Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Widow Story

Staff member Fatmata Kargbo (1st photo to the right) spends her days with Somebody Cares working with widows and supervising income generating programs. Fatmata is a widow herself, which helps her to easily understand the feelings and struggles of the widows she ministers to. She is a lovely woman, a woman who loves to praise her God and who truly cares about the women she works with. Recently, Fatmata's obedience to the Lord instigated a great change in the life of one of the widows from Mtandire. Here is the story:

Nandiliza Chinganga (2nd photo to the right) is an elderly woman, a great grandmother and a widow. Several years ago, her husband passed away as a result of being poisoned, which was greatly traumatic for Nandiliza. In the years following, both of her two children also passed away from being sick with Tuberculosis, leaving her alone to fend for herself. She has a living grandson and great grandchildren, but they live in another village. This situation is quite difficult for an elderly woman in Malawi, having no family members around to take care of her and to provide income. Fortunately, Nandiliza has managed to earn a little income by molding bricks.

Nandiliza happens to live very close to the widows' meeting place in Mtandire, which caused Fatmata to notice her. Fatmata continued to develop a great interest for Nandiliza and decided to visit her, explaining "I try to force myself to befriend people who aren't normally included. I don't want to have fear, but want to encourage people to come to God and to come to the widows' group." As Fatmata continued spending time with Nandiliza, she learned about her story, her family hurts, and about her belief in ancestral worship. Nandiliza had believed in ancestral worship ever since she could remember- she regularly prayed to the ancestors about her problems and believed that the ancestors acted as a mediator between her and a higher force. However, even though Nandiliza believed in the power of ancestral worship, she shared that her soul was not at peace. As Fatmata learned about Nandiliza's life, she was given the opportunity to then share of God's love, how God loved her so much that He even sent His own son to die on a cross for her.

After receiving encouragement from Fatmata, Nandiliza finally decided to give the widows' group a try. And when she did, things began to change. The first time she attended, one of the widows was sharing about loving and supporting one another as God does for us. This greatly impacted her and she could not believe how different this group of women was! The widows spoke of reaching out to others and feeding those in need. She also noticed how the widows' lives had visibly improved- they were learning skills and were happy and at peace. They exhibited a peace that she did not have, and Nandiliza wanted whatever this was. She then prayed with Fatmata, who led her in accepting Jesus Christ as her Saviour!

Full of hope, Nandiliza decided to join the church nearest her, a church she had seen for years, but had never even set foot in. She has also continued attending the widows' group and is eager to learn more from the Bible. A few weeks after accepting Jesus as her Saviour, Nandiliza shared her progress and excitement with Fatmata, "Everyone at church and the widows group has welcomed me so warmly! They've made me feel like I am at home. I am no longer lonely because now I have God and a new family!"