Church Planter – Chamba Valley in Lusaka, Zambia
In June 2015, Kennedy was ordained and sent out by Kabwata Baptist Church to plant a church in Chamba Valley, a new and rapidly growing middle to upper-class area of Lusaka, where the city is expanding to the north. There are very few churches in this area.
Testimony of Conversion
I came to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior in 1984, at the time I was in grade 7. I come from a Roman Catholic background and was quite a religious person, who loved going to church every Sunday. I did not like the teaching of being ‘born again,’ as I associated this to a church of fanatics. I tried to become a good person in my own way but I failed. Several times I tried to get recruited in the class of the Altar Boys but to no avail. This made my religious life unsatisfactory, since I knew that if I were to die I did not know my destiny.
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 government. He had previously worked at Chama Secondary School in Eastern province. He was not a Christian at the time he came to stay with us. He got saved first and he was the one who led me to the Lord.
After he was saved, every evening before we went to bed he would open the Bible and share the gospel to me and everyone in the room. What was interesting is that, in his former teaching career, this uncle was teaching Religious Education among the other subjects he used to handle. But one day after being witnessed to by the CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands) brethren in Chamboli, he came home beaming with joy that he was now a new creation, saying he had now become born again. Knowing his behavior, we put him to test. My mum would buy him beer and cigarettes and offer to him, but he refused and said he was now a new creation in Christ.
After observing him for over a month, I began to fear for my life, because I realized that whatever this uncle was saying concerning his encounter with Christ was real. Furthermore, he got a job in a private school and he would use a great chunk of his earnings to buy Christian books and contribute to church in offerings and tithe. It was this drastic change that caught my heart, and I realized that whatever he was claiming about meeting Christ must be real. For the first time I became conscious of death because I had no savior.
One day he invited me to his Brethren 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 seen this as a necessity for all who are entering the Kingdom of God. After the sermon I gave my life to the Lord and I knew 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 to them. The following year my uncle left for the village and died while there. I worried about who would replace him as my spiritual father. God was gracious and brought a Christian couple from Lusaka to Kitwe. They became a source of spiritual encouragement and from that time up to now I have no regret that I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of the brethren from Lusaka who moved to Kitwe would either join Kitwe Chapel or Riverside Chapel. They advised me when I came to Lusaka to find Kabwata Baptist Church. I joined KBC because of the church’s stand for the truth of the Bible and their love to reach out to the lost. This is my Christian personal testimony.
Call to Ministry
My desire to serve the Lord in the work of ministry through preaching started way back in the early1990s. At that time I was fellowshipping with Riverside Chapel in Kitwe. I got involved in the preaching of the gospel when one of our friends, Leonard Mutono, became a missionary. He was called under the oversight of Mobile Mission Maintenance (MMM), set up in Zambia by an Australian mission body. They were basically involved in building chapels for CMML churches and were also facilitating church plants. It was during this time that I discovered my passion for ministry as we shared the gospel to the lost. The MMM group planted a local church in Ndola, in a shanty compound known as Kanyala. I began to practice my gift at this fellowship with friends from Riverside Chapel.
From 1991 to 1993, I was at School of Medical Laboratories at Ndola Central Hospital, pursuing a certificate course in biomedical science. During this period I came into contact with a group of Reformed-minded brethren in Ndola. Their fellowship created a very big impact in my life as I could see doctrine not only studied and taught, but also lived. These men became dissatisfied with the lack of soundness in doctrine at Ndola Baptist Church, as the church was becoming more charismatic in its doctrine, practice, and worship. The Reformed brethren began to meet in the homes of those with whom they had a kindred mind. They studied doctrine and church history among other things. This became my training ground for the Reformed faith, and I must confess that it was during this time I appreciated being a Baptist, though I had a Brethren background.
After completing my studies at Ndola School of Biomedical Sciences, I was posted to Mansa General Hospital in August 1993, where I joined Mansa Central Baptist church. Four months later I was accepted to go to Evelyn Hone College to pursue a diploma course in the same field. It was during this time that I met Pastor Mbewe and I joined the preachers’ class organized by him to equip those who were sensing a call to ministry and those who needed 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 continued with the preaching, as the church at the time did not have a pastor. During this time, the leadership of the church recognized my gift and wondered where I learnt the art of preaching. Some of them were asking me if I had thought of going into full time ministry. Among those who suggested that I think of going into full time ministry was my future wife, Mary Namwai then. Though I had come to appreciate that I was gifted, I did not yet recognize the call. I just preached out of fun and admiration of Pastor Conrad Mbewe.
In 1997, I left Mansa for the Copperbelt, as I had changed jobs. Getting involved in the preaching of the gospel remained my passion, and while in Luanshya at Central Baptist Church, the pastor had just left and this became another opportunity for ministry. Then we relocated to Mufulira, and finally back to Lusaka, by this time now as a married man. The few opportunities I was given to share the gospel continued to attract questions of why I cannot serve the Lord in fulltime 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 go and pastor the church. I was not ready and turned down the call, but continued to do outreach and ministry of God’s word, as the church had no pastor.
In August 2008, Kabwata Baptist Church leadership was requested to start up a new work in Monze, as there was need for a Reformed Baptist church there. I was given the task to start the work and I took the challenge. When the work reached a state where it needed the oversight of a resident under-shepherd, Pastor Brian Mutale was given to pastor the church.
Now I feel ready to go in fulltime work, and I have decided to quit my formal employment, as it has been competing with the work of God. If I am to work effectively and serve meaningfully, I have no choice but to let go of Caesar.
Mary's Testimony of Conversion
I come from a family of non-Christians, though humanly speaking I was a good moral person. In terms of church gathering, I was worshiping with United Church of Zambia (UCZ) and being a good girl. I followed my friends and joined the Girl Guides, since there was no one going to church at home. With time I was given a leadership role. In spite of this involvement in church activities, my life was feeling empty, because I had no Christ in my life.
In 1984, my dad retired on medical grounds from the mines and we went to the village Nakonde in Muchinga province. There I still continued with my religion. In 1988, I was called to live with my uncle, who was a teacher at Chamboli Secondary School. He was not a Christian 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 are stranded for money or just looking for marriages in church.
In 1989, when I passed to go to grade 8 at Chamboli Secondary School, I met some Scripture Union members who invited me to go and attend fellowship. One of my friends, Rhoda Nakawala, would always share the gospel to me but I did not take it seriously. I was invited to Scripture Union and there my history teacher, Mr. Indala, was 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.
A number of Christians would make follow ups and teach me the Bible. Among them was my mathematics teacher, Mr. Mukuyamba, and many other children of God. After conversion, I changed churches, following where my friend Rhoda was fellowshipping. I started going to a Pentecostal church, Living Water Tabernacle. Here I enjoyed good fellowship and grew in the things of God. I was reading the Bible and was involved in the choir group and I was also a youth leader.
My life was very tough after being born again. My uncle became the source of persecution, as he did not want my Christian friends coming home to encourage me in the things of God. He was not happy, for he thought they were responsible for the change of life I had now found in Christ Jesus. At times he would chase me from home and I would go and stay at one of our pastors’ home for some time.
In February 1997, I was accepted to Nursing School in Mansa, and that is where I met Mr. Kawambale as a friend. Because I was late to be admitted in school that year, the principle offered me a job as an accounts clerk, awaiting the next enrollment in June 1997. I took the job and was given living quarters where I was staying. It was during this time that I was invited to Mansa Central Baptist Church by Mr Kawambale, and this day he was the one preaching. Though there was no praise and worship, as we would call it at Pentecostal Church, yet the order of service and the preaching of God’s word was very good, and I decided to continue fellowshipping with the Baptists. That is how I found myself among the Baptists. This is my personal testimony. Thank you.