My husband died soon after our lastborn son was born. Becoming a widow at the age of 27 was quite an experience. It prematurely threw me into what I was totally unprepared for. I reasoned that if mum and dad could die, then anyone else could. As a result, I became ruthless and reckless with my life.
I was frequently in the company of my age mates who were single and some of them were also young widows. We were childish in our behaviour and easily succumbed to peer-pressure. Prostitution, beer drinking, stealing, careless talk, and abusive language became a norm in my life. At some point I worked as a bar tender at a guesthouse. This kind of life continued for two years.
I cared very little about religion. To me it was a matter indifferent. To make matters worse, I was completely put off matters of religion when a pastor of a certain church in my area proposed to me that I should become his girlfriend. He was a married man. I turned him down because I had great respect for religious leaders. I did not want to play with God.
|Liz Phiri with three of her children|
Mrs Mwanza heard that I was sick and that I had no one to take me to the hospital because of my unruly behaviour. Not even my elder sister, or my stepbrothers and stepsisters, were prepared to help me. Mrs Mwanza decided to help me.
When she entered my room, Mrs Mwanza seemed very rough in her speech. She reminded me of what she had previously told me, that I needed to change my behaviour. Then she invited me to a living relationship with Jesus. I did not like it. As if that was not enough, she went on to say, “My dear, unless you repent of your sins and believe in the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, you will die twice. You will die in this body and die eternally. You will be eternally separated from the God who loves us so much.”
It was after saying these words that Mrs Mwanza smiled and sat by my bedside. With compassion, she asked me how I was feeling. She also asked me to sit up for a word of prayer. After prayer, she got a basket and served me with food. She assured me that she would help me go through the difficult times that lay ahead of me until I was healed. She warmed some bathing water for me and helped me take a bath. She even promised to take me to the hospital the following day.
|KBC missionary Charles Mwanza, with his wife, Anna|
After the bath I told Mrs Mwanza that we did not need to go to the hospital because I felt healed already. I told her that the only healing I needed was that of the soul. I was convinced and convicted of my wickedness and sins. I needed Jesus Christ in my life and the forgiveness of my many sins.
Mrs Mwanza told me that salvation is by faith alone—faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus. She said that this faith a gift from God but I was the one who needed to exercise it. She quoted Ephesians 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11:1 in explaining what this faith was. Weeks passed by. I thought about this matter until I finally yielded my life to the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour.
One day, I called for Mrs Mwanza to tell her of my intention to join her church. When my children heard me telling her about this, they were very excited. The following Sunday we were the first at the Reformed Baptist church in Nyimba.
My life as a Christian has made me discover the life that is hidden in Christ Jesus. I now have a spiritual family who mean so much to me. My prayer is that my children may have a taste of the experience I am enjoying. All my cares are now cast on Christ Jesus.