A STEWARD, A MISSION, AND A TREE
Nine hundred people were being baptized, all wading into a leaky make-shift swimming pool in Zambia. One
man stood beside the pool, using his cell phone to take pictures of dozens of
the candidates. The man is Stain Musungaila, a layman in Livingstone’s Falls
View Church, and an executive with Sun Hotels, Zambia. Stain, a man whose
passion is Jesus, and who is in the process of planting his fourth church.
Every morning I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and pray for about 45 minutes. I ask Jesus to direct me to someone I should talk with or something else He wants me to do that day. My to do list comes from my prayer.”
Why are you taking
pictures of so many people?”
are people I’ve studied the Bible with, and I’m taking their pictures so I can
remind them of the decision they made for Jesus today!” “Let me tell you how it
works,” Stain says. “Every morning I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and pray for about 45
minutes. I ask Jesus to direct me to someone I should talk with or something
else He wants me to do that day. My to do list comes from my prayer.”
Have you always
been a Christian?
My life was the best, but I had never been inside a church. I went to Europe,
loved the ships and sailed around the world as a catering boss. I lived to make
money, and thought if you didn’t have money you were just lazy. In 1981 I
returned to Zambia and was in charge of food and beverages for a large chain of
5-star resorts. Just a phone call and everything could be on my plate. Church
was only for poor people.
How did God find
wife was born of an Adventist family, but I had nothing to do with God. I would
come home drunk, and the security guards would open the gate and find me
sleeping in my car. Whenever I would see a Christian I would say, “Get out of
my way, you lazy person!” I had a hangover one night and didn’t want to drive
too far. So I stopped and walked in to an evangelistic meeting that was being
held in the hotel. A big choir was singing “There’s power in the blood of
Jesus!” I had never heard any such thing. Then a doctor spoke about high blood
pressure and food. She was talking about MY JOB! What kind of church is this, I
thought, that talks about my job? I listened and then went home—but kept quiet
Did your wife
encouraged me. I saw her book about healthy living. I started to read because
it was talking about my job. I read that book three times! I asked my wife if
the book had something to do with the church she attended sometimes. She said
yes, and that sometime she might take me along.
Did you go?
and the pastor was preaching about me. “Jesus loves me” he
preached. The pastor was speaking, but Jesus was talking to me like I was the
only person there. I joined the baptismal class and stayed there for three and
a half years. Remember, I came from nowhere and knew nothing.
What did you
learn, and what changed as you began to obey?
only learned one word: “Obedience.” By God’s grace I was completely changing,
giving up my cigars, my whiskey, everything! But all I learned the doctrines,
the stories, the music everything was only talking about one thing: obedience.
I lost everything except my family, my Bible, and a pair of sandals. I was
It sounds like God gave you a few Job years.
Yes. The pastor and elders told me the
story of Job and said, “Maybe these things you were accumulating were not in
God’s favor. Or, maybe God is telling you something.” So I asked my wife why
this God had brought me poverty. She began to cry and I told her that it seemed
that my notion before I became a Christian was true: “Christians are supposed
to be poor people!” Now I’d lost everything except my sandals. I deposited my
children with friends. Then my friends started to run away from me because I no
longer had anything to offer them. It was very hard.
What did you think
about during those Job Days?
remembered how I had treated church people in my old life. When they approached
me in my office they would beg for a few Kwacha and I would shout, “Get out you
lazy bum!” Now I was in that same position. I could not afford even 100 Kwacha!
That’s when all the old memories came back. My old friends, the ones who used
to drink with me, now ran away. When I called them they would tell me they
could help me “next week.” But “next week” never came. I had powerful friends:
vice-presidents of banks, leaders, politicians, but now their secretaries
wouldn’t even let me come near them.
You couldn't pay
the rent and your van was broken. Useless.
spoke to me right then. One night while we were praying as a family, my
second-born child drew a small diagram. It was the logo of the Sun Hotel in
Livingstone. He wrote my name on top of the diagram and said, “Everything’s
okay. Daddy is going to get a job at this hotel in Livingstone.” I laughed and
did not believe it.
You became a taxi
“If you are the real God,” I said, “I’m not giving up. You have to demonstrate to me who you are!”
very bad one! We had been given a terrible, rusty, broken van that would not
run at all. My brother offered to repair it, and when it was running, I tried
to start a small taxi businesssleeping in the van when I had no lifts. “If you
are the real God,” I said, “I’m not giving up. You have to demonstrate to me
who you are!” That’s when the van broke down 70 kilometers from town. I was
stuck again. I cried to God about how I couldn’t go back to my brother and ask
for money. I couldn’t go to my family and tell them I was a failure. I called
loudly to God for help!
How did God answer your call?
made me remember some of the trainees I had trained at hotels in Livingstone.
Maybe one of them might help me, I thought. So I got to Livingstone and found
one of them. My van is broken, I told him. Ah, no problem, he said. “Would you
like a cigar?” “No, I don’t smoke.” “Would you like some whiskey?” “No, I don’t
drink.” “What has happened to you?” “I have stopped everything,” I told him.
“Everything?” he asked. “Everything.” “God bless you,” he said. “What do you
want?” “My van has a problem,” I said. “I will organize a mechanic for you,” he
Part of getting your van repaired included an offer of a new
I met an old friend from my catering days who told me he had been looking for
me. Another of my old friends wanted to talk. I didn’t want to see him, so I
didn’t go. Not the first day, not the second day, but on the third day I
finally decided that maybe I ought to go and see him. “Here,” he said as he
pushed a paper across the desk. “Here is an application form. Would you please
put your name there!” “No,” I said. “I do not want this kind of job.” “Yes,” he
said. “We want you to take this job.” And that is the story of how I got this
job as Director of Corporate Services for the Sun Hotels in Zambia. Immediately
my life started to improve – and I started looking for a church. Not just any
church, I wanted a church that was not under a roof. I had so much knowledge in
me that I needed to share, and maybe I could help in a small church under a
A church under a tree?
I found one right away in Livingstone.
And I called my family and told them all about it.
You still had no money. How did you pay for
them to come and join you?
“No,” I said. “I do not want this kind of job.” “Yes,” he said. “We want you to take this job.” And that is the story of how I got this job as Director of Corporate Services for the Sun Hotels in Zambia."
didn’t. God did. They prayed, asking God to provide a way for them to come to
Livingstone. Then they tied all their stuff into luggage, and my wife went out
and stood by the road, asking for transport. Finally a truck stopped and
offered her a lift. “I’ll tell you the truth,” she said, “I have a family and I
have luggage, but I have no money.” The driver laughed and asked how much money
had. “Only a few small Kwacha,” she answered. “That will be enough,” he
answered. “At 5 a.m. the next morning I heard a horn outside, dashed out the door
and found my family tumbling out of the truck!” The first thing they said was,
“Daddy, we want to see the church under the tree!” They didn’t care about my
job, didn’t want to see the hotel, just wanted to see the church under the
beginning your fourth church under a tree. What’s next?
As God gives me resources again, those riches are being used only for
His work. Look, I have seen all that this world has. Now I only want to get His
directions and go where I find souls to be won for Jesus. That excites me! I am
going to heaven, what more could I want here?