COMMITMENT

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.”

Stain Musungaila

Why are you taking

pictures of so many people?”

“These

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?

No.

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

you?

My

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

about it.



Did your wife

notice anything?

She

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?

Yes,

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?

I

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

totally poor!



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?

I

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.

God

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

driver?

“If you are the real God,” I said, “I’m not giving up. You have to demonstrate to me who you are!”

A

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?

God

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

answered.



Part of getting your van repaired included an offer of a new

job.

Yes.

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

tree.



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."

I

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

she really

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

tree.



You’re now

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?

Dick Duerksen

Storyteller in Words and Photos:

Maranatha Volunteers International

dduerksen@maranatha.org

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