Monday, June 3, 2013

Saved At The Junction Between Life And Death

[This is the second blog post under the series "Tales from the Mission Field". It is the testimony of one lady who has recently been saved from a life of wicked debauchery through the combined efforts of her uncle and a pastor's wife. May God's grace abound not only to her but to many others who are bound to sin and degradation right across Zambia!]

My name is Liz Phiri. I live in Ben Village in the outskirts of Nyimba, in the Eastern Province of Zambia. My parents settled here after coming from Chadiza, their original village area. I am thirty years old and I have four children. My firstborn is a fifteen-year old girl and the youngest is a three-year old boy.

Liz Phiri
I got married at a very young age. This is because my parents had died and there was no one to take care of us. My father was a polygamist. My mother was his first wife and a stepmother was his second. My stepmother neglected us. My father had been a mechanic and my mum had been a full time housewife. He did not leave us any sustainable assets. In the end, hardship was our lot in life.

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
In October 2012, I got very sick. I was at what I call “the junction between life and death.” I was sure that I was going to die any moment. If you had told me that I would live to tell this story, I would have told you that you were crazy. It was at this point in my life that a woman whom I knew and did not ever want to associate with came into my life. She was Mrs Anna Mwanza, the wife of the pastor of the Reformed Baptist church in Nyimba. My uncle had introduced them to me in the year 2008. My uncle is the pastor of the Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Petauke.

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
When Mrs Mwanza came the following day, I was feeling much better, although I was still quite weak. She exhorted me about the vanity of life. By the time she was finished, I started sensing the vanity of the things I had cherished so much. After taking breakfast, she again helped me to take a bath in preparation for the hospital visit.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you pastor for these testimonies. They are very encouraging even to those of us who have been believers for while.