[I have commenced a series of blog posts comprising testimonies of Zambian friends who left their jobs in order to become Reformed Baptist pastors. This series is meant not only to be a window into the workings of God in the souls of men, but also an encouragement to those men who are currently wrestling with this matter.
The first testimony is that of Kapambwe Nsenduluka, who rose to the position of Senior Metallurgical Projects Engineer when he quit and became a missionary pastor. He had a strong sense of call to international missions and has since labored in Botswana, Namibia, and, in very strange providential circumstances, is currently “tent-making” in India.]
Conrad: We hear that many people expected you to enter the ministry many years ago. What caused the delay?
Kapambwe: If answering a call to full time service was as easy as changing a job, I would have been a minister 20 years before I answered the call. It is even more challenging in a non-financially reassuring circumstance. Things are made difficult by better paying secular callings and made more difficult as the speed picks up to the top and outside objects dash past in the opposite direction. You just begin to feel that jumping off would be fatal. Better to wait until the speed reduces to zero. But that is also when your employer thinks you have reached your destination. Not also the best time for the Lord!
Conrad: So, when did you begin to sense God's call to the ministry?
Kapambwe: Promptings began as early as the early nineties and my actual response came early in January 2004, thanks to friends who saw it in me and did not give me rest. But it was a big struggle as I felt that they pushed long because they pushed with ‘bare hands only’ and it was not enough for a dozer stuck in relative comforts of life. Besides, was serving as an elder, it gave me a sense of relief since after all in our circles elders are pastors. But it was not long before I began to feel more than just ‘bare hands’ pushing. Jonah was at least blessed with deep sleep on his way to Tarshish!
I began to soothe my soul by wanting to start church planting in towns like Chambishi or countries like Botswana where for a long time I felt strong urge to start a Reformed Baptist Church. Botswana yielded nothing whereas Chambishi yielded a job of my subordinates. For me it was confirmation the promptings were not genuine.
|Kapambwe sandwiched between female Herero church members in Namibia|
Kapambwe: By 2002 I started speaking to friends who had answered the call and they all just said I had no reason to wait longer. In 2003 the elders of KBC invited me for an interview for missionary vacancies in Zambia and abroad. To my pleasant surprise Botswana was one of the mission fields. But before venturing out, I had to start with Mazabuka. There were a number of "disadvantages". My salary was going to drop to half of what I was getting. I was going lose the benefits of some of the best medical and educational schemes in the country and it was no comfortable situation for the family to switch to government facilities in both cases especially at half salary.
Conrad: Apart from these apparent disadvantages, were there any thoughts or events that would have made you think twice about answering God's call?
Kapambwe: In 2003, there were issues of a leadership nature that had to be resolved at the sponsoring church. It affected the initial confirmation vote. Then came the Sales Refractory Engineer job offer from Johannesburg. I began to wonder whether this was not confirmation as to which door God was opening. I turned down the job for having not enough time for the family. I was appointed Senior Metallurgical Projects Engineer; the most satisfying position I ever had in the Mines with unlimited phone and internet (in the Mines at that time this was for plant Managers and above). But the promptings were too strong to continue. Later that year I got a second confirmation vote being well above the required two thirds and in January 2004 I was ordained the first international missionary but started with a short stint in Mazabuka.
|Kapambwe with his wife, Sylvia, enjoying a light moment in India|
Kapambwe: By the time we were starting the work in Botswana, all the funds required for the work there were available. Soon I discovered the Lord had his own way of dealing with my fears. Although it took some five years for my missionary salary to hit the level I was getting in the Mines, my wife was getting a steady rise, we were generally healthy and did not have the need of first class medical facilities. Our kid who was still in a Mine school continued and the mission funds would pay seventy five percent of the cost.
Missionary work took me to the USA, where for many years of work I did not even dream of being privileged to visit. Most of all, there is no job like serving as a minister of the gospel. The money may not be there, but may be that is the only thing not there to satisfy a soul. Were I to live again, I would go into it earlier. I am in a foreign land now doing diplomatic service, but I still enjoy working as I did, ministering to souls. Surprisingly even when typing this testimony, I had to break for 20 minutes or so to counsel a soul who is not even a member of my church!
Conrad: Thank you for sharing this with us. We are hopeful that the experienced you gained as a missionary in Botswana and Namibia is not only being useful now as you labour as a "tent-maker" in India but will also be used of the Lord as he opens other doors for full time pastoral work.