Charles Simoonga preaching after showing the Jesus Film in Tonga in a rural village

Over the last couple of years, it’s been a real privilege to support and get to know Pastor Charles Simoonga. Charles serves as president of Mufutuli Vineyard Ministries and pastors a number of churches in rural Zambia. He’s a tireless evangelist and pastor facing tremendous spiritual and physical need.

FBC Grand Cayman has participated in a short-term trip to Mufutuli for the last three years, supplying needed equipment for the farm, well water, medical missions, and participating in evangelism and preaching in the villages. It’s a life-changing experience and Charles’ example of faithfulness has a lot to do with that.

In my effort to be a better evangelist in 2013, I’m trying to draw encouragement from faithful evangelists. From time to time, I hope to share some of their anecdotes on the blog. Today, I’m posting this email from Charles. We receive notes like this every couple of weeks. I’ve smoothed out some of the English and spelling, but otherwise it’s a typical account of life for Charles.

Tired from Christmas evangelism marathon, a woman approached and asked if she could have a word with me. I was already heading  a different direction and wanted to speak with nobody. But something told me to listen to her. The  usual voice spoke to me to learn to listen and this immediately changed my plans.

Having sat, she narrated to me how her husband has oppressed her to the extent that their house was corrupting. Seeing how sensitive the matter was, I sent for her husband and when he came they both went into verbal war. Thank God, yes, He lives and this I pray to tell it to the mountains and beyond.

Carefully knowing how tense the two camps were, I labored as usual to teach them what they needed to do to be able to make their marriage work. How they should allow the spirit of God drive them as they encounter each day. Much was said. But my joy is the result of this couple, how they have learned to carry and conduct their  matrimonial home. The couple has been transformed. This was Thursday last week.

Saturday, the following, I was coming back from a certain woman when a another woman poured out her heart to me as how her husband no longer cares. According to her, her husband doesn’t like the baby of her late sister they are trying to bring up. The baby is 2 months old and needs extra care. The woman says with the help around she is able to handle this, but her husband has no heart for the child. Today I went there to talk to them to give us the child. Pray that they may do so. Again, the God who Lives used me to speak to this couple to take it easy, no fighting, for they have been doing this ever since  the arrival of the child in their midst.

Today I walked to another village to share my testimony to a man who received the Lord Jesus Christ on the Christmas evangelism program. As we walked taking the road up stream from Mufutuli, we saw a man lying down by the river under a tree. Moving close, I recognized the man and we helped him to his house. He was feeling very dizzy from tuberculosis pills which he took without proper food. Before we reached his house, we sat down under a tree where after a talk with him, he began narrating how his family has abandoned him. How even when he begged his wife to come back she doesn’t. He tries to fend for himself. Tomorrow, God willing, will give him a lift to the hospital at the border.

Yes, the great God lives. I’m seeing his might hand doing wonderful acts. there is testimony upon testimony.

Much for me to think about based on Charles’ update. It strikes me that Charles sees the hand of God at work in passing conversations and in the life of a man dazed under a tree. Man, how many people dazed on some street corner have I passed while noticing nothing of God in the situation?! And how many times have I heard that voice that says “Listen to him/her” only to shrug it off and choose that “important” appointment instead?! I’m sure that’s why I’m missing a number of divine appointments. I appreciate and am challenged by Charles’ fight with his flesh and his willingness to speak the word of life when he’d rather get some much needed rest. And perhaps Charles saw the opportunity because he was already on his way to share his testimony. So recognizing another opportunity was simply consistent with his agenda already. Or perhaps he saw the opportunity because, like the Savior, he’s a man full of compassion and sees the plentiful harvest and shepherdless sheep. As I said, much for my own heart to consider.

I pray this encourages you, too. How’s your effort at evangelism going so far in 2013?

When I think about my own start so far this year, I’m prompted to remember something: we’re not starting at perfection and trying to keep it. We’re starting somewhere far south of perfection and in dependence on the Holy Spirit and the Father’s grace looking to grow a bit. Happy fishing.

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Thabiti Anyabwile


Thabiti Anyabwile is assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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