Namikango Mission

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Good Things Can Come...

Aug 6, 2014

by Ann Thiesen

I had a wonderful opportunity a few months back to travel with a group of nurses and doctors that were going over to work at Blessings Hospital in central Malawi. I was excited to go since I would not have to travel alone.

I started preparing and raising funds for my travel and that went unbelievably well. It seemed I was meant to go. I started making my list of what I needed to take. I had to pack enough clothes. I packed all of my lessons and my Bible in my hand luggage just in case my suitcases did not make it.

When one travels that far they are always a bit apprehensive that their luggage may not be on the plane. We all arrived at the Lilongwe airport, including our luggage - which was a huge blessing. Dr. Bruce Smith met us and drove us to the hospital which is about five minutes away. Dr. Smith with his lovely wife Beth have been good friends of mine for some time and they have worked in Malawi for years doctoring, teaching, and advising about the horrific disease of AIDS. It was wonderful being with them again and getting to know the surgeons and these hard-working nurses who were giving their time to help desperate people who needed medical attention. We have a wonderful hospital there that cares for many patients. There’s also an orphanage there for many of the children who lost their parents to AIDS.

On Sunday (the day after we arrived) I had the opportunity to teach a ladies' study at the local church. I felt like I was home once again. Standing before those ladies and trying to help them made me feel so happy; they are so kind and good. They love us to come to their country. (I feel like it is my land as well.) The next day I went to the orphanage which is down the hill from the hospital and gave a lesson on "Encouragement" to the House Moms to continue on. They only have House Moms take care of the orphans. They told me they are not allowed to be married as they want them to be totally committed to that work. Most all of these ladies were older.

I had made plans before I left the States that I would travel another two hundred miles up to the north where my late husband John and I had worked for many years. I made arrangements to use my former driver that I had had while living at Namikango and who now works for Ben and Becca Hayes, the missionaries. They were very willing to let him work with me for the time I was in Malawi. Ben was also able to rent me a car and sent it up with the driver the night of the 26th so we could get an early start the next day so I could settle in before I began my ladies' studies in the north. The vehicle looked very good and was a Toyota Corolla and is made for rough roads. All went well until we were within 50 miles of our destination. All of a sudden we lost all power and were stranded for 7 hours in the beautiful Chikangawa Mountains. I love the beauty of that place but to be sitting there for a long time is no fun. My driver had a cell phone and he called Brother and Sister Harawa - the people that I was going to be staying with and whom I’ve known since 1969. After many hours he showed up with a new fuel pump, air filter, (the rats had eaten it off of the car) and plugs. By this time it was dark and he could not get the car fixed. So two Elders, another man, and I traveled down a very dark trail to borrow a rope to tow the car for the next 50 miles through the mountains to Mzuzu where I would be staying. The rope kept breaking and Brother Harawa kept getting out of his car to retie the rope. By 9PM we finally made it all safe and sound.

Good things can come from difficult situations – I had plenty of time sitting along the road to review my lessons for the next day! Bro. Harawa loaned us his car to get to the studies and he finally got the car fixed after a couple days.
The whole Harawa family welcomed me with open arms. He and his wife and their children are an awesome family. They have prayers and songs in their home every evening with their children. They are such a good example to all around them.

The next day - May 28 - I began a two day Bible study with the ladies of the Muchenga Utuva Church of Christ (This means White Sand) I have taught here many times before with some of the most lovely ladies I have ever known. I taught them on how to have a better Christian family, and how to raise children, and about making good choices. They absolutely love to be taught. They tell me that they sometimes have problems with their children getting involved with drinking, smoking, etc. once they get grown – a common problem that many experience here as well. I taught them it would be good to monitor their children’s friends and to make sure to have regular Bible studies with them on a daily basis, as well as daily praying with them and for them.

to be continued . . .

In January 1969, John and Ann Thiesen began serving as missionaries in northern Malawi. They went with their four children (Mark was 6 months old), with the goal of planting churches there. They served for almost a quarter of a century. In 1991 John had a heart attack and they returned to the States. They traveled to Namikango together before John passed away in 2006. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, Ann made trips to Malawi to conduct ladies' studies, usually for several months of each year. She went to encourage and strengthen the women she loved so much. In 2011, she stayed in the guest house at Namikango Mission where her son Mark was serving as a missionary. She returned again this May for several weeks - conducting several ladies’ studies in the north and in the south. This godly lady has touched the lives of many hundreds of women of Malawi. She loves these women and that love is returned four-fold.

Sidney Vaughn