Under the mango tree

"One of the highlights for us is to see the men that have been discipled over the last seven years teaching their fellow Mwinikas from the Bible."

There’s an historical event taking place among the Mwinika people. It’s happening out in the open under the mango trees just about a mile from the home of Francois and Nadia Hattingh.

For seven years they have lived and worked in this area. They’ve built relationships with many but especially five men and their families.

These families know the truth of God’s Word and have been in training to be the teachers to their own people. They’ve helped develop and prepare material, editing and formatting, and now presenting it with clarity.

There are plenty of obstacles to trust God to get them over. One teacher is HIV-positive and another has a wife who’s very ill. The wind can be hard to travel and sit through. And if it rains under the nicely cleared area where the mango tree is it could interrupt the teaching.

The teachers are pressing on though with good skits and clear teaching.

A court case was acted out in order to show the need to hear the entire story before really understanding the situation. This communicated that those hearing need to hear the whole message and the importance of coming every day for the lessons.

Different translations of the Bible were read out loud, none of which were understood. This illustrated the importance of hearing the Word of God in their own language.

Francois and Nadia share how, “One of the highlights for us is to see the men that have been discipled over the last seven years teaching their fellow Mwinikas from the Bible. … Summarizing and making sure that everything in the developed lessons are covered. Amazing to see these guys communicating the truths from God’s Word in their own heart language right into the hearts of their hearers.”

The number in attendance is not only surprising, but the attendees themselves. Moses, attacked by a crocodile not long ago, is there. And a little boy who was dying of malnutrition is there and looking good.

“Today I looked at the people sitting around me on the ground under that huge mango tree, and I can hardly believe the time has finally come for us to be able to teach the Scriptures to our Mwinika friends and neighbours. To see all these loved faces of people with whom we have lived, cried and laughed for the last seven years here at the teaching, listening and understanding … a priceless privilege!” is how Nadia expresses the excitement she feels.

The Hattinghs are also thrilled with how God has used their children in this process. Heidi, Franco and Waldo have all come to the teaching with their friends. Sometimes it’s after a soccer game or picking mushrooms or pounding dried cassava root together.

Recently Franco prayed, “Lord, let our friends who are sitting around us at the teaching continue to come. Please let them come not just for the thrill of the moment, but because they want to listen and hear more.”

Waldo has been good to ride through the wind and sand, eyes watering, for 30 minutes on the four-wheeler with Mom to the teaching.

Francois and Nadia want to say, “Thank you to each one of you who have given, visited and supported us so that we can be here. Most of all thank you for praying. One day we will know and understand the significance and high calling of prayer. Not because of the power of prayer, but because of the power of the One to whom we pray!”