Anastazia Joseph’s story: Malawi Vulnerable Women Project

When Anastazia Joseph divorced her husband, she was left with four children to care for. She tried getting a job but no one would hire her. She was already 30 and had very few formal qualifications.

In desperation, she took up work as a prostitute. Anastazia Joseph

“I was doing it only so that I should have something by the end of the day to feed myself and my children,” she said.

After a year of this work, she found a job as a security guard and spent long hours watching the properties of various companies. It was lonely, thankless work and she was sometimes treated unfairly.

“The last company I worked at would take deductions from my salary for mistakes that I didn’t even realise I was doing,” Anastazia said.

She had to keep going to provide for her children because she had no other options.

Then on 17th October, 2017, something happened that changed her life forever.

“My church had a crusade in one of big stadiums in Lilongwe and the preacher shared about eternal life and about what one needs in order to attain this everlasting life,” she said

Though she was a faithful church member, Anastazia had never thought about her own need for eternal life.

“At the end of the crusade, the preacher asked if anyone wanted to commit their lives to Jesus so that He could be their Master, so I raised my hand.”

She followed the pastor’s prayer, confessing her sin and giving her life to Christ.

Not long after this, Anastazia switched companies and started guarding the property of a group called African Enterprise Malawi. After a few months of work the team leader, who had noticed the long hours she was doing, told her about a sewing school for women that African Enterprise ran every year.

“He said this when he saw how challenging the job I was doing, especially as a lady on my own. I didn’t hesitate!”

She ran to the project organiser to apply and was accepted in the 2018 class of women.

“For me to come to this vocational centre is by God’s love which I saw through the National Team Leader of African Enterprise Malawi,” she testified.

“I am being reached with the Gospel every day and have already learnt how to run a sewing machine and make straight lines!”

Things are looking up for Anastazia. Not only is she learning a new skill with which to make money and start a business, but God has also answered her prayers and she is engaged to be married.

Christ, her Master, is providing for her needs through the help of African Enterprise.

Refreshing Lusaka’s Leadership

Lusaka Leadership Initiative to Zambia has begun, and AE International Missions Director Emmanuel Kwizera has sent through news of the exciting launch of the mission.

Remember to follow AE Australia on Facebook and head to our website for the latest updates, photos, testimonies and more.

Saturday, 4 November

On 4 November, bright and early, the Lusaka Leadership Initiative was launched with a ‘Serve the city’ event. Church leaders and the AE Mission Team worked together to clean the most populated streets in Lusaka, including Cha Cha Cha Road and Freedom Way.

The reason behind beginning every AE mission with street cleaning, is to challenge community members to see that though AE mission volunteers are cleaning the streets, Jesus can clean their hearts. In Lusaka, street cleaning was specifically used to remind leaders to serve first their community, and that the Lusaka Leadership Initiative is about more than just events, but about an ongoing transformation of African cities.

Emmanuel explains,

It’s more than cleaning. We are working to transform African people to take up leadership responsibilities in their communities. You have to combine evangelism and prayer with caring for your community to show your faith is living and active.”

AE worked with Jesus Cares Ministry to mobilise churches to be part of this activity of cleaning the city.

One mission volunteer, Margaret Kantai shared her joy at seeing the mission begin in this way,

“It was amazing to see people giving their lives to Christ, and seeing churches get involved for the first time in cleaning the city!”

More cleaning will continue as the Mission continues this week.

Please continue praying for the other leadership meetings that will take place during the week, and the following prayer requests from AE Malawi Missions Director and Lusaka Leadership Mission Coordinator Abel Sauti-Phiri.

  1. Pray for the church in Zambia to catch the vision of reaching Leaders with the gospel
  2. Pray for The mission committee and leadership coordinators
  3. Pray for all the AE International speakers
  4. Pray for the heart of Leaders to be opened for the gospel
  5. Pray for the preservation and the commitment of the church in Zambia to continue
  6. Pray for the finances needed

Held in God’s hands

Esnart lost both her parents at 13 and was devastated. After they died, she would constantly reflect on how she’d been unruly and not loved them properly. Thankfully, Esnart was taken in by a family who looked after her physical needs, but more importantly, told her about Jesus. They prayed for her and, after some time, she seriously committed her life to the Lord!

God has held on to Esnart. Today, at 38, Esnart is a matron at the AE Malawi Women’s Tailoring Project in Lilopngwe. At this vocational training centre, which she learned tailoring skills as a younger woman, she now trains others. Here’s how it happened.

In 2004/05, Esnart was a student in the AE tailoring course, enrolled there by her foster family. Because of her spirit of commitment, her teaching strengths and her counselling abilities, she was asked to join the AE staff as a matron.

Today, her job includes stocking provisions for each course, cooking meals for students, organising schedules and caring for the spiritual welfare of the women throughout their tailoring training.

At the beginning of each course she encourages those who are not yet Christians to receive Christ as their Saviour. Esnart becomes their mentor, mother-figure and friend.

“I do this at the beginning, so that we all walk together in the Lord. We study the Bible, learning from Gods word for spiritual growth. When a woman has a problem I help her through counselling and praying with her. If the issue is too big for me, I consult our AE Missions Director at AE to assist further.”

She loves her work, but it is not without challenges. Whenever a student gets sick, Esnart is the one who takes care of her.

“Sometimes there are disobedient women. Often women come from vulnerable backgrounds and arrive with very little, so we share, even down to small things like a tablet of soap!”

Though all the women are Malawian, they come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and it is Esnart’s task to unite them to be one family. She says,

“What matters most, is to teach them to be strong, to persevere and to be united, despite their cultural differences.”

African Enterprise has taught Esnart many things.

“AE has sharpened me. I have learnt patience, and grown spiritually. I have become better equipped to care and serve using Jesus as a model. While I serve these women through catering, prayer and teaching of Gods word, my spiritual life has grown also. Praise the Lord for the wisdom and grace He has given me.”

*Image from Malawi project, not Esnart.

The Makings of a Modern Woman – Malawi

In her mid-thirties, Martha Njovulema was on her way to becoming a modern woman: she had tried her hand at teaching, baking, and small-business running, was a working mother keen to help her husband provided financially for their four children, and was on the look out for further training.

But she was not happy.

“After the death of my mother and father, I got into strange habits,” said Martha. “I was fond of fighting, lying and stealing, using these as ‘powers’ to get what I needed in life.”

Though she went to church, Martha admitted, “I was not in good relationship with God.”

But then Martha heard about African Enterprise Malawi’s vocational centre.

“I joined it with the aim of learning some skills to become more self- supportive and raise my standard of my living,” she said.

However, by the time she left, she gained something far more valuable: having heard the Gospel through the teaching and staff at African Enterprise, Martha, for the first time, truly received Christ as her Saviour.

Last month, July 2017, Martha was among 22 women who graduated from AE Malawi’s 2017 program – and she couldn’t stop smiling.

“I have learnt to mix with people of all different backgrounds at this course,” she said, “and I hope to be a reliable female tailor in my community.”

But her life had changed in far deeper ways, thanks to AE:

“I have heard the Good News of salvation,” said Martha, “and my life is saved through Jesus Christ, who I received to be Lord and Saviour of my life.”