CHANDA MWENYA, Lusaka
BEING a Christian nation, it is not peculiar that Zambia has a large number of churches and several charismatic preachers, but one clergy is a bit out of the ordinary.
Bishop Norman Silumbwe, founder and overseer of Father of All Nations Ministries is that man.
Bishop Silumbwe, who has a small flock that congregates at a public school in the sprawling Chipata township in Lusaka is a self-confessed satanist-turned preacher.
The charismatic preacher, repented after several years of running a charm-propelled business that almost pushed him to near madness and premature death.
Today, Silumbwe is grateful for his fullness of life and repentance to Prophet Everisto Simfukwe of Holy Miracle Christian Ministries who rescued him from the shackles of witchcraft.
Nevertheless, Silumbwe’s “born again” life is not free of trouble, he is ready to die doing God’s work.
“After walking through the valley of darkness, practising witchcraft and later leaving that behind, my life has not been free of tribulations. I have been receiving numerous spiritual and physical attacks to test my new found faith. Thank God, I have continued to survive them by His grace, because I have submitted myself fully to Him and I will die serving Him.” says Bishop Silumbwe in his raspy but composed voice.
“I have gone through a lot of temptations since I turned away from my old ways of witchcraft to become a servant of God. I recall, one night, I dreamt of an old man who asked me whether I wanted to have some spiritual eyes which he had given to some of my colleagues doing ministerial work, but the dream was a complete nightmare. I realised that the offer was not coming from God. I refused the offer, I told the man in my dream that I was not interested as I was now serving the God of Abraham.”
“Today, you may wish to know that some clegymen are using witchcraft to preach, prophesy and even perform miracles, but remember that , everyone can do that. In Genesis 1: 28 the bible says, God gave man the power to be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth. It is that very pronouncement which gives every man the ability to perform miracles, whether one is a believer or not,” said Bishop Silumbwe.
Bishop Silumbwe’s passage to become a servant of God gained momentum when his story “A hawker who sold his soul to the devil” was published in the Sunday Mail in 2016.
The graphic story of his involvement in witchcraft and his eventual repentance provoked an avalanche of inquiries from people across the country.
A number of people who had read the story wanted to know and meet the man who had once sold his soul to the devil, others just wanted to test his new faith.
But there was one person who had a more distinctive liking of Silumbwe’s story, Bishop Simon Liche of Imagination Ministries of Lusaka’s Garden township.
“I received a call from Bishop Liche, who informed me that he had read my story in the Sunday Mail newspaper and that he wanted to hear my testimony in person.
They met and bishop Liche found out that Bishop Silumbwe had an interesting testimony and it was then that they agreed the new convert attends Bishop Liche’s fellowship so that he gets to know more about his spiritual life.
They met several times and bishop Liche advised that Bishop Silumbwe be ushered into ministry. The meetings formed the basis of his training for ministry.
And after intensive mentorship, Silumbwe was ordained on August 26, 2018.
“Yes, I was ordained by Bishop Liche, as the founder and overseer of Father of All Nations Ministries. I really don’t know how I came up the name of my ministry, but it is spiritually inspired by Genesis 17:1-5. I have a small congregation of about 40 members and we convene for prayers in room 11 at Chipata School-Chipata compound.
He warns that not all the churches mean well because some of them are agents of the devil who want to destabilise the church.
“Because they know that I have been there before (practising witchcraft); they have not been at peace with my church and ministry.
“For me, I don’t meander and beat about the bush in my preaching; sin is sin. There is nothing like; “Kwimba kati kusansha na lesa. – Loosely translated: you can worship God and employ traditional remedies.
“Get it from me; the two entities never work together. I transcended that path,” says bishop Silumbwe.
There is no one who agrees more with Bishop Silumbwe than Bishop Liche.
Bishop Liche admits Silumbwe’s passage to become a servant of God is a miracle fortified with a rare testimony, owing to the gravity of witchcraft he practised.
Bishop Liche said even if he was a sinner, he never practiced the evil of the magnitude bishop was involved in.
“Going to cemeteries to raise the dead for satanic rituals are the most dreadful and evil things one can ever do. Silumbwe had done some most frightening rituals,” says Bishop Liche, who has continued to support Bishop Silumbwe, in doing God’s work.
But for Bishop Liche, it is comforting for him to know from Bishop Silumbwe’s testimony that satanists never perform rituals on people who died as Christians because their graves were found to be empty.
He adds that it is frightening that satanist use those who had died in sin in their selfish rituals.”
CHANDA MWENYA, Lusaka