By Rev Dr Nevers Mumba,
No one knew who I was. I was a 21-year-old boy in 1981 studying to become an Artisan in our National Mining Company in Kitwe. Then Reinhard Bonnke came to Zambia.
Thirty-six years later I have served as Leader of Victory Ministries International and as the first member of the Clergy to serve as Republican Vice President of Zambia.
Thirty-six years later, Zambia has become the first and only nation in Africa to be declared a Christian Nation.
In early 1981, it was noised that a German Evangelist by the name of Reinhard Bonnke would Visit Zambia and was going to have a series of meetings in all the major cities of Zambia. He would start in my city, Kitwe. Within weeks, a ten thousand seater tent was erected and stood out as a new phenomenon in our city. At the time, I served as youth leader at the Maranatha Assembly of God Church under a Canadian Missionary Gary Skinner. For some reason, Pastor Skinner asked me to interpret for Pastor Bonnke in his first sermon at Church before the crusade opened later that evening.
I met Reinhard for the first time in my life in 1981 in the pulpit. He started to preach what I considered a basic message of salvation. In the middle of his preaching, he stopped and looked at me and made the following statement, “Eh, you are made out of the same stuff that I am made out of.” This singular statement changed my life forever. He asked me to continue to interpret for him the whole two weeks of the crusade. My heart was bonded to him and his message changed both my life and my city forever.
Never in the history of my nation had we ever seen an evangelist of such passion and anointing. He ignited a wave of revival which has never stopped to date. At his coming in 1981, it was said that Christianity constituted 45% of the population. Today, Christianity stands at 96% of the population and Zambia has become the only country on the continent to be constitutionally declared a Christian nation.
Reinhard Bonnke started this movement. He is a household name in Zambia. He focused his faith on Zambia for several years. CFAN sowed a human seed into the soil of Zambia when one of Pastor Bonnke’s closest crusade organizers was killed in Chililabombwe in an accident which burnt down a CFAN truck. Reinhard himself flew back to Zambia and retrieved the body. He called this loss, a seed sown in Zambia which would germinate and grow into full salvation of the nation. Reinhard wept.
As a Nation, we have a redemptive history with Reinhard and CFAN. Zambia is a Christian nation because of his investment of faith.
He took me up as his own son. He believed in me before I even knew myself. He sent me to Bible college at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas Texas and paid for it. Upon graduation, he mentored me and purchased the equipment I needed to launch an evangelistic ministry in my nation. While he carried the banner of Africa shall be Saved, I have carried the banner of Zambia shall be Saved to date. He was present in my life until he returned to the one who called him to Africa in the early hours of December 7th 2019.
In 1995 after he was guest at our Victory International conference in Lusaka, he said to me, Nevers, I am not coming back to Zambia after this. I asked him why, and he said because you are here and able to handle it. “You don’t need me” he said. He however mentored me from afar. He supported me both in prayer and finance for 36 years. In 1997, I was faced with a huge decision concerning joining the political process. I had two authorities to contact, one was Mrs Gordon Lindsay, President of Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas and Reinhard Bonnke, President of Christ for All Nations in Frankfurt, Germany. I asked for their counsel concerning my desire to join politics. It took Reinhard three months to answer but when he did, he was very clear that he had heard from the Lord for me to take my faith into the political process like Joseph of the Bible. He gave me his blessing to go into politics. Mrs Lindsay’s letter came much latter with the same response. Soon after that, I became Vice President of Zambia and now President of the former ruling Party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, preparing to run for President in 2021.
If Reinhard had not come to Zambia, maybe there would have been no Christian nation. If he had not come, there would have not been a Nevers Mumba who became the first Evangelist to become Vice President. Because he came, Zambia is, and I am.
Pastor Bonnke invited me to what he considered life changing events. He invited me to the 2000 Millenium Crusade in Lagos where he addressed his largest single crowd of 1.6 million people. I shed tears of joy at the sight of such a harvest of souls. He invited me to Orlando Florida to celebrate his fifty years of ministry in Africa and asked me to speak at the event when Pat Robertson could not travel for health reasons. He invited me for his last african crusade in 2017 in Nigeria but I could not travel in the last minute for political reasons. This was his way of mentoring me to the end.
My last emotional interaction with Reinhard was last year in April (2018) after he heard that I had been thrown in jail for political reasons. After my release he sent me a note not to give up. He also sent what has now become the last financial gift to “help” me after my jail experience. What touched me is that the gift came from his personal account. What type of love is this? God gave me the best mentor and the best spiritual father. He loved and cared till the end. I later found out that when he sent me his last gift, his health had started to fail him.
I am sure my story can be told by many Africans across this continent who have been impacted by this “African Apostle.”
79 million souls later, he now rests in the arms of the one who commissioned him to Africa. This legacy is unparalleled.
Just like Jesus stood up for Stephen when he showed up in heaven, I believe the Lord Jesus and the heavenly host have given a standing ovation as Reinhard makes his grand entry into heaven. Until we meet again. So long.
Africa Shall NEVER forget.