In December of 2013, Kwenda was ordained and sent out by Kabwata Baptist Church to become pastor of Choma Central Baptist Church – initially planted in 1987 – in Choma, which is midway between Lusaka and Livingstone. Kwenda and his wife Miriam were married in April of 2015.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up as a very religious person. For me, Christianity was about church attendance and doing good things. I was known to be very zealous with regard to church matters. I even held the position of Chairperson in a Scripture union while I was in high school. However, I still felt there was a void in me that needed to be filled. I also did certain things that really made me question my religiousness. Despite all my “good deeds,” I felt I was not connected to God. I visited several churches in my zeal, but none really taught the clear way of salvation.
The turning point came in early 2005 when I attended Faith Baptist Church in Chudleigh, Lusaka. The preaching there was different. The preacher preached salvation in a way that I had never heard. He emphasized that one must come to terms with his sin before he can call himself a Christian. He spoke like a messenger sent to speak to me. He also said that good works and church attendance could not save.
I wondered if it were possible that I could have not been a Christian for so many years. I just couldn’t believe that the good things I was doing were in vain. “It can’t be,” I would say to myself. But when I looked into the Bible to follow what the pastor was saying, it became clear that salvation is by faith. I wanted to hear more, so I continued to go back to the same church. And the pastor kept at it. Whenever he preached, it was like a spear was piercing right through my heart. I kept thinking about the sermons for several weeks. The spear kept piercing.
Finally, one morning after the service, the piercing was too much. I returned home, went to my room, and pleaded for Jesus to forgive me of my sin and take residence in my heart. I have never been the same. By His grace, I keep growing day by day. In the words of the hymn writer:
“Heaven came down, and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross my Savior made me whole!
My sins were washed away,
And my night was turned to day!
Heaven came down, and glory filled my soul!”
Call to Ministry
I sensed the call to ministry soon after my conversion in 2005, though things became clearer in late 2006. After having preached on a few Sundays at church, several people started asking me questions about whether I had considered being a minister of the Gospel. I would usually laugh it off and say, “No.” However, whenever I was alone, I could sense the desire was there and that I was running from something that God wanted me to do. One thing that really made me consider my call seriously was the part-time job I had at that time. I would often see and hold large sums of money, but there was no drive in me to pursue a job that would be paying such amounts of money. I felt there was something else that I desired to do. God wanted me serve Him.
I must admit that I struggled at first to put both my feet into it. I was worried about so many things. The first was my family. Many expected me to pursue something that would earn me a good salary. It was the obvious direction for me to take, because my grades in school were pointing toward it. Another concern was livelihood. How was I going to earn a living? The pastoral office is a matter of sacrifice. You may receive an income, but sometimes you may not and will be required to do “tent making.” Something else that bothered me was not being able to go into the school of medicine. I had always wanted to be a medical doctor. Going into the ministry meant that I would have to set this aside. I also was known to be a shy person and someone who did not socialize much. This worried me because I knew I would have to be talking to people quite often. How would I manage this? A final reason for my anxiety was that I was very young: only twenty years old. How could I faithfully shepherd people who were twice my age? I would ask myself often, “How can I do this?” It was a difficult time.
The turning point came as I read through the book of Exodus. I came to the part where God was talking to Moses at the burning bush in chapter three. Moses was fearful of going to lead the Israelite’s, and he gave all the excuses he could find. But there was one phrase in that passage that made me realize that the battle was not mine: “I will be with you.”
After much prayer and consideration, I found that I had no reason to hold back if God would be the One leading me. I trusted that He would provide and that He would protect and guide me. This is when I decided to enter Bible College. I did my bachelor’s degree in Biblical Theology at Central Africa Baptist College and graduated in 2009.
I am now serving as a missionary pastor, sent by Kabwata Baptist Church to the town of Choma in the southern part of Zambia. I was ordained as pastor on December 2, 2013. So far I can say, “The Lord has been my guide.”