“Reach a man, and you have reached an individual.” Says Hope Umune, “Reach a mother, and you have reached an entire family.”
Hope is the wife of David Umune, the Missions Director of TETMI located in Nigeria. Proud parents to three children and working with many more as part of TETMI’s missions work, David and Hope visited us here in Canada this past week to share their experiences and all of the work that they are accomplishing. While visiting us at our main office, we were inspired by the words of Hope Umune as she shared with us incredible stories about the importance of mothers and the impact an annual women’s conference is having on the community.
While TETMI works throughout Southern Nigeria, Hope is specifically focused on reaching women and children. TETMI is responsible for organizing a successful women’s conference every year and there are many mothers who attend the conference. We asked Hope how important of a role a mother plays in the spiritual development of a child, “You cannot measure it!” Says a passionate Hope, “They are the spiritual temple of every home.”
This value is not lost upon TETMI. As an organization they are currently responsible for four schools, three of them primary and one high school. While David is responsible for overseeing the mission, Hope is able to focus on establishing a women’s ministry and VBS programming for children. Recently, TETMI established a conference for women to promote education on health and spirituality. “We started out as just 30 women worshiping and praising our Lord.” Says Hope, “But after a year of getting to know these women, I decided they needed to be provided with opportunities for education as well.”
Since that second year, the conference has refocused to share the gospel and to provide practical knowledge for all who attend. It was a much needed opportunity to promote health and wellbeing in the community. Before attending the conference, many women would attribute their sickness to the gods. They would decide not to get medical attention and many would die as curable diseases would be left untreated. Hope brought in a medical professional to share that their illnesses were not brought upon them by any god and to show them how to care for themselves and prevent future illnesses.
Another commonly held belief in Nigeria is that if you are not married to a man by the age of 12, you will become sick for the rest of your life. Young women were being forced into marriages, and in the cases of those who did not marry, forced into the sex trade for money. For many, this women’s conference was the first time that they had heard that it was okay not to marry at 12, that it would not cause illness and that they should not be forced into the sex trade.
Given that TETMI is responsible for so much however, they had to consider making the conference every two years instead of annually. “No Way!” said the women of the community, “you cannot do that.” TETMI’s women’s ministry has grown to affect the lives of so many that they now consider it indispensable. For an entire weekend they learn practical knowledge, taught skills to ensure that they have ways of providing an stream of money, and they worship. From the beginning of the conference until the end, they worship their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When it comes time to leave Hope says, “many will say to me, ‘Must it end today?”
To learn more about the work that TETMI is doing in Nigeria click here or watch the video below