Mama Ester: Planting Seeds of Love


In a small, African village, an elderly woman eagerly tells a Bible story to a group of young onlookers. It is a new morning in Zambia and preschool is beginning.

But this elderly school teacher has not always had smiling faces to look upon.

Her nation, Zambia, in southeast Africa, is set on a plateau with 70 percent of the population living in extreme poverty.


In Zambia, HIV/AIDS is rampant and the life expectancy is only about 40 years. Additionally, 30 percent of the population is illiterate, and many children grow up never having the opportunity to go to school.

As a resident of a rural Zambian village, life is difficult for this elderly lady known as Mama Ester. A disability causes her to use a crutch and she often has to sit in a wheelchair.

However, three years ago, hope came to Ester in the form of a missionary who befriended her. When she realized that Ester was one of the few people in the village who could read, the missionary encouraged Ester to begin a preschool for the young children of the village.

With nothing but a box of preschool material, Ester did not have much to work with, but she accepted the challenge and began teaching a group of young children.

Using an old truck tire as a school house, Mama Ester gathers the children every morning and begins by telling them a Bible story. Then, she divides the children into four groups where they can receive some teaching, read books, make crafts, or play with toys. At the end, each child gets to sit with Mama Ester on the tire and talk with her. Throughout the morning, each group rotates stations, and every child has the opportunity to learn, laugh, and be loved.

Picture 2

Preschool on a truck tire!

Picture 1
Bible story time in Mama Ester’s preschool.

Mama Ester’s work is thriving in her community, and the leaders are taking notice. The matriarch of the village, upon visiting Ester’s makeshift school, was shocked to find that these young scholars could read better than her grandchild who had been educated in a government school.

Today, Mama Ester’s ministry has grown, and she now is teaching many of the village cattle herders to read.  Before they head out to work each morning, many of  these farmers visit Ester to receive the education they never had before. Ester is also training new teachers who are reaching out to the surrounding villages with the love of Christ and the gift of education.

Ester’s ministry is not complicated, expensive, or extraordinary. But by using the resources she had — which happened to be her mind, an old truck tire, and a box of preschool material — Ester seized the opportunity and plated seeds of love in her community.

Picture 3

Ester enjoying the company of some of her bright young students.

The Disciple Nations Alliance seeks to raise up leaders just like Mama Ester. By teaching people how to reach out to their communities with the resources they have, the DNA seeks to bring God’s kingdom to the nations. Although Ester has never heard of the DNA, she is a living testimony of how the work of one faithful believer can bring transformation.

This story was shared by Johannes Aucamp, a DNA trainer who serves and trains African pastors, helping them develop into Christ-like servant leaders who bring transformation and glory to God in their communities. He works as part of Training of Pastors in Africa (TOPIA). E-mail him at, and follow TOPIA on Facebook and Twitter (@TopiaMinistries)!

A grand vision for Brazil, carried out by its youth

Human passion often is described in terms of fire or flames. “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” said the French WWI hero Ferdinand Foch.

If Carlos Calill Pires’ passion to see transformation in his country was a crackling campfire three years ago, today, it is a wildfire that cannot be contained. It leaps from person to person, like trees in a forest, electrifying communities and gaining momentum. The fuel that set it off was an encounter with DNA teachings in 2009.

“The DNA was an answer from God for our ministry,” says Carlos, a 27-year-old leader of the National Union of Christian Students (UNEC) in Brazil. “We realized that even our group had many Christian people without a biblical worldview. It means that we were working hard but with no great results, if we consider results as transformation of life.”

After hearing Darrow Miller speak at a conference in 2009, Carlos studied Discipling Nations, a book which continues to speak profoundly into the minds and hearts of God’s laborers worldwide. Then, he and some friends studied LifeWork, which examines how we glorify God with our daily tasks. “My life was so impacted that many concepts and ideas for UNEC were changed,” he says. “I realized that many efforts we had focused on were not effective.”

As a result, Carlos and his team contextualized the DNA teachings for their own UNEC community, requiring all UNEC leaders to be trained before beginning their work in society.

“I have a dream to see the church in Brazil discipling people to be agents of transformation in each area of Brazil,” Carlos says.

Taking it to the streets

“I can see churches nowadays worried to have a great number of people inside the temples,” says Carlos, “but they don’t worry to disciple those people in order to impact society.” To counter this, Carlos and his team equip other young people to use their professions to disciple their nation.

  • Teaching English >> While it is very expensive to study English in Brazil, knowing this language is a valuable asset. UNEC has built a partnership with a public school in the city of Belo Horizonte, selecting children from poor areas to receive top-quality education. “All the families selected to this project asked us why we do this,” says Carlos. “It is a great time to share love to the community!”
  • Discipling youth >> Through seminars and other trainings, youth learn how to practice biblical values in their homes and in civil society, choosing areas of the city to invest their gifts and start small projects.
  • Sports outreach >> 1,500 students at Christian schools learn about biblical worldview through two regional sports leagues.

Carlos’ group promotes sporting events to bring together students from various Brazilian Christian schools.

Taking it across the globe

The vision of Carlos and UNEC is so big that it busts through political borders. They are in the beginning stages of forming a Youth Leadership Exchange Program — a collaboration of Christian universities from several countries. Sharing ideas, debating global hot-button issues and critiquing each others’ work, these students of an ever-increasing global society will collaborate to become Christian leaders equipped for Kingdom work, whatever their professions may be.

Iron sharpening iron, the students will examine each others’ worldviews and form a solid web of next-generation leaders ready to transform their societies through the gospel.

Contact Carlos: E-mail

What Was Behind Door 4

Rev. Meshak Okumu is Project Manager for Samaritan Strategy Africa and serves on the faculty of Carlile College in Nairobi. After declining three invitations (in 2000, 2001, and 2002) to attend Vision Conferences, he finally took a group of pastors to a 2003 training session … only to find out it was a DNA Vision Conference!

As Meshack says, “I think it was a good mistake for me to get to this whole idea of the DNA program!”

That Vision Conference, facilitated by Dennis Tongoi, was just the beginning. In this video, Meshak relates his journey from dualism into wholism.

From the Street to the Campus

Gizachew Ayka serves as director of Win Souls for God Evangelical Ministries, an organization seeking “to bring the street children of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia out of their misery into a stable life with well-being.” Gizachew also leads Hope for Children, a relief and development organization serving among extremely poor children of Ethiopia.

Gizachew was first exposed to the DNA over ten years ago at a vision conference, facilitated by Bob Moffitt and Darrow Miller, in Addis Ababa. He was invited to the conference by his Sunday School teacher, Demelash Lemma. Today Demelash is Horn of Africa coordinator for Samaritan Strategy Africa.

In this brief video, Gizachew shares the story of a dynamic work that started with two young men at a vision conference and since has grown explosively and is serving needs in multiple countries.  Listen as Gizachew tells the amazing story of a street kid who was nurtured by the love of Christ to become a college professor.

An Unlikely Journey Toward Transformation

Steve Chia is a Consultant Civil Engineer in Jos, Nigeria, where he also works for Youth Leadership Development Forum (YLDF) and chairs the Biblical National Transformation Committee.

After serving in leadership in his local church for many years, Steve grew concerned about a trend in lives of the Christians around him.

“When I was growing up, Christians were pretty predictable … If they said something you could depend on them. … Not any more.”

During his search for answers, Steve found two DNA books: Against All Hope: Hope for Africa and Discipling Nations. He read both and started passing out copies to friends.

Although Steve was invited to several Vision Conferences, he was unable to attend any. He first met DNA co-founders Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt last March when he had the opportunity to attend a global forum in Pretoria.

In this video Steve shares his story about how the message of DNA changed his world, and what he is doing to spread that message in Nigeria.


A Vision for Burundi, Rwanda and Beyond

In 2001, Christopher Holimbere was a student in Bible College in Rwanda. He had the opportunity to attend a vision conference, and for the first time heard the DNA message as presented by Bob Moffit, Darrow Miller, and Chris Ampadu.

Today, Christopher pastors Good Shepherd Community Church, and is an associate staff member of Harvest Foundation in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

In this video, he  tells the story of his personal transformation and the beginnings of a Samaritan Strategy harvest in his part of Africa.

The Explosive Power of Listening

Shun Jinnai serves as co-leader of Friends With The Voiceless, a ministry bringing a message of hope to churches in Japan and around the world. Shun was introduced to DNA in 2005 when he heard Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt at a Vision Conference in Japan.

“I attended one session especially held for youth. Bob taught us about the Discipline of Love.”

The conference was held in Yokohama, hosted by Japan Food for the Hungry and Japan Cell Church Mission Network.

“Right after the conference, Bob mentored our Kikiya group for a year. His encouragement helped us continue the ministry.”

In this brief video, Shun tells the story of a remarkable movement that has spread all over Japan; a movement that started with the simple act of picking up garbage at a train station.

Transformation in the Shadow of Kilimanjaro

Paul Kibona lives in Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro where he works with Imara Ministry Foundation as a Seminar Coordinator.

Paul first heard the DNA teachings in 2007 when Darrow Miller spoke at a YWAM Leadership Training School in South Africa. Later, he attended a Vision Conference co-sponsored by the Imara Ministry Foundation and Samaritan Strategy Africa, which Dennis Tongoi facilitated.

In this video, Paul shares the story of what happened in his life and the church in Tanzania when he discovered the teaching of DNA.

Love Builds a Bridge

Rongin Ntirivamunda of Rwanda relates how two communities once separated during the rainy season became connected, and the surprising results for education, government relations, and church growth.

One Act of Love Changed 27 People

Nam is a community development practitioner in rural Southeast Asia, working with Food for the Hungry Int’l.  He has applied the DNA principles in the creation of an innovative rural church training program that God has used to dramatically transform several communities.  This program has become a model for others in the DNA network worldwide.

In this video, Nam shares a heartwarming story of the power of one simple act of love done in the name of Christ.