In a very rare move by churches in Malawi, Msonkhamanja CCAP in the city of Lilongwe last Saturday gave a special Christmas and new year present to a young couple who are orphans by sponsoring their wedding which otherwise would not have taken place because the couple and those looking after them are impoverished.
The bride, Titani Naphiri and the bridegroom, Lester Chibwe both live in Phwetekere location, one of the biggest squatters in the capital city of Lilongwe, and can both be described as orphans although Chibwe’s parents are still alive but were divorced many years ago such that the mother brought him up as a single parent.
Steven Phiri, church elder from Phwetekere ward narrated the story of the couple: “Though Chibwe’s mother is alive she could not afford the wedding expenses as she has no reliable source of income even to sustain herself.
“Chibwe’s father left them when Lester was a baby and never had anything to do with them. Lester Chibwe and her mother survive on a small barber shop run by the son at Phwetekere.”
On the day of the wedding, it was said Lester Chibwe’s father was at home a few meters from the church where the wedding was taking place but couldn’t come to walk his son down the aisle to the altar because there has been no connection between the two.
“On the other hand Naphiri lost both parents and lives with her sister who is also finding it hard to feed herself.
“They had no hope of having a decent wedding reception, what they wanted was only to go to church on this day and be blessed by the church minister by laying his hands on them, thereafter they return to their squatter home and continue with their life as if nothing had happened,” revealed Elder Phiri.
It was the church session clerk who, through interaction with the couple when they came to register their marriage, discovered that they just wanted benediction from the church minister.
The clerk was touched when he heard their story and brought the issue to the attention of the church elders in the vestry.
“I told vestry the story of Titani and Lester and Vestry after discussing the matter, set up a wedding committee which has started working on wedding arrangements for the couple and this is an appeal to you all congregation to come and contribute whatever can help fulfill the plans,” the clerk told the church.
Resident Minister of Msonkhamanja CCAP, Dr Chatha Msangaambe, who is also Moderator of Nkhoma Synod of the CCAP, and has been minister for close to twenty years, acknowledged that in all his entire service as minister, he has never witnessed a church sponsor the whole wedding ceremony one hundred percent as Msonkhamanja has done.
A few months ago, Rev. Dr Msangaambe embarked on a campaign to entice all the Christians who had their marriages not blessed to come and get blessed.
He emphasized that many people fail to come to church to bless their weddings because they are afraid that they don’t have money for wedding receptions. They just elope and come back to church later for disciplining.
“I tell you that marriage blessing is not the expensive receptions you hold, the expensive cars you ride in or the plenty food and drink you enjoy. Marriage blessing is the benediction the couple receives when they are committed by the minister unto God, and that’s most important,” said Msangaambe.
At that point, he invited all those wanting their marriages blessed: Come dressed in any way, with or without wedding dress, with or without shoes, walking or driving from your homes, get your marriages blessed and go back home happily because all these other things are not mandatory but if you don’t get your marriage blessed, you live in perpetual sin (adultery).
Most people believe this teaching inspired many Christians both already married and new couples to come forward and receive blessing for their marriages even without the normal any pomp.
At their reception, held in church premises, people turned up in large numbers and braved the rains to witness this special occasion and presented the couple with many gifts including blankets, kitchen utensils. There was overwhelming wedding offerings (perekani-perekani).
The church also booked an expensive suite at the newly opened high class Simama hotel in town for the couple to spend their first matrimonial night, Simama hotel management upon hearing the amazing story of the couple gave a 50% discount on the room charge.
Additionally, the couple after a night at the hotel will not go to Phwetekere squatter because they have been offered a place to stay for some months in Falls as they settle down and decide whether to go back to Phwetekere squatter or find somewhere else to stay.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :