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)!

DNA friends in India win $1,000 video contest to fight gendercide

This video, created by our friends at Art for Change in New Delhi, won the first-place $1,000 prize in a contest run by All Girls Allowed, an organization fighting ‘gendercide‘ in China and beyond.

“Best of all was seeing where all the short video reached!” says Stefan Eicher, director of Art for Change. “Two highlights were: hearing back from someone who survived birth in a family that wanted her a boy, and hearing about a government legislator in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh who was deeply moved by the video and plans to show it to the chief minister of the state and use it in their government programs.”

Art for Change is partnering with the Let Her Live campaign, a movement to restore the dignity and equality of women and girl children in India, and will use the prize money toward info packs, street theater performances, and college-campus screenings of the new documentary film “It’s A Girl.” The money also will pay for the production of a CD of songs previously written in a song-writing workshop on female foeticide (the killing of baby girls).

DNA’s relationship with Art for Change has been long and fruitful. “Darrow [co-founder of DNA] has been a mentor to me,” Stefan says, “and in many ways all that I am doing here with the arts has been birthed out of the vision and ideas he planted in us.”

Learn more about Art for Change and Let Her Live by clicking the live links above!

Teaching, encouraging and bringing God’s healing to believers in Chile

In June, Darrow spent two busy weeks in Chile building relationships with leaders at a local ministry called the Oikonomos Studies Center and engaging with about 350 university students, several pastors and about 500 women from congregations all over the nation.

At the Catholic University of Chile in the capital city of Santiago, he taught seminars titled “Facing the City: A Christian Perspective on Transformation” and “Mind, Exclusion and Poverty.” At the Alberto Hurtado University, he taught “The Christian’s Role in Contemporary Society” — all courses that speak to the local church’s role as God’s primary change-agent.

Angel Tapia (right), the executive director of the Oikonomos Studies Center in Santiago, arranged these sessions and said Darrow’s books are “a ‘wildfire’ in hundreds of young people eager to see the glory of God manifested on earth.”


Oikonomos is a group of Chilean university students and professionals who long to see a social and cultural transformation from a perspective of the Kingdom of God. Born in 2011, the group conducts conferences, seminars and the magazine “Oikonomos” in order to summon their generation to revive the church as a change-agent in modern Chilean society.

Darrow said spending time with these young people was the highlight of his trip. “The students represent the future of Chile,” he says. “To find a group of Chilean students who have a vision for transforming their country, that was pretty powerful.”

From there, Darrow hopped a plane to the city of Temuco, fulfilling an invitation from the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Over the course of several days and while enduring a nasty cold, he taught Alliance pastors from all over Chile and presented to groups of women their true value as God’s creations–the message from his book Nurturing the Nations.


Darrow proclaimed the truth that both men and women are made in the image of God; all have dignity and honor, and all are to be treated with respect.

For the women in this traditionally sexist Chilean culture, to hear these ideas–especially coming from a man–was earth-shaking. Many took home the Spanish version of Darrow’s Book: Opresion de la Mujer, Pobreza y Desarrollo.


For most of these women, this was their first time hearing about God’s plan for male-female relationships and its corruption by the Fall. They learned about being co-heirs of God’s kingdom–not property of their husbands–and about the tender, maternal heart of God.

As Darrow reported, God’s work through these sessions brought up old wounds that now can begin to heal, “setting free” many women from from a great deal of pain.