NEVERS Mumba says Zambia is a Christian nation because of the late German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s investment of faith.
In his farewell message to pastor Bonnke, Mumba said Pastor Bonnke took me up as his own son and believed in him before he even knew himself.
Pastor Bonnke, who drew huge crowds in Africa over decades of preaching, died aged 79.
“He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family,” his wife Anni Bonnke said in a statement.
The Pentecostal preacher oversaw more than 79 million conversions to Christianity, his organisation claims.
Mumba said: “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.”
He said 36 years later, Zambia became 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,” he said.
Mumba said he met pastor Bonnke for the first time in his 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,” he said.
Mumba said never in the history of the country had he ever seen an evangelist of such passion and anointing. He said he ignited a wave of revival which has never stopped to date.
“At his coming in 1981, it was said that Christianity constituted 45 per cent of the population. Today, Christianity stands at 96 per cent of the population and Zambia has become the only country on the continent to be constitutionally declared a Christian nation,” Mumba noted.
“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 organiers was killed in Chililabombwe in an accident which burnt down a CFAN truck. Reinhard himself flew back to Zambia and retrieved the body.”
He said Pastor Bonnke 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,” Mumba said. “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.”
Mumba said he asked for their counsel concerning his 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,” he said.
“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.”
Mumba said pastor Bonnke invited him to what he considered life changing events.
“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,” said Mumba.
Pastor Bonnke was born in 1940 in Königsberg, Germany. The city on the Baltic Sea is now called Kaliningrad, and is part of Russia.
He became involved in missionary work in Africa at a very young age and in 1974 founded the Christ For All Nations mission organisation, which was headquartered in South Africa and later in Germany.