It is our great privilege to introduce three new missionaries working in Zambia. Please pray for the work as it continues to expand beyond Zambia and into all of Africa.
Sangwani recently completed a pastoral internship under Pastor Ngoma at Calvary Baptist Church in the city of Chipata. Chipata is located on Zambia’s eastern border with Malawi. In June 2015, Sangwani was ordained and sent out by Calvary Baptist to plant a church in the Magazine district of Chipata. The following are the testimonies of Pastor Sangwani and his wife Betty.
My parents took my siblings and me to church from a very tender age. Nevertheless, the only time I remember sensing a need for salvation was between the years 2000 and 2002. At that time, “altar calls” were the order of the day, and the only way I knew to give my life to the Lord was through repeating the sinner’s prayer.
One day, there was a crusade at a nearby school. As I left my home and walked toward the school, I made up my mind to give my life to the Lord. However, I then began to think about what my friends would say. Because of this, I said in my heart that if any of them responded to the altar call, then I would join him and give my life to the Lord. None of my friends ended up going forward, so I did not either.
In spite of this, the Lord was very gracious to me. Not long afterwards, during a visit with a believing friend at his work place, I met another friend who was staying with him. He invited me to his nearby home in order to talk to me about the gospel. Although I really desired to be born again, I found myself telling him the lie that I was in a hurry. I thank God that the brother insisted, telling me that it would not take long. That day, he shared the gospel with me, and I truly gave my life to the Lord!
One would expect me to have been full of joy in that moment, but instead I was filled with fear. I knew how I had lived before, and I understood the kind of lifestyle that was expected of everyone who belonged to Christ. Therefore, I was afraid that I was not going to be able to live in a right manner; but God took care of my fears.
After I was saved, I attended a lunch-hour fellowship where the Word of God was preached. I met a friend there who worked for a Christian ministry that encouraged and equipped believers to go into villages to spread the gospel. I began accompanying him, and we alternated in preaching.
Later, when I went to Intec College in South Africa to train in electronics, the pastor of the church I attended started having me help, first as a worship leader and later as a preacher. Although I was ministering, I never seriously considered becoming a pastor.
After being at college for some time, I lost interest in electronics and decided to go back to Malawi. It was at this point that I began to entertain the thought of serving the Lord in full-time ministry, but because there was no church to support me, I worked part-time to sustain myself. As time passed, the feeling that I should serve the Lord continued to haunt me. I shared this with my former pastor, the late Percy Chisenga, who was serving as a missionary pastor in Malawi under Kabwata Baptist Church and in coordination with HeartCry. He sat down and counseled me. He then connected me to Covenant College in Zambia so that I could pursue theological training in pastoral ministry.
After I graduated, I completed a pastoral internship under Pastor Ngoma at Calvary Baptist Church in the city of Chipata. In June 2015, I was ordained and sent out by Calvary Baptist to plant a church in the Magazine district of Chipata.
As a child, I attended church but had many wrong ideas. I thought that church attendance was synonymous with being a Christian. However, in 1994, my aunt came to stay with us, and she shared the Word of God with me. It was then that I realized that there was more to Christianity and that something needed to be done apart from just going to church, singing in a choir, or being a good child. One day, my aunt and I attended a crusade in which there was preaching about salvation and how we could become God’s children. Afterwards, my aunt and I read from John 1:12. Through this, the Lord opened my understanding, and I surrendered my life to Christ.
The second new missionary in Zambia is also part of the growing wave of “vernacular” (native language) church plants among the Reformed Baptists of Zambia. Blessings is a 2014 graduate of Kabwata Baptist Church’s pastoral internship program and has a Bible degree from Central Africa Baptist College. Faith Baptist Church in Garneton (a suburb of Kitwe in the Copperbelt) has sent him to plant a church in Twatasha Township, a poorer section of Kitwe. The church services will be in Bemba, the native language of that region. In the following are recorded the testimonies of Pastor Blessings and his wife Mukwamba.
I was converted to Christ in December 2001. I was so convicted about my sin that I could not leave the church premises until I gave my life to Jesus Christ. The sermon was about going to hell or heaven and was preached by Pastor Nathan Washer at Faith Baptist Church of Garneton. During the preaching, he gave an illustration about how Jesus came to give His life for His people. He said that it was like a hen that went into the field with its chicks. When the hen saw that the field was on fire, she called out to her chicks. Most of them came back to their mother, but there was one that did not believe her. When the fire came, the mother hen died, as did the chick that ignored her. As the farmer was going through the field to see how far the fire had gone, he found the hen dead. Lifting her up, he found the chicks under her alive – protected by the mother’s wings. She had given her life for her chicks. Similarly, Jesus Christ left heaven and gave His life for our sins, that whoever believes will be saved.
That story really touched my heart. Then the pastor paused with a question: ‘Are you under the wings of Jesus Christ, protected from the fire that is coming?’ From that moment, I knew I needed to give my life to Jesus Christ. I asked one of the leaders to show me how to receive Jesus Christ in my life. He showed me verses from the Bible, and I prayed after he explained everything to me. He also prayed for me.
After being born again, I started laboring for God, and I grew to love preaching. However, though I felt a great desire to serve in the ministry, I also wanted to pursue a career in nursing in order to support myself financially. I thought that I could be a nurse and still help the lead pastor in things like evangelism and teaching children. But when I began studying nursing, I found that I quickly left the Lord’s service. It was as if I was running away from God. My life could be likened to that of Moses, and it reached a point where it seemed that God took everything away from me. God closed the door of my medical career, and a month later He opened the door for me to study theology at Central Africa Baptist College. This was when I became convinced that God wanted me in full-time ministry. From that time forward, I surrendered all to Jesus so that He could use me in any way that He pleased. All glory to Him alone!
My parents are very strong Christians. Every night we used to have a family Bible study; I was converted during one of these studies when I was eleven years old. Before that, I thought that I was a Christian because I was going to church every week and reading Bible stories. But when I heard my father teaching on salvation, I started asking myself, “Am I really a Christian?”
So, one night after our Bible study, I went to my dad and asked him how I could be saved. He explained the way of salvation to me using only the Bible. He said that Jesus Christ’s death was the only way for salvation – not works or going to church or doing other good things. He read to me from Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; and Acts 16:30.
On that day, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. A year later, I was baptized. My life is wonderful because I know that I am saved. Knowing that Someone died for my life makes it so valuable, loved, and treasured. There have been failures from my side, but I thank God that He helps me. He picks me up, cleanses me, and forgives me. I am thankful to have such a loving God; and I always ask that I may live a life that is pleasing, holy, and acceptable to His ways. I want to grow more and more into His Son’s image.
The third new missionary added in Zambia this month is Kennedy Kawambale. He was ordained and sent out by Kabwata Baptist Church to plant a church in Chamba Valley. This is a new and rapidly growing middle-to-upper-class area of Lusaka. There are very few churches there. Below are the testimonies of Pastor Kennedy and his wife Mary.
I came to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior in 1984 when I was in seventh grade. I came from a Roman Catholic background and was a very religious person who loved going to church every Sunday. However, I did not like the teaching of being “born again” since I associated this doctrine with the evangelical fanatics.
I tried to become a good person in my own way, but I failed. Several times I tried to get recruited as an altar boy but to no avail. This made my religious life unsatisfactory. I did not know what my eternal destiny would be if I were to die.
In 1984, my uncle came to stay with us. He had just been released from jail and had lost his job as a teacher in the government. He was not a Christian when he first came to stay with us, but he was saved a short while after.
In his former teaching career, my uncle had taught Religious Education. But the day he was saved, he came home beaming with joy, declaring that he was a new creation and had been born again. Knowing his previous behavior, we put him to the test. My mum would buy him beer and cigarettes, but he would refuse and say that he was now a new creation in Christ. Furthermore, he found a job in a private school, and he started to use a great chunk of his earnings to buy Christian books and contribute to the church in offerings and tithe.
After observing him for over a month, I began to fear for my life, because I realized that whatever my uncle was saying about his encounter with Christ had to be real. The drastic change in his life had caught my heart, and I knew that whatever he was claiming about meeting Christ must be authentic. I suddenly became acutely aware of death and the fact that I had no savior.
One day, my uncle invited me to his church at Chamboli, and I gladly went. For the first time, I heard preaching about being born again from John 3:1-5. It made so much sense that I wondered why I had not previously seen the new birth as a necessity for all who are entering the Kingdom of God. After the sermon, I gave my life to the Lord, and I came to know a lightness in my heart which I had never known before. I was ready to die from that day forward.
Life after conversion was not easy. My friends would mock and laugh at me that I had taken religion too seriously at a very tender age. I shared the gospel of Christ with them. The following year, my uncle left for the village, and he passed away while he was there. I worried about who would replace him as my spiritual father, but God was gracious and brought a Christian couple from Lusaka to Kitwe. They became a source of spiritual encouragement to me. From that time until now, I have no regret that I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
My desire to serve the Lord through preaching started in the early 1990’s, when I was fellowshipping with Riverside Chapel in Kitwe. It was during this time that I discovered my passion for ministry as we shared the gospel with the lost. Eventually, we planted a local church in a shanty compound called Kanyala. I began to practice my gift of preaching at this fellowship with friends from Riverside Chapel.
From 1991 to 1993, I pursued a certificate course in biomedical science at the School of Medical Laboratories at Ndola Central Hospital. During this period, I came into contact with a group of Reformed-minded brethren in Ndola. Their fellowship had a huge impact on my life, as I could see that they not only studied and taught doctrine but also lived it out. These men became dissatisfied with the church they were attending because it was becoming more charismatic in its doctrine, practice, and worship. They began to meet in homes to study the Scriptures, doctrine, and church history. This became my training ground, and I have to say that it was during this time that I began to appreciate being a Baptist.
After completing my studies at Ndola School of Biomedical Sciences in August 1993, I was posted to Mansa General Hospital. There I joined Mansa Central Baptist Church. Four months later, I was accepted to go to Evelyn Hone College to pursue another course in the same field. It was during this time that I met Pastor Conrad Mbewe, and I joined the preachers’ class organized by him to equip those who were sensing a call to ministry but recognized their need to sharpen their preaching skills. For three years, I sat under his leadership and teaching, learning the art of preaching from him and practicing at young people’s meetings.
When I returned to Mansa Central Baptist Church, I took over the preaching duties, because the church at the time did not have a pastor. The leadership of the church recognized my gift and wondered where I had learned how to preach. Some of them (including my future wife Mary) asked me if I had thought of going into full-time ministry. However, although I had come to appreciate that God had given me a gift in preaching, I did not yet recognize the call. I simply preached out of desire and also because of my admiration of Pastor Mbewe.
The few opportunities I was given to share the gospel continued to attract questions of why I was not serving the Lord in full-time ministry. After a chat with Elder George Sitali on the matter of ministry, I was sent to serve at one of KBC’s mission stations in Choma. In 2006, they extended a call to me to pastor the church, but I did not consider myself to be ready, so I turned it down.
In August 2008, Kabwata Baptist Church started up a new work in Monze. I was given the task to oversee the work, and I took the challenge. When the work reached a state where it needed the oversight of a resident undershepherd, the work was handed over to Pastor Brian Mutale.
Now it is 2016, and I feel ready to go into the Lord’s work full-time. I have quit my formal employment, because it has been competing with the work of God. If I am to work effectively for the Lord and serve Him in a meaningful way, I have no choice but to let go of Caesar.
I come from a family of non-Christians, though (humanly speaking) we considered ourselves to be moral persons. In terms of church gatherings, I met with the United Church of Zambia. In time I was given a leadership role. In spite of my involvement in the church’s activities, my life was empty, because I did not have Christ in my life.
In 1984, my dad retired from the mines for medical reasons, and we went to the village of Nakonde in the Muchinga province. In 1988, I was sent to live with my uncle, who was a teacher at Chamboli Secondary School. He was not a believer, and he did not like the idea of born-again Christians coming to share the Word of God with me. He perceived Christians as people who were in church to find money or marriage.
One of my friends, Rhoda, would always share the gospel with me but I did not take it seriously. However, in 1989, when I was in eighth grade, I met some Scripture Union members who invited me to attend their fellowship. There I saw my history teacher, Mr. Indala, preaching from John 3:16 about the love of God for the world. It was this unique love of God that cut my heart and led me to think about my own life. I could not imagine how God could give His one and only Son to the world to save them from their sins. I gave my life to the Lord.
After my conversion, a number of Christians taught me the Bible. Among them was my mathematics teacher, Mr. Mukuyamba. I also left my old church and began attending church Rhoda. There I enjoyed good fellowship and grew in the things of God. I read the Bible, was involved in the choir group, and was a youth leader.
At home, however, my life grew very difficult. My uncle became the source of persecution, because he did not want my Christian friends coming to my home to encourage me in the things of God. He thought that they were responsible for the changes in my life. At times, he would chase me from home, and I would go and stay at the home of one of our pastors.
In February 1997, I was accepted into Nursing School in Mansa, and that is where I met Mr. Kawambale. Because I was too late to be admitted in school that year, the principal offered me a job as an accounts clerk until the next enrollment in June. I took the job and was provided living quarters. It was during this time that I was invited to Mansa Central Baptist Church by Kennedy, who was preaching that day. The order of service and the preaching of God’s Word was very good, and I decided to continue fellowshipping with this church. Eventually, we were married and are now serving the Lord together!