Rashid M’Balaka might have been the scariest person in his village in rural Malawi. He abused his wife, “Nora”. His father was an imam (Muslim teacher), and Rashid made a living digging up human bones and selling them for ancestors worship. Most people in his Yao village practiced folk Islam, blending tribal practices with Islam.
But then, Rashid met an evangelist names Joseph. Rashid was already discontent with his life, and the gospel message Joseph described addressed his internal restlessness. But he wasn’t ready to give up his old culture, faith and customs until he met Jesus himself.
Rashid and his wife, new creations in Christ.
Soon after Joseph shared the gospel with him, Rashid had a dream. The next morning, Rashid appeared at Joseph’s door with tears in his eyes. The man in his dream told him that what he had learned from Joseph was true. He told Joseph that the man looked so beautiful that he could not even look into his face. Rashid accepted Christ, and was baptized, and his life was transformed.
Religion: 71% Christian
Description: One of the poorest countries in the world.
Life for Christians: Though 71% of Malawi’s population are Christians, among the Yao people, only 1% are. Christians in these areas are heavily persecuted by their communities.
VOM Work: VOM supports front-line workers and supplies them with tools to share the gospel.
Rashid was eager to share the good news with his wife, but she didn’t believe him when he said he’d been changed. And when his wife’s family, with whom they lived according to Yao tradition, was furious.
Nora’s uncle threated to kick the new convert out of the home and to take his wife and children away from him. In Yao culture, the wife’s oldest male relative has ultimate authority in a home. Since Nora’s uncle owned the house, Rashid might suddenly lose his wife and children along with the support from his Muslim community.
Instead, Nora’s uncle when to Joseph’s house, intent on killing him for sharing the gospel with Rashid. Joseph calmly opened the door, and explained the gospel to the uncle. He also surrendered his life to Christ.
Home life remained difficult for Rashid. Nora’s other uncles were still angry, and constantly harassed Rashid. At one point, they tied him up and beat him in front of his wife.
After three years of observing her husband’s transformation, Nora gave her life to Christ. With some help from VOM, Joseph and Nora were able to build a simple home in the village and move out of her family’s house. No longer under the authority of Nora’s family, the family can worship freely in their own home. Joseph continues to help them grow in their faith.
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Posted: December 5, 2016