We chat with Tionge Sitima from Malawi

I was first trained by a Walk Thru the Bible instructor in 2013 and have been teaching children in primary schools in the Salima district since 2014. I teach on a weekly basis – otLIVE to the Standard 5’s and ntLIVE to the Standard 6’s (these being Walk Thru the Bible’s overview events of the Old and New Testament).

You’ve already invested 10 years of your life in teaching children in your country the Bible using otLIVE and ntLIVE. Why do you keep doing this?

When I teach, I see the children learning the Gospel, and then I also get to see their changed behaviour. Sometimes, when I walk in the streets, I meet some of the children and their parents. And the kids say: ‘‘Mum, this is the teacher who comes to my school to teach the Bible.” Mostly then, the parents thank me and say: “You know I see a change in my child and even in their behaviour. Thank you for going to their school to teach.” This gives me the strength to keep going.

But I can’t do this in my own strength. This is not easy, and I need prayer. I often work in areas that are dominated by another religion. It is a grace to be allowed to work in these areas and see how even children from other religions enjoy these lessons. After going through the lessons, many are able to conclude that Jesus is the truth and the Living God.

“If you have a chance please come to our school”
In one of these areas, we approached the Head of one of the schools about teaching otLIVE and ntLIVE at his school. He replied, “To me, I have no problem, but I fear the community.” We explained that we don’t teach Religious Education but instead teach the Gospel clearly. And then we left him to consider his options. Some time lapsed. In the meantime, we went to a neighbouring school where the Headteacher received our program and allowed us to teach. What happened was that the kids from the first school heard about the lessons at their neighbouring school and started challenging their HeadTeacher: “We hear from our friends what they are teaching at that school. Please let them also come here.” So the request came from the children themselves – and then it was the Head who contacted us, saying: “If you have a chance please come to our school.”

Sometimes, in our eyes, we want to give up. But I know that it is God Himself who fights for us.

The time I started teaching otLIVE, this is the same time that I dedicated my life to Christ. It was also around the time of the birth of my firstborn – a time I almost died. I saw God working with me very intensely during this time. I knew fully that it was a situation in which no one but God could save me. I prayed as never before, and He brought me through it.

I then decided to leave behind my career in business management and was exposed to the Walk Thru the Bible training on the Old Testament. I said to myself: “ Can I teach children in this way? Is this what I should be doing?” What made me decide to go ahead and start teaching otLIVE and ntLIVE in schools was that it would give me the chance to teach the Gospel, the Good News, in schools. I am not a pastor, but I realized that with this, God can use me with children. This is my time! So that is how I came to leave my business background and I love my job now.

There are challenges. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t quit to earn a larger salary elsewhere. But I tell them: ”No, this is my purpose. It is God who I serve. He knows my challenges and He will look after me.”

Tionge in action

I prepare carefully and do lesson plans. I want to be sure that the children have a meaningful lesson. I want it to be fun, and I want to be sure that they don’t easily forget what I teach. Now I will also be teaching differently because of the training I received at the Equip and Encourage Event in South Africa. I have also been encouraged to be with brothers and sisters who have the same heart to teach children. You know, when you do things for a long time, you get used to ‘the same old way’. But here, I have learnt new skills and methods. I pray that God will help me implement what I have learned here when I go back to Malawi.

Let’s join together in praying for Tionge – also that God will open doors for her and her family as she continues to teach the Bible in schools in Malawi.