How we Met
KAPALA CHISUNKA, Lusaka
WHEN Zion Ouko Mutale relocated to Zambia from her home country Japan as a missionary, her main focus was on spreading the word in rural Chongwe.
However, she had not completely ruled out the hopes of finding love but only at Godâ€™s appointed time. In fact, she had made a list of about 70 qualities her future husband should possess. The qualities included the spiritual and physical aspects.
Opportunity presented itself in 2006 when during her missionary; she met Pastor Jasper Mutale who was also doing ministry work in Chongwe. Although they did not think much about their friendship, mutual friends could already tell that the two were destined to be together.
â€œWe bonded well because we were both passionate about our calling and we are both dedicated to spreading the word of God and helping those less fortunate than us. I liked that about him. In fact 98 percent of the qualities I needed in my future husband I found in him,â€ she said.
And when a close mutual friend of theirs prophesised that the two would end up together, they decided to â€œpray and fast to seek confirmation from God if that was indeed His plan.â€
During their two weeks of fasting and praying, Zion sought permission from her parents and her pastor in Japan and the fact that she did not face any opposition was confirmation enough that they should go ahead with the marriage.
Three months later, they got married. Most importantly for Zion and her husband is that her parents and older brother flew to Zambia to attend the wedding. The couple has been married for eight years and have three sons together aged six, four and one.
â€œIn the beginning there was the issue of language barrier because I was not fluent in English or any other Zambian local languages but I learnt. We also havenâ€™t experienced a lot of cultural shocks in our relationship because we have decided to live according to what the Bible dictates and not what our tradition or culture dictates,â€ she said.
Equally her husband did not face any opposition from his nuclear family, some members of his extended family were sceptical because they were of the view that she might be marrying him to get a citizenship.
Pastor Mutale explained that prior to meeting his wife; he had been having dreams that altered the direction of his life from Lusaka to rural Chongwe as a minister of the gospel.
â€œI had been having dreams before I left for rural Chongwe. First, it was about rescuing children and the second one was about a woman playing a violin. I had no idea what the second one was about but I knew the first one was about serving people less fortunate than myself,â€ he said.
In Chongwe, Pastor Mutale met Zion through their ministry work and prayer meetings. He said she approached him and asked to be trained in discipleship. It was from there that their friendship started.
â€œIt is easy to see why we get along very well because we have the same interests and passion. The issue about culture and tradition was not there because we are Christians and we chose to live by Biblical principles. Another confirmation for us was the fact that we had support from our parents and church,â€ he said.
He said it was also important that his wife was not moved with material and other worldly things as she seemed comfortable with him in the bush with no electricity or running water two years into their marriage.
â€œNow I realise that it was important for me to obey God because if I hadnâ€™t, I would have had a difficult time finding a good, God fearing wife. I love that she is prayerful and has adjusted to the way we live with no reservations,â€ he said.
He said as they could not have gotten married had they followed either the Zambian or Japanese cultures and traditions.
â€œWe decided to put Christ at the centre of our marriage and culture and tradition aside for the sake of our marriage. The Bible has teachings on all issues pertaining to relationships and marriage and that is the secret to our union. We have based our marriage on Romans chapter 12 and Matthew chapter 18,â€ he said.
His advice to couples is, â€œYou must be willing to be taught and corrected when wrong. You must be able to apologise when you do wrong. No one can claim to know it all even men of God. It is also important to marry a friend, know their weakness and strengths. Be tolerant as well.â€
Zionâ€™s advice to men is to be tolerant to their women. She said no woman is born a wife or mother; these are just roles that they learn as they grow.
â€œAs women, we pass through a lot of transformation. Men need to understand that a woman is not born a wife or mother we just learn along the way. But as we grow and learn, we need to be careful whose advice we choose because that can make or break a relationship or marriage,â€ she said.
How we Met