I met Matheko (pronounced Mateko) when she arrived on the Bible School campus at the beginning of the new school year in January 2016. There weren’t many new students so it wasn’t hard to recognize a new student like Matheko. I will never forget when I met her. As the bookkeeper at school, I am the third stop in the registration process and collect school fees (tuition) from students. I vividly remember Matheko walking up to my desk with a look of terror, fear, or maybe nervousness, I wasn’t sure which. I immediately tried to put her at ease by welcoming her and introducing myself. I remember having to stand in line at my own college registration afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay my school fees. I would come to learn the rest of Matheko’s story and discover the reason for her nervousness: she had just taken a leap of faith.
Matheko is truly a nontraditional African student. She is a woman, in her thirties, has two children, and she is a princess. Not only was her father a pastor but he was also a king in his region in South Africa. Before arriving on campus that morning, she stopped at her place of employment to give them notice that she was going to school. When I asked Matheko what brought her to Bible School her response was immediate, “I heard God say, ‘Go, I will be with you!’ Our church had just finished a 21 day fast. The pastor spoke on Sunday morning that it’s now or never, that it’s not about you, and that each person has a service for God.” God had been dealing with Matheko for 20 years and she’d finally come to a place in her life where she was willing to listen. And she responded immediately, quitting her job, & leaving her kids at home.
As a victim of molestation and rape Matheko has a passion to teach and serve women and children and to give them a voice. The black South African culture is male dominant, and many (many!) women and children feel trapped in abuse not only from husbands and fathers but from any male who feels entitled to sexual favors. It is a dark, hidden problem! And the church has been silent! Matheko said, “I will not be silent! I want to give them hope. I want to be their mouth. I want to bring about change. I know it’s not just for me. Even if it’s for one person, I’m doing it!” So with that heart, she arrived at Bible School ready to be trained for the ministry and be a voice for the voiceless.