The biggest problem that this blog faces is its author. As an old-ish, white guy, I’m fairly typical of a certain stereotype of Christianity, but not at all typical of the world church about which I write. Across the globe, the church is mainly young, predominantly female and certainly not white. Today’s blog post tries to redress the balance by way of an interview with Diana Nkhoma, a young Christian leader from Malawi.
Hi Diana, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Diana Nkhoma, I am a 23-year-old Malawian female, I am a Christian perhaps that is the most important detail about me. I like to call myself an urban missionary because I am involved in full-time Youth Ministry here in Blantyre, Malawi. I am also a writer and blogger for my site iamnotagoddess which is a blog for the urban African Christian. I am passionate about Theology, Africa, Youth Culture in Africa, photography, Hip-Hop and Coffee.
I was born and raised in a small city in the Northern part of Malawi called Mzuzu, I was raised by my grandparents, a pretty simple and normal life. I moved to Blantyre to live with my mom at the age of 9, I have been living in Blantyre since then. I have a degree in Business Administration, during my second year of University, God saved me by his grace through two of my friends who shared the gospel with me. I have been walking with Christ since 2012, and its been a hard but amazing journey, I am so grateful to know the Lord. Towards the end of my time in University, I started to develop and passion for mission work and ministry, by the time I was graduating God made it clear that ministry was the path for me. I joined the organization (Young Life) I was volunteering with as a full-time staff person, and I have been with them since 2015. We focus on introducing Jesus Christ to teenagers and discipleship.
I am also studying Biblical Counseling, when I am not studying and writing assignments, you can find me reading a book on Theology and or African Christian over a strong black cup of Malawian coffee.
Could you tell us a little about the books and music that you enjoy?
My favourite book, so many but if I had to choose the most impactful one I would say “The Sovereignty of God” by A.W Pink. Website: I don’t read as many blogs as I used to, but maybe challies.com and Theology in Africa.
My favourite music Artists are Sho Baraka.
Your blog and twitter account go by the name of “Iamnotagoddess”. Could you explain this name to us and give us an idea of the sorts of things that you write about? Is there one particular blog post that you would encourage people to read to give them an idea of what you are all about?
The blog name and twitter handle are a play on my name “Diana”, I needed a nice creative name for my blog when I was first starting my blog in 2014, I asked my friend who is creative to help me come up with one. I fell in love the moment I heard it especially in light of Acts 19, where we hear about the Greek goddess Diana. I always think of our stories being similar, which is the story of what happens when the Gospel radically transforms the heart of someone (in this case me).
I initially started blogging to document my journey and progress in my walk with God, to share what I am learning. It has evolved into a personal blog and so much more because through sharing my story so many have been encouraged and relate to the things I write about. This made me switch it up to a platform where the urban African Christian can find the content they can relate to and is a true representation of what is going on in the African urban context.
The one blog I would point people to is definitely this one, just because it’s such a personal blog but also is such an important conversation happening right now among young African Christians (EA – please do read Diana’s post – if you are interested in the global future of the church, it may be the most significant thing you read all week.)
What would you like people in the UK to know about life in Malawi?
I would like for people to know that life in Malawi is dynamic, there is more to us than the poverty and stories that you might see online. There are dynamic voices, stories, perspectives and so much beauty in diversity, we don’t have one narrative.
What should British Christians know about the church in Malawi?
I would say that in the midst of all the things that are happening in the church in Malawi, we have some great people doing great work on the ground. Planting gospel-centred churches, training pastors, discipleship, evangelism, translations etc. These people may not get highlighted as much, but there is some encouraging groundwork happening here.
Have you any thoughts about how world mission should be carried out today? What is Malawi’s place in this?
I strongly believe in the equipment and training of indigenous people for gospel advancement should be the goal of missions. I think when people go into missions they should seek as much as possible to be involved and work alongside locals there who God is always using. I think Malawi’s place in all of this to not just be receivers of missionaries, but get to a place ourselves where we are sending out missionaries to other places, as well as giving those who are interested in coming to Malawi/Africa for mission work relevant and current material of the groundwork in Malawi. This can be in form of statistics, missionaries and church planters databases, booklets on Malawian culture, traditions and language etc.
It is always valuable to learn how other people see you. Could you tell us how you perceive the UK and UK church life?
Honestly, from what I have seen, most people in the UK seem to care very little about religion, it doesn’t seem like its an active part of life and society. I don’t often hear much about the church/Christians commenting on state/social issues, perhaps such stories are not often on my radar, which to me seems like Christians are not proactive in exercising their faith. I have however in recent times, come across a few people from the UK through the internet who are doing some great academic theological work in Malawi which is always interesting to see.
What is the most important bit of advice or encouragement that you could share with a European audience?
In the middle of all the craziness that is happening across the globe in the world and in the church, we have a solid truth that we can hold on to, and that is that Christ will preserve his church till the end.