In August 2015, 45-year-old Ethlet Frazer Miscot founded What’s-Up Gesu, a world-wide women’s ministry designed to embrace, educate and empower women by raising what she terms a ‘Woman with a difference’.
The mother of three founded this ministry based on her own personal experiences and life challenges.
“I experienced double loss in 2012. I got divorced after 12 years of marriage. At the time, I was co-pastor of a well known international charismatic church which closed its doors on me.
“Having been prominent in the circles of Malawians in the diaspora at the time, there was a backlash. I faced an immense level of rejection through the church and social media. Many people deserted me, many doors shut on me and my life felt like it had come to a halt,” she recounts.
With stories circulating— most of them untrue— and no social support, Ette (as she is fondly known) had to rebuild her life and overcome the spirit of rejection and financial loss.
Now she testifies she has seen God re-profiling her life, rebuilding her for ministry to touch others mostly in despair.
She has turned her heartbreaking story into a positive experience through What’s Up Gesu which now has over 1 000 women under its umbrella worldwide.
Ette believes the experience of life’s detours makes a big difference to one’s calling.
“Detours can be turned into opportunities to support others. I fasted and prayed my way out of that situation. I learnt to pray differently. God opened my eyes in terms of how to pray and the importance of words when we pray. I also learnt to enter into the realm of worship like never before. What I give to Gesu is what I learnt in my closet,” she explains.
She adds that a woman with a difference can be raised by building prayer warriors who can transform the lives of other women through prayer, enabling women to encourage each other to keep the spirit of prayer in their homes and supporting them to realise their potential through the teaching of the word, access to training resources and other opportunities.
Janelissa Manyozo joined What’s Up Gesu when it had 33 members. She says she could not stand up boldly in prayer before that, but has learnt to pray for herself and her family with her relationship with God improving.
“I lost my job at one time. I fasted and prayed, and before I could even finish the fasting, I got a call for interviews and got the job. Through the daily Bible studies that we have as a group, I now have a deep understanding of the Bible. I can now use the word of God as a weapon against the devil. I developed a talent which I never knew existed in me,” says Manyozo.
When the group was challenged to design Gesu cloth, Manyozo says she developed ideas and with support from other members, came up with a design that was selected to be used.
She adds that earlier this year, Gesu had lessons on entrepreneurship by Henry Kachaje which inspired her even more to use her designing talent to start making money.
“Just last week I got my first pay check on a cloth I designed for a certain ministry,” she attests.
What’s-Up Gesu is not just a WhatsApp group, but an online ministry reshaping the lives of women tremendously, according to the founder.
Among other activities, they hold monthly prayer sessions, evangelism, prayer and fasting programmes (three times a year), daily Bible studies, midnight prayers, coaching, counselling, social and economic empowerment as well as annual conferences, with the latest one taking place on October 14 in Lilongwe.
They have had other conferences in Europe, South Africa and even locally, with international speakers (with funds raised among themselves).
Last year, Gesu received an award by Women Achieving Great Success (Wags) in the United Kingdom, in recognition for excellence and women empowerment.
Among other achievements, many members have had new jobs, promotions, financial breakthroughs, visas for those international trips, scholarships, healing from all sorts of diseases and traumatic experiences, winning court cases, marital breakthroughs, protection from accidents and having babies.
“There are many more great things the Lord has done through this ministry. This is just a snap shot. It is not one person’s achievement, but all of us, together. Above all, we have seen salvation of many souls,” she says.
Looking to the future, Ette says they plan to extend Gesu Awards to unsung heroes in Malawi and beyond with their inaugural awards night on October 13 at in Lilongwe.
“We aspire to celebrate women who are making a difference in various ways, but are not celebrated. We will engage with the public for the selection process, starting in 2018,” she says.
Born Ethlet Miscot in 1972 at Likuni Hospital in Lilongwe, Ette is the second born of four children. She comes from Chibowa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalumba in Lilongwe.
She grew up moving from place to place as her father was a contractor in road construction.
“My father is a quantity surveyor. For the most part of my childhood, we lived in caravans or guest houses. When I was about eight, my father changed jobs and decided to take a permanent one in local government at the Municipality of Zomba so that we could get some stability and go to school. Life changed at that point because the salaries in local government are not generous,” she explains.
However, she notes that her father was determined to do all it took for his children to get educated.
“He got his hands into everything. He embarked on all sorts of businesses. Now I know what a good father can do for his children. We were not well off; I had my taste of poverty. There was a time in primary school when I went without shoes. But that pushed me to work hard and I was blessed that I did very well. My positions in class were single digits only and I made it to St Michaels Girls Secondary School where I also worked hard and scored 13 points on my Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). I then went to Chancellor College,” she says.
Ette graduated as an economist from Chancellor College and proceeded to study for a master’s degree in international development at the University of East Anglia in the UK. She now works for the United Kingdom National Health Service.