Queen Basupi has recently moved to Nairobi with her family, where her husband, Tshepang, leads the Southern Region office. She talks about the different roles she’s played on the mission field.
Being a woman in mission has been an advantage for me, as many of the communities I have worked in perceive females as warm, loving and not necessarily as a threat. The disadvantage though, is that in some communities, a woman is seen to be physically, emotionally and spiritually weak, which makes her vulnerable and sometimes taken advantage of. Her word doesn’t carry much weight so women do not necessarily have a ‘voice’.
In a Jewish culture where a woman’s word did not carry the same weight as a man’s, Jesus came and saw women. He recognised them, taught them and healed them. Jesus respected women, they were part of his audience. They too believed in his ministry and appreciated him. They even gave financially to his ministry (Luke 8:1-3). What stands out tremendously for me is that it was women who Jesus first appeared to after his resurrection. They were entrusted with the greatest news. He has risen. Jesus is alive! (Mark 16:1-6)
I have had unique opportunities to share this message of Christ, especially with other women. When I lived in a community among a least-reached group in Malawi, women could talk and visit other women not related to them, but not men. I had access to women whom I would eventually share the stories of the Bible with. I could spend time with their children. This opened up opportunities to present the gospel in ordinary conversations.
I was in Malawi as a single woman when I realised the help of a partner could make a real difference. I felt the ministry I was doing was limited in terms of access to whole families. A couple of years later I got married to a fellow missionary who had the same passion for seeing the lost found, the sick healed and the sheep not yet part of our Father’s pen come to the knowledge of Christ. After marriage we worked together in Botswana training missionaries, hosting short term teams, pioneering and overseeing church planting and mobilising the church. This was a very busy but very fruitful ministry. We maximised each other’s strengths. He taught mission history and strategy, I taught mission awareness and mobilisation. Whenever we went to a church to talk about the mission of God, I would demonstrate the state of the harvest through a skit, he would challenge the church through scripture. I would draw up the programmes for the short termers, plan the meals and plan the days. He would organise the location and the logistics. We would conduct orientations together, highlighting the culture of the people group we were to reach out to. Through this teamwork, a new church was planted, many came to our outreach events and a few committed to full time mission work. His role has been mostly logistical and mine to mind the details. This was not without its challenges of course. My creative personality and his research orientated character sometimes would clash. But we know that we are better together.
Over the years I have had different roles in different seasons. In seasons like this where our children are young, travel and other commitments are limited. The most important thing is to understand the season, embrace it and enjoy it. There are wonderful things in each season. At the moment we are adjusting to a new location. I am working part time at the AIM Southern Region office, carefully choosing what to commit to and what to refrain from. I’m building friendships with the local ladies, one who has braided my hair and the other who sells fruit in our community. The opportunities may look different but in every season there is a life I can touch. The women who followed Jesus, followed until the end, that’s my encouragement. To follow in every season. To follow until the end.