Stories: Katie Ngoma

Katie Ngoma

 

We first met this courageous lady as a group of us gathered around her bed in the post-surgical ward of a local Korean owned hospital. Hooked up to an IV that she monitored herself, she smiled wide at us while recounting the events that led up to her fifth (and thankfully, final) corrective surgery following the botched Caesarean section that brought her first and only child into the world.

From that day we have watched her miraculous recovery and fearless confidence in God. For those of you who will understand this reference, she is the “Trish Watson” of our church in Malawi. She is a “capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman” of the Proverbs 31 quality. She is a pensive problem-solver and planner, characteristics that are a bit rare culturally speaking for a Malawian. You will often hear her saying, “ah, but we can do it!”

She is married to a vigorous, enthusiastic man in our church named Brave, and they have a beautiful daughter named Yanko, who just turned a year old after Christmas. They are a faithful, godly family in our church and we are so grateful for them!

How You Can Pray for This Family:

Despite being well educated, which is not something every Malawian can boast, they struggle to find jobs they are amply qualified for since the job market here is poor. As a result, finances can be a challenge. However, you will often hear them speak faithfully, “I know my God is faithful” and “nothing is a problem.” Please keep them in your prayers as they endeavor to grow in seeking “first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33).

Stories: Jack Phiri

Jack Piri

Jack Phiri according to me.

Upon meeting him you get the sense that every wrinkle on Jack’s face tells a story. His life must have been an interesting one. How he ended up here, with us, is a mystery. Sometimes you don’t need to know every detail to know a person; their face says it all.

His eyes are always filled with compassion (I guess after having ten children in one of the poorest places on earth you might learn a thing or two about compassion). His clothes are mismatched, old and worn, but he brings such dignity to them that they might as well be right off the shelves of a the finest New York City department store. His English is incomprehensible, but it always makes me laugh (apparently when he speaks in his native tongue he can’t be understood either). We all have our quirks, but what really matters is our character. Jack is a man of great character.

This year he made the trip to Zambia for the Greater Grace Conference, ZamCon. He sat quietly, hands folded, and in his suit, for the entire 12 hours. In his own way he was excited, like kid on the way to Disney for the first time.

In these difficult third world places people don’t grow old, they never get the chance. Jack, at 65, somehow managed. He is the oldest full time Bible College student in Malawi. Bible College seems more of a beginning for him. I asked what he wanted to do after Bible College, and he said simply, “I’ll go wherever God takes me”.

He is another example of one our beautiful brothers in Christ here in Malawi.

Stories: Wyson Sinatra

Wyson Sinatra Portrait

 

Wyson Sinatra
“Owe no man anything.” I think this describes Wyson Sinatra very well. In a time when some Americans are dreaming of living off the grid, Wyson is living the dream.

He, his wife, and two children live in a tiny, two room house in dusty rural Area 24, Lilongwe, Malawi. His house doesn’t have power and water so with a little ingenuity and a lot of patience, he uses a small solar panel, along with a car battery and some other things that would remind you of scrap yard junk, to create enough electricity for a small light and a charging station for his radio and phone. Everyday he goes to a nearby well and pumps enough water for the day into a small, trash-can-looking bucket. “Done,” as he would say.

He is resourceful in other ways, too. As soon as the rainy season begins, he becomes a farmer, and he grows enough maize on his small plot of land to last the year. He also has a little garden for tomatoes, cucumbers, and some of the other small vegetables he and his family use in their modest daily meals. In addition to farming, he’s a landlord all year long, renting out part of his house for a little extra income. He is all set.

Wyson came to Greater Grace from the Catholic Church. If you talk to him, you will often find him shaking his head and marveling at the teaching he receives now. In the two years since Wyson met Pastor Chris and started coming to church, his life has been transformed and his confidence in salvation and knowing who he is in Christ is growing daily. He proudly rides his antique, American made, Hunter brand bicycle at least forty-five minutes one way to church twice a week and to Bible College three times a week. You just don’t do that unless something real is taking place in your life.

Wyson’s story is not about overcoming poverty but about the way he lives in spite of it. Poverty can hold us back, cripple our thought process, and make us one-dimensional thinkers. It can be a brick wall surrounding us, limiting our vision and understanding of God’s heart. But, for Wyson Sinatra the walls are coming down, and as they do, God’s love is there to meet him, giving him a new mind for life, a new heart for people, and a greater vision for where God could take him.