Malawi is a country that has been held in slavery by Satan for many generations. In one of the largest districts in northern Malawi, the prominent Ngoni Tribe of the Tumbuka people holds an alarming statistic: an alcoholism rate of 90% among the men along with a large percentage of the women. Most of the men have multiple wives as a sign of their masculinity. Mix in witchcraft along with their beer drinking and the outcome for families is severe.
Here’s the urgency with which I taught, and with which Frank Ngwata, a native Malawian and leader of our team, now carries on.
In each village, I asked, “Who is the head of your country? And what do you expect her to do for you?”
They men answered: “Joyce Banda. We want her to listen and provide for our needs: schools, roads, boreholes, maize mills, roofs for our houses, school fees, blankets, shoes, kitchen utensils, food. And the list goes on.”
Then I asked all the men who drank beer every day to raise their hands. That question went over like a bomb going off. Slowly and ashamedly, many hands went up (70-80%).
“How much do you spend each day drinking beer?” Amounts varied, but when I averaged it all out and multiplied to reveal the total for one man to drink beer for one week, for one month, for one year, the crowd rumbled with indignation. These figures astounded them and they shook their heads. They can’t multiply and they’d never stopped to think about it.
“How would you feel if your president spent all the money she gets on herself? She buys airplanes, cars, has parties, invites all her friends and they drink all night, every night. How would you feel about that?” I questioned sharply.
Unanimously they placed their fists on their chests and said, “Pain.” Then when I asked the women and children how they felt about their husbands and fathers spending all their money, they all responded, “Pain!”
Silence followed. The men were getting it.
“You can stay being a slave…yes, a slave! You are a slave to beer. Or you can be the man that God wants you to be. One who cares for his family, protects his family, provides for his family. A man who can be proud of his family, and say, “That’s my son. Doesn’t he look good? He’s going to secondary school.” Or “That is my wife. Doesn’t she look great?”
“The choice is yours,” I concluded.
After giving time for the men to think, I instructed those who chose to follow God‘s way to meet under a tree, because I wanted to teach them more on how they could now begin on this new road with God’s help.
And they came, more and more. In some villages we had only about 30 come and in the next as many as 150. We organized them into support groups, and walked them through how they can start their new life with Christ.
Frank follows up on these Life Groups. Many have stopped drinking and started to save their Kwatchas (money). In one village 150 men signed up to stop drinking, start saving and being the head of the family God’s way. They even set up a committee to start providing for the families.
It has to start here if there is going to be a change; it has to start with the men. And you know, it is happening! And I just praise God. Only He can transform the addicted, hopeless soul.
All of the teaching we do begins with the foundation of God’s Word. Since we began our partnership with The Gideons, we’ve given the Tumbuka people 32,000 Bibles. Not only do we teach from it, but the people now have copies of their own to read.
When we give out Bibles, we can almost start a war when we don’t have enough. We learned to use a system of handing out tickets at the beginning of the day so that we would have the exact amount of Bibles. Many were in disbelief that they could have their own copy.