Five years ago on 16th July, my father closed his eyes forever. It was about three years after my mum’s departure. There were so many lessons that my father taught me and I wish to share just a few:
1. PEOPLE MATTER MOST: For him, being at peace with everyone as far as it depended on him, was a priority. He believed there is nothing in life worth pursuing at the expense of human relationships. He also believed so much in education and human development. Together with my mother, as they celebrated 50yrs of marriage in 2003, they counted 53 other children they had raised in their home for at least a year or more. Half of them were not even their blood relations. One of them was even a Mozambican refugee who stayed with us for at least 3yrs.
2. GIVE, SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE: I grew up thinking my father had lots of money because of the way he freely shared whatever he had. Of course, I sometimes thought he just gave too much. One beautiful Christmas while the rest of the family was waiting for him to come from church to share in the special Christmas lunch, he brought with him church elders and deacons who enjoyed all our special lunch instead! It was not until 3pm when my sisters organized some therere, mkhwani and nsima for us.
3. BE DEVELOPMENT CONSCIOUS: I don’t know of a church he was assigned to where he did not initiate developmental projects. It was either renovating the church, the manse, the school, the clinic, the road, but there was always something he felt needed fixing and upgrading.
4. SPEAK THE TRUTH WITHOUT FEAR: He called a spade a spade without even mincing words. This got him in trouble a few times, but he believed the truth will always set you free.
5. EVERYTHING WORKS OUT FOR THE BETTE: One of his favourite verses was Romans 8:28. He believed no matter the circumstances, everything works out for good to those who love the Lord. I remember him stressing this verse when a few of his fellow pastors came up with false accusations against him and got him “fired” from the then Christian Council of Malawi. He took it with grace. He believed in every cloud there is a silver lining that we must focus on. No matter how dark the situation, there is always something worth learning and getting.
6. THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT: He did not have degrees but strongly believed in education. He came from a humble background. His elder brother who paid fees for him got arrested on political grounds in the 1960s. But God opened up the world to him and took care of him. He gave him the grace and opportunity to travel and learn from different countries. He probably visited more than 30 countries, Australia, Germany, Canada, England, Israel, you name it.
7. TALK ABOUT DEATH: When my mother died in 2006, after the burial, he gathered all of us his children and spouses and encouraged us to freely talk with each other about death. He told us that he and our mother used to discuss about their impending deaths and how each one of them would handle it if the other partner died first. (He even told us to book the grave next to our mother in advance). Both of them seemed very ready and at peace with death when their time came. They had made prior reservations for another place called Heaven. They never lived just for earthly gains. They both believed after earth, comes Heaven or Hell. They both chose to reserve their places in Heaven.