A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Aunt Pamela and her hallmark cakes!

“There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room… The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing [Peter] the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them” (Acts 9:36-40, New Living Translation).
Tuesday 27th April was a blow to all of us in the church and in the home. Around 07.30 hours, news did it rounds that Aunt Pamela (as Pamela Hassan was affectionately called) had died that morning. She had been workingdoing night shiftwhen she collapsed and died. It was very sudden. On Saturday, she had been in Kabwe (a town 140 kilometres north of Lusaka) leading in Amatebeto at the home of one of our former elders--Dr Douglas Kunda. This is a cultural ceremony in which a woman’s family honours a man for looking after their daughter (i.e. his wife) well. On Sunday, she gave everyone her hallmark smile at the end of our evening worship service. None of us would have guessed that the next time we would see that smile it would be radiating with God’s glory in heaven.
When we came to Kabwata Baptist Church over twenty years ago, Pamela Hassan was just a name of a “ghost” member on the membership roll. We often asked about her and were told that she was a “young lady” who had since left town and news had it that all was not well in her life. Well, in the late 1990s she returned to Lusaka and came back to Kabwata Baptist Church. In her own words, the world had failed to give her satisfaction and she had returned to the Lord. Her new commitment to the Lord was totally unwavering. At church she was actively involved in both the Ladies Ministry and the Missions Committee. Her church commitment was also seen in that no special church event happened without her hallmark cake being the centre-piece of the occasion (as can be seen in the cake above, which she made when KBC commemorated her 20th year of existence). And her commitment was not just to the local church. She never missed our annual inter-church conferences, even when they were Sola 5 conferences being held as far away as Cape Town in South Africa. She encouraged other ladies to also attend and so would lead the KBC women to such events.
Pamela’s special and memorable role went beyond this. She endeared herself to our family by the cakes she sent us every year whenever it was the birthday of any of us in the home. She baked them herself and they were never the same—hence, we always looked forward to the next surprise. Recently, Felistas turned 50. And who else but Aunt Pam was to grace the occasion with a surprise cake? My aunt, who attended the surprise birthday, could not believe that the flowers on the cake, including what looked like a cloth, were all made out of icing. She said, “It is not fair, that God should enable some people to do things like this, while some of us have such clumsy hands!” As far as our children were concerned, a birthday was never complete without one of aunt Pamela’s hallmark cakes. And so we end this blog with comments from Pamela’s beneficiaries in the KBC Manse. They will always cherish her memories even as she rests from her labours.
Mwindula: Auntie Pamela was very pleasant to be around and was a great blessing to my family and myself. She was good to our family and always baked us cakes on each of our birthdays. She never missed a year nor did she ever forget a family member for over 10 years. Very early on, before I could play well, she noticed my interest in guitar and made me a guitar cake! I must have been 12 years old and it was surreal. She encouraged me greatly in my attempts at music and writing. When I sang at church she’d flatter me and when I lost consistency in writing on my blog she would always prod me, asking when I’d be writing again. I will certainly miss her.
Mwansa: Aunt Pam was great. She always seemed "out of this world". I do not remember seeing her without a smile on her face. There would be those days when things would not be going right and I would walk out of church and find Aunt Pam smiling. She was interested in us. To begin with, she remembered the birthdays of everyone in my family or baked the best cakes you can think of for those birthdays. But also, she wanted to know what was happening in my life. Hearing that Aunt Pam had died was a blow, it is hard to come to terms with it even now. She was with us one minute and gone the next… I will forever remember Aunt Pam as the cheerful and wonderful person she was.
Mwape: I’ll always remember Aunt Pamela’s beautiful cakes! My favourite was the vanilla sponge cake that she always baked for me on my birthday, and this year she specially baked me a big one because it was my sixteenth birthday (bigger than the one you now see on the photo). There wasn’t a single birthday that she ever forgot. I really can’t remember her having any dull moments. She would always, always, smile at me and give me a big hug whenever we met. Her life was one well lived. May her soul rest in eternal peace!

2 comments:

  1. We at the Preacher's College last year also 'endured' being sorely tempted by her culinary specialties! I hope that even though they neither marry, nor are given in marriage in heaven, God will still allow her to practice her exquisite gift when we get there. Thank you for this tribute and reminding us that we are certain to see her smile again.

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  2. Today (Sunday 30th May 2010), a young lady that Pamela Hassan was looking after came into my office after the worship service and handed me a note that was found in Pamela's Bible. It was undated, but it was addressed to me. It is a truly precious note, especially now that she has gone to heaven. It reads:

    Dear Pastor Mbewe (The Spurgeon of Africa)

    We give glory to God for the way he has used you through a humble beginning as a pastor of KBC. The messages you have delivered have transformed many lives in our own church KBC (including mine) and elsewhere. May the good Lord prosper your work and continue blessing you.

    Pamela Hassan

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