Women are said to be passionate about many things around them and one Gloria Makunje is no exception. She is founder of Ministry of Hope, president for Timothy Leadership Training (TLT) and treasurer for National Cancer Association of Malawi, among many other responsibilities. JAMES CHIMPWEYA spent some time with her to learn more about how she reconciles her several responsibilities. Excerpts…
Who is Gloria Makunje?
I was born to Samuel and Martha Uzanda in Blantyre. I have been happily married to James Makunje for 26 years and God blessed us with two sons. I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years. But more importantly, I hold several religious portfolios. I congregate at Saint Paul’s Parish as a lay minister.
As president for the Malawi Chapter of the US-based Timothy Leadership Training (TLT), can you tell us more about this?
TLT is a programme presently implemented in more than 50 countries around the world. For more than 10 years it has enabled pastors, evangelists and lay leaders to grow in their faith, their ministry skills and thus become agents of significant spiritual, social and economic development. TLT also provides them with a tool to train others on many different levels; parents, Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, elders and deacons. TLT takes place within study groups in which trainees reflect and discuss the implication of the Bible for their leadership. Action planning and reporting enable trainees to practice what they learn during the week following each session. They pray and expect change in the power of the spirit.
Who are implementing the training in Malawi and what are the benefits of such training?
We have two churches; Church of the Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) and the Anglican Church in Malawi. These are the churches that engage in TLT experience. The benefits of being trained in TLT include growth in personal and communal faith, increased generosity in the use of talents and resources and greater financial stability through engagement in productive work.
What do the trainings cover?
There are three sessions, covering seven aspects of Christian ministry. The first tract covers manuals One and Two, which are about caring for God’s people; that is on how God expects leaders to care for those entrusted to them. Another aspect is Christian stewardship that teaches about giving and working biblically. The second tract is about Biblical teaching that leaders should teach what the Bible says so that people should be deep-rooted in faith and messages should be scripture-based, gospel-centered and relevant. We also have Christian education where trainers prepare Bible lessons that enable children, youth and adults to grow in faith. The third tract covers serving God in work and worship. It looks at how Sunday worship relates to everyday work; the importance of elements of Christian worship and, finally, God’s plan for sustainable development to see where the scriptures talk about sustainable development and violence in the family where we identify and overcome different forms of family violence.
Basically, who is a TLT trainer?
A TLT trainer is one who has completed the manuals of the first tract, including the four to six-month action plans and has received a Teacher’s Certificate. Trainers are encouraged to train others in these two areas. Then there is the Master Trainer’s Certificate, which is awarded to those who have completed the manuals of the second and third tracts, including the four to six-month action plans. Master Trainers are recognised as competent and engaged trainers of the full curriculum of seven manuals and any that are produced in the future. Master Trainers are invited to be part of the international TLT prayer and resources network. This network keeps them up-to-date on TLT developments around the world. To participate, master trainers make an annual action plan in September and report on it the following year.
You are also treasurer for the National Cancer Association of Malawi; tell us how you became a member of the association?
In 2012, my niece had been battling with cancer at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre and I was her guardian. I had great passion for the niece until she died. This experience made me decide to continue supporting other cancer patients. And it was during that time that the association recognised my role in the fight against the disease and support rendered to cancer patients, hence I was roped into their activities.
How do you manage your time, serving in different capacities?
As a house wife, director of my companies and president of TLT, I plan my assignments properly. A leader should be a good planner and I plan my time before the day of an event so that everything goes on well. n