“Missions is one way we serve Him,” Tewana said. “We can serve Him wherever He would choose to send us, to children, at home with your family…I would say seek His face so that you will know that you are doing what He wants."
Along the shores of sprawling Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest freshwater lake, lies Mpulungu, a small Zambian fishing port that also serves as the base for OM to the area. Tewana is the associate leader of the work there, serving in a role she would not have imagined for herself. While Tewana felt called to missions even as a new believer, the Lord’s leading has not looked like she pictured. Her story is one of obedience, as she continually laid aside her plans to follow the Lord.
Tewana grew up in the small Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago with her sister and parents. The family attended church, but Tewana shared: “It was more of a formality. I had no personal relationship with God.” When Tewana was 19, a close friend became a Jesus follower and began sharing the gospel with her. She said it was like nothing she heard before: “It seemed so far out there that we could actually know Him and have a relationship.”
Some months later, feeling nervous, she wrote her mom a letter sharing how she wanted to give her life to Christ and change churches. To her surprise, instead of discouraging her, her mom said she had always wanted to do the same but had been too fearful. Tewana began visiting a church that preached the gospel, shared about the need to be born again and modelled a Christ-centred life.
Tewana’s new relationship with Christ resulted in a vibrant prayer life, a new love for His Word, and a compulsion to share the gospel wherever she went, despite being naturally shy. She even began sharing the gospel on the minibuses that serve as public transportation. “I was terrified, and I would negotiate with the Lord and say: ‘If I see one red traffic light then I will share. If there’s no red traffic light, I’m not speaking.' The traffic light would turn red at every point,” she said laughing.
Surrendering to God’s plan
Tewana sensed God calling her outside of Trinidad and took the first steps by going on multiple short-term trips. In 2015, she went to India, Nepal and Myanmar and made a commitment to join missions long term: “That is where I surrendered to the Lord about missions. I said: ‘I’m not going to fight You anymore.’”
Tewana wanted to return to India, but God kept pointing her to the African continent. After a significant dream and an encounter where she learnt about Zambia, a friend shared a vision she had of Tewana serving in Africa near water and surrounded by children. She resisted at first, “I said: ‘What are you talking about? I am going to India!’”
Tewana also felt God leading her to do administration work; not exactly her passion: “I said: ‘Lord, are you going to take me all the way from Trinidad to Zambia to do administration?’” Around the same time, because she had connections to OM through her local church, she decided to look online at opportunities, specifically in Zambia. Listed on the website was an opening for a school administrator at Lake Tanganyika (Lake T). A conversation with a leader in the region opened the door, and after three months of fundraising, she had raised more than enough to move to Zambia.
Tewana admits there were challenges as she adjusted to the culture: “It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was different from what I expected. Every time I did short-term missions…it would be us preaching, it would be us praying, then we would leave and go home. But now this is life.”
Tewana stayed with her role as school administrator from 2016 to 2018, later being appointed as Support Services Leader, a position she initially refused: “I was like, no. That means more admin work!” Then in 2020, Donald, the leader of the ministry at Lake T, asked her to become the associate leader. “When I came, I didn’t think I would be here this long. I always thought, when the Lord says go, I’m leaving. [So] I said: ‘But I’m leaving,’ and Donald said: ‘You always say that, but I’m still asking,’” she shared, again with a laugh. After praying, she accepted the new role.
Joy following obedience
Ministries at Lake T include sharing the gospel in different villages, a school for orphans, medical and prison ministries and a ministry that empowers women through teaching life skills and the Word of God, to name a few. While Tewana oversees many of these, she also goes out with two young men on Fridays to the market to share the gospel. She admitted she still is not great with Bemba and Lungu, the local languages, but she said: “Once I hear you speaking English; I will share Christ with you.”
Another ministry at Lake T is Hope House. Girls from villages around the lake come and live with believers who help them with their education, teach them practical skills and share Christ’s love with them. Tewana currently hosts one young lady whom she refers to as her Zambian daughter: “I don’t have children of my own. I’m not married, but Zambia has taught me to be a mother…I don’t have to birth someone to love and care for them.” Tewana has learnt to be vulnerable with her Zambian daughter, a trait her own mother modelled, saying it opens the door for discussions and praying together: “He gives me wisdom as I seek Him for guidance with situations she faces.”
As a leader, Tewana loves walking with fellow missionaries under her leadership and watching them flourish and blossom in their roles. God also uniquely prepared her for one of the challenges of leadership through her master’s degree in mediation: “I use my mediation skills a lot. Even though we are missionaries…we are still people and there will always be conflict wherever there are people.”
A great joy for Tewana has been her mother and sister coming to Christ shortly after she left Trinidad. When asked if she thought following Christ’s call had any impact on that, she shared: “I think my obedience may have helped with that someway, somehow.”
For anyone considering missions, Tewana advices them to pray and seek godly wisdom. “Missions is one way we serve Him,” she said. “We can serve Him wherever He would choose to send us, to children, at home with your family…I would say seek His face so that you will know that you are doing what He wants.”
Interested in serving God in His global mission? Visit OM.org for more information.