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)!

Seeing fruit in Chile: A student’s reflection on the Protestant Reformation

DNA co-founder Darrow Miller visited Chile in June 2012, establishing fruitful relationships with many young Christian leaders. Luis Aranguiz-Kahn, who helped coordinate Darrow’s teaching presentations, is a 21-year-old literature student at the Catholic University of Chile.

He writes essays for the student-led Oikonomos Study Center and yearns to see his nation reshaped by the Gospel. He has been profoundly impacted by DNA's teaching on biblical worldview.

Luis writes essays for the student-led Oikonomos Study Center at his school and yearns to see his nation reshaped by the gospel. He has been profoundly impacted by DNA’s teaching on biblical worldview.

Protestant Reform: More Than Theology

by Luis Aranguiz-Kahn

A musical event in La Moneda Palace (the federal capital building of Chile) on October 30, 2012, marked the celebration of the Protestant Reformation. The talk, however, was not about theology or philosophy, but music. In particular, the event highlighted the decisive influence of the Reformation on the musical culture of Germany. The evening featured the unlikely connection of Martin Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Luther was a theologian, but his thought influenced many other areas. Perhaps his most important cultural contribution was translating the Bible into German. He believed ordinary people had the right to know the Word of God without the intervention of a priest. His vision for the German Bible involved two aspects. First, Luther is widely recognized as one of the great shapers of German language, a profound contribution to his culture. Even the notorious twentieth-century Jewish philosopher, Franz Rosenzweig, calls Luther’s translation of the Bible a “sensational fact.” But a translated Bible that no one can read is useless, which leads to the second part of Luther’s literary legacy, i.e. his efforts to educate the German people. Thus did an Augustinian friar decisively influence the education, and the overall development, of his people.

But the scope of the reformation goes much further. His theological concepts influenced many of his contemporaries. For example, Luther’s idea that human beings should not be subjugated to a religious institution led others to affirm human freedom. As a result, an emphasis on obedience was replaced by a focus on perseverance. The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said about this: “The reformation is one of the roots of the idea of ​​human freedom and autonomy, as they are expressed in modern democracy.” Man, created in God’s image, was not to be subjugated to a highly regulated system or determinative Church. Rather, humans are created to be free in conscience and attitude. As such, they are equipped to live with uncertainty, which requires perseverance and ultimately overcoming life’s challenges through their labors.

The Reformation also brought a new governance model for society. Not surprisingly, the foundations of modern democracy are found there. The reformers had rejected the notion of ​​a pyramidal government which embodied all authority in one man (e.g. the pope). Rather,they built a congregational government in their Churches. The brothers would choose their authorities. This democratic Church government would extend to the civil arena as well.

Further observations would uncover other similar influences of the Protestant Reformation on the European worldview. But we must turn now to examine the relevance of the Reformation for today’s Churches.

Often, when the word “reform” is used in evangelical circles, we think of the need for constant reformation of the Church itself. We forget that the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation produced not only internal effects within the Church, but permeated society’s worldview and brought transformation to the whole culture.

Someone might ask: Does the Church need reform? The obvious answer is “yes.” As an institution of humans, the Church needs constant improving. However, a deeper question remains: What kind of reform does the Church seek? We have witnessed a range of reforms, from theological systems to the inclusion of electric guitars. But what impact have these “reforms” had on our society?

The Church has tried to adapt to the felt needs of modernity or postmodernity. She has sought to be more inclusive and dynamic. And maybe she has succeeded. But what cultural impacts have resulted? Sometimes the Church succumbs and adapts, rather than transforms. Is not the Church called to reforms that illuminate not only her own life but that of unbelievers as well?

At the same time, if we are to bring true reform, we must not be naive. We must consider the practical as well as the theological, etc. Luther’s German translation of the Bible would have no impact on illiterate peasants. Similarly, there is no point wishing for Church reform without a commensurate and careful consideration of the circumstances.  For example, the Church could not effectively influence communications in the 21st century without the proper management of Internet and television. Historical consciousness is required.

True reform, i.e. reform that Christians can appreciate, is that which not only transforms the Church, but the worldview of the society. Neither Rosenzweig (a philosopher) nor Fromm (a social psychoanalyst) were Christians. In fact, both were Jews. But both recognized that the Protestant Reformation was more than a change in a religion. Both acknowledged it as a transformation in history.

Will the Church reform Chile? May God, by grace alone, guide us to do so.


These are the classrooms where Luis studies at the Catholic University of Chile.


Luis (back row, tan jacket) and others from his church run a “pre-university” project to prepare high schoolers for their university entrance exams.

You can contact Luis at

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

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.

In the DR Congo, cleaning up streets opens the door for the gospel

From Brother Serge, serving the Lord in Kinshasa, the DR Congo’s capital and largest city

For some time, I have been concerned with the physical cleanliness of our community. The streets were lined with litter. Drains were clogged up so much that they became breeding grounds for malaria-spreading mosquitoes — these would claim many lives every day, especially among infants and children.

It was during a training by Harvest (a partner of DNA) that I was challenged to do something about this.

Every Saturday, I took steps to care for this environment where I live. Soon, many neighbors joined me….

Today, you will find a whole group of men, women and even children working together to improve their community. We call ourselves the Wholistic Discipleship Club for Community Transformation.

As a result, we have been invited by many churches to share about this ministry — God’s desire for us to be healthy not just spiritually, but also physically, stewarding our resources and serving each other together.

A Brazilian With a Mission

Ana Lucia Santos is a Brazilian woman with a mission. Her efforts were largely responsible for the recent successful conference, Transforme, at which Darrow Miller was a keynote speaker. Ana agreed to tell us a little bit about herself.

1. Please tell us a little about your background and story.

I grew up in the north part of Brazil. My father is a church planter and pioneering was part of our family life. He served in very unusual places, especially among the underprivileged and those in conflict with the law.

When I was nine years old, I received a specific call to be a missionary. At 17 I tried different venues, including attending 18 months of civil engineering school, starting a business and traveling. But God had in mind something bigger than myself, beyond my dreams.

At 20 I joined Youth With A Mission (YWAM). After attending the Discipleship Training School in Belem, in northern Brazil, I served with Mercy Ships for two years and then joined the YWAM base in Tyler, Texas. After completing two training schools (Evangelism and Frontier Mission), I decided to attend Foundations in Community Development training. This school was directed by Christine Colby, and Vishal Mangalwadi, Bob Moffit and Darrow Miller came together to teach at the same time.

By now I understood that missions was more than just saving souls. My heart for the underprivileged was growing stronger. I knew I had been called to see the invisible ones. But I also knew that feeding and clothing them wouldn’t change their lives. I might feel better, but God was directing me to see that even after teaching people how to fish if they couldn’t get into water to catch the fish, the whole lesson would be no more than a busy time of fellowship for everyone involved.

A new believer from a Muslim background once asked me, “What is the Christian way to be just?” As a Muslim he had trusted the Koran to teach him, but as a new Christian he didn’t have answers. For a few days I struggled with this question. I knew Christians had good motives, but we separate the “secular” and the “sacred” and end up using humanistic values and ideas.

I came to see that as agents of transformation we should be influencing decisions at all levels. We must make known God’s truth as the solution for the chaotic and corrupted systems ruling so many nations.

I began to ask God for His favor to get into the offices of policy makers and legislators in governments. Even Christians involved in government are often influenced by a Greek dichotomy and fail to operate from a biblical worldview in the area of justice. Instead of biblical concepts they use humanistic ideas in their life work.

It became my food to see God’s “Kingdom come and His will be done,” to see His Justice and Mercy applied. This is what I want to do until I die.

My desire is to influence decision makers as well those directly affected by those decisions. This why I am choosing this path of justice and mercy. In particular, I want to be directly involved in the rescue and restoration of children and women in high risk situations.

Another personal goal is to continue to help others connect their vocation with the Kingdom of God.

2. What has been your history with the DNA?

I believe my history with DNA started even before DNA started! In 1994 I met Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt in Tyler, Texas. It was a divine appointment in my life; crazy, but good! Darrow and Bob were trying to see how the messages about worldview, the Kingdom of God, and transforming communities could come together. We were meeting in a classroom but I felt like I was inside a lab. My brain was exploding(!) but my heart was completely happy to know that God was giving me a tool that I must not let go of. I embraced both of these brothers with my heart and since that time we have worked together as much as possible. Whenever I work with them, I grow very much and I am able to take others with me.The DNA message was simple and challenging at the same time. When Darrow and Bob came to northern Brazil to hold a vision conference, more than 700 leaders and pastors attended.

Ana with family members

I joined a Brazilian development organization on their earlier days, CADI, a ministry that was just beginning in the south of Brazil based on DNA teaching. CADI has had strong success with concrete results in education, healthcare, business, and other areas.

Another turning point came after I started relief work at a women’s prison in Northern Africa in 1998. The prison management accepted our proposal and decided to train female guards to replace the male guard who often abused the prisoners. The trainer for the first week was Darrow Miller.

Many of the trainees in Darrow’s workshop were Muslims from the Ministry of Justice department. He lectured on the dignity of the human life, focusing especially on women. He was not allowed to use the Bible, yet was teaching Muslims the truth. I saw firsthand the changes in these women; they no longer treated the prisoners as inferior.

I came to see that we needed to redeem the church’s view of vocation. We needed to reach each individual so they could connect their vocation with the Kingdom of God as their specific calling. In my mind this was revolutionary; this could change the way we have been doing and perceiving missions. I loved it!

3. How has the DNA message impacted your life?

By understanding that “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’” The most impacting message is to see how Darrow doesn’t just teach it, but he lives it. Because of Darrow’s and Bob’s simplicity, even I am able to grasp how knowledge and revelation can come together.

4. What can you tell us about your DNA-type ministries or activities?

For the past four years I have been working with young people from my church. I see it as a golden opportunity, as most of them have graduated, and have been in some type of training (such as a YWAM Discipleship Training School) and they are so open to learn. We started by having field projects combined with our Mentorship Training School. Because people are different, we decided to include in their studies, the spheres of influence in the context of living here.

The experience has been amazing as I can see today how our students and church people talk about worldview, life work, and politics with a different view, having good consequences. It is still a small percentage, but my heart rejoices as I see that it is not just activities, but a small glimpse of what the Lord is doing around the world. I see today in some of our projects children not throwing garbage on the ground but starting to understand their role as God’s agents of transformation. At the same I see others in the field of politics doing and thinking differently because they see themselves now as monitors of laws, calling out the church into God’s mandate in this arena.

Transforme 2010 School Commissioning

5. What most encourages you about the recent Transforme conference?

The possibility to see more people engaged in the mandate of discipling the nations, leaving with a new paradigm and being inspired to connect their vocation with God’s Kingdom.

6. What do you hope to see different as a result of this conference?

I hope we come out with a mentorship network throughout Brazil, where individuals living in mega-cities or on the Amazon where there is little access to information, could exchange ideas and results as the message of Life Work is exposed.

International Youth Movement Launched from Seed Project

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.

Young Brazilian Launches Transformational Youth Ministry

Carlos (right) and colleagues with Darrow and Marilyn Miller

Carlos Said Pires has a dream. Since graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration in 2009, Carlos has thrown his energies into a new national effort—the National Union of Christian Students (NUCS). The vision of NUCS is Christians serving as opinion leaders in society, well grounded in Christian principles and prepared to lead the transformation of a nation. To achieve this goal, NUCS works with youth in four arenas: sports, arts, politics, social assistance.

Carlos believes it’s time for those who know the truth and believe the Bible to tell people that the problems of the world have one solution: Jesus Christ.

Sports is one natural venue for transforming society. NUCS leaders believe Christian students will respond to leadership training built around sports, and some early results confirm that hunch.

“Two months ago,” Carlos reflects, “we had our first championship soccer match of Christian schools here in Belo Horizonte. Almost 200 students in 20 teams played 45 games.”

Within four years of this first-ever national gathering of Christian athletes, Carlos expects to build a national training program to teach players what the Bible says about sports, equipping them to serve as influencers in every domain of the society. The next tournament is scheduled for September.

Carlos credits DNA’s influence in his life. When Darrow Miller taught in Sao Paulo two years ago, Carlos attended. Darrow’s material on the importance of worldview issues gripped him.

“DNA materials are the basis of our association,” Carlos notes. “[For] every training program … we are building our curriculum on DNA materials: Discipling Nations, LifeWork, The Seed in the Forest …” among others.

Another goal of NUCS is building a Christian perspective on politics and encouraging appropriate engagement in political activity.  This includes developing a curriculum including political studies, social realities and citizen involvement in serving the poor and other underserved communities.

NUCS team members

Carlos envisions every member “using their profession to develop the quality of life of the people. For example: a nutritionist helping the people use their own resources to make healthy food. Eventually our goal is to train 20,000 children, including those in poor regions here in Brazil.”

Funding for NUCS will include events, memberships and sponsors for all four fronts—Arts, Social Assistance, Sports and Politics.

Carlos represented Brazil at the 4-14 Window Global Summit in New York, September 2-5. This gathering was “to bring together some 500 Christian leaders from 100 nations who are called to mobilize the global body of Christ to reach, equip and empower the 4-14 Generation to transform their communities and nations.”

Youthful Vision Conference in the Philippines

Young conference attendees huddle to discuss a seed project

Twenty-two people participated in a Vision Conference in the northern Philippines, May 31- June 5. Pastors, youths, adults, and children attended, as reported by Kosh Raj Dahal.

Kosh and his wife serve among “orphans, widows and needy people [who] are vanishing without food and Christ.” They have seen God use Vision Conferences to open the eyes of “church members, leaders, [and] pastors to see their community as harvest field and they will be encouraged and equipped to serve them practically in order to bring them into Christ.”

The sessions were led by an engineering professor and an elder of an evangelical church at Baguio. The teachers also facilitated discussion by participants as they met in “Discipline of Love” (DOL) groups. These groups gave attendees opportunity to practice sharing the gospel. Kosh reports that the “participants are now confident to share gospel without any fear.”

The DOL concept builds on the Bible’s emphasis of demonstrating the gospel through loving service.

“Tomato juice comes out when you squeeze tomato; apple juice comes out when you squeeze an apple, which is good for energy and thrust; but ‘Love’ comes out when you squeeze the Bible, which provides everything … that a community needs. Therefore, in order to demonstrate Christ love in the community, committed DOL groups are the demands of the world.”

Children demonstrate worldview

Of particular interest to Kosh was seeing 8-10 year-old children participating “extensively the entire Vision Conference.” The children made a powerful impact in their worldview demonstration. “Instead of three adult participants, four children participants came in front to demonstrate the [worldview] eyeglasses. They performed better than adults did!” The creative way in which these kids engaged in a mock argument, each one claiming to see the world correctly through his or her set of glasses, effectively pictured the effects of a person’s worldview.

Vision conference "grads"

At the end of the conference, some of the participants used a skit to demonstrate that people have  different worldviews.

“They wanted to influence the society with their own worldviews,” wrote Kosh. “Some were politicians, some representatives of different beliefs. Some were bagging money for food and some youths were as drug addicts. They showed the corrupted community that needs to be served. At that time, one evangelist shares gospel to all of them, being humble and served to them. As a result, God transformed their lives through his service and evangelizing.”

Cynthia teaches on ministry to Muslims

Another important feature of this Vision Conference came from a woman named Cynthia who works among Muslim children in a high-risk area of Baguio. Her teaching about Islam was very helpful in equipping those participants who have Muslim friends but were unsure of how minister the gospel to them. “Now, the participants have known some of the ways to minister Muslim friends,” Kosh reflected.

Kosh hopes to see fruit from the conference, but in the meantime he’s not waiting around in the shade. His plans include a second-level training conference in September in Manchester for 20-30 adults and the same number of children.

He also plans to follow up a medical mission held in February that reached 3,000 people with the help of Korean doctors who joined local believers for the effort. In September, the same Korean medical team will return, this time to serve with even more local participation. “We are going to use 30-40 disciples from Manchester fellowship to accomplish the mission as well as some local churches.” Kosh hopes to reach 5,000 people, including 100 Muslims, with this ministry.

“Please pray that God will empower Korean team, team of disciples, Church team, IGSL team and other concerning persons, as well as for me as I lead the mission as mission coordinator.”