lord. Working with them is enjoyable.

Though every Mission has its struggles, Namikango has been richly blessed. Now it is about to enter a new phase, hopefully more fruitful than any before. We need to replace some crumbling facilities, with a view to better outreach and better service. But before laying new physical foundations, we needed to revisit our Mission base and confirm the spiritual foundations which have guided the Mission and must continue to guide it.

One of the best things about returning to Malawi is reconnecting with old friends. I am sad that most of the church leaders we taught and worked with 1961-1980 are long since gone. I especially enjoyed seeing a long-time friend, John Katete, whom I first met in 1961. He was in one of the first groups of students to go through our new Bible school. John proved to be devout, wise and trustworthy and later became a key staff member at the Mission for many years. He retired just over 10 years ago but still has a keen interest in God's work at the Mission and was able to attend our first three sessions. I had a good visit with him. His son Symon is a pillar at the Mission today.

Another friend, Ann Thiesen, has been here a few days while doing studies with the women in several locations around the Mission. Ann is the widow of a well-known Malawi missionary - John Thiesen. Their son Mark served at Namikango for a number of years as well. Ann's relationship with the Malawian women is extraordinary and she loves being with them and they love her.