When Sarita Chitapa was appointed prayer and margins director for Every Home for Christ’s ministries across the continent of Africa in March 2020, the work set out before her was already significant — and that was before anyone knew what the challenge of a pandemic would hold.
“The Africa Prayer and Margins ministry of Every Home aims to identify disadvantaged people groups like the Samaritan woman at the well, whom Jesus identified,” Sarita explains. This means engaging women, children who are orphaned, people who have disabilities, and the elderly.
When the pandemic severely limited ministry activity, Sarita began gathering Every Home women from nations across Africa for online prayer meetings. Sarita adapted Every Home’s Change the World School of Prayer resources to connect with the women and equip them to develop their own ways of sharing the truth and love of Jesus. Over Zoom, WhatsApp, and similar platforms, this community of women listened to lessons, shared their reflections, and developed their own styles of teaching others.
As this community of women prayed together over the people of their nations, they began to see opportunities to reach people living at the margins of their communities. A simple Zoom prayer meeting grew into a network of Every Home women mobilized to reach marginalized people groups in their own communities — specifically, personally, and meaningfully.
Sarita started by encouraging the wives of Every Home Africa ministry directors to contact pastors from local churches with a request to identify single women in their congregations (especially widows or single mothers) who might be in need of groceries and who would want to engage in this prayer network. “Our aim was to reach women who are often isolated and deeply troubled,” Sarita says. They provided these vulnerable women with baskets of groceries and prayer resources.
“Some women have physical needs. Some require skill development in order to survive. So wherever possible, we aim to meet those needs. Then, we invite those women to be part of our network of prayer.”
- Sarita Chitapa
Sarita says her team truly went the extra mile as they began to connect with the churches and other women in their nations.
“Some women have physical needs,” Sarita says. “Some require skill development in order to survive. So wherever possible, we aim to meet those needs. Then, we invite those women to be part of our network of prayer.”
Just in the final months of 2020, Sarita’s team engaged 39 churches and connected with 137 women across the nations of Africa.
The Prayer and Margins ministry of Every Home Africa is creating a place to belong for people who are marginalized across Africa — a place of prayer. In this way, Sarita and the network of women in Africa are not only meeting felt needs, they are partnering with the spirit of Christ to nourish a sense of agency, possibility, and deep connection with the gospel story in the lives of the people they reach.
This ministry initiative, birthed in the pain and complexity of a pandemic, is only the beginning of a movement of belonging, connection, and prayer — a movement that is already bringing the love of Christ to people living at the margins across Africa.
While Sarita and her team ensure that women across Africa feel the love of Christ this Mother’s Day, Every Home teams across the globe are likewise turning their hearts toward the marginalized in their own communities. As we press on with the message of Jesus’ love, we refuse to leave anyone behind.