Marshal is a church planter sent from Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Ndola to plant Mapalo Reformed Baptist Church in Chipulukusu, a neighborhood on the eastern part of Ndola. The work commenced in 2011 and is the first Bemba-speaking reformed Baptist church plant in Zambia.
Testimony of Conversion
I came to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through a preaching crusade of Pastor R. Bonnke in Livingstone, where I was studying at Hillcrest Secondary School. The meetings were in a yellow tent at the villa grounds. That was back in 1980. The sermon he preached was about making the good choice in life:
“Whom shall you choose between: Barabbas the robber or Christ the Messiah; Hell or Heaven; The narrow way that leads to eternal life or the broad way that leads to destruction.”
That was the first time I heard an evangelical sermon so touching and persuading. Before this time, my life was full of deceit, drunkenness, smoking, lying, and indulging in almost everything that was wrong and evil. It was obvious that I was heading towards disaster in my life. I would have continued moving from worse to worst had it not been for God’s grace to save me. I was a chain smoker at the very tender age of fifteen. The addiction I had for cigarettes had gotten so deep that I even started to eat the ashes that fell off the cigarette.
When I was accepted to a boarding school in 1978, Hillcrest Secondary School, I joined up with the wrong people as friends, and they added to shape my life in a wrong way. Despite the filthy life I led, church for me was as usual – like everyone else, I kept myself busy on Sundays by attending the Roman Catholic Church. At times, the fear of hell and fire gripped me so much, but there was no change in my life. If anything, I attended church just to make confessions for my weekly sins and to watch the colorful priests in their ceremonial service. In the course of time, I also started to admire the priesthood. I thought I also could wear those colorful priesthood garments, and have all the small boys serve me in front of everybody.
But, on the particular day of July the 20, 1980, something unique started to work inside me. I was overpowered by a strange conviction over my sins and made a decision to choose Christ as my Savior, as opposed to Barabbas the robber. From that day onward, my journey of faith took off and a new life began.
Calling to Ministry
To name a few, I would mention that there are four things that led me significantly to pursue God’s will for my ministerial calling:
First, by God’s grace, I developed a strong measure of passion for the lost. This passion started growing within me – to feel so much for the lost that I realized that I was once like them, blind and foolish. So, I went out aggressively sharing the Gospel that had changed my life. I started to share the Gospel everywhere and any time. While at school, I shared the Gospel and my hope in Christ; I would share the Gospel in between class periods while the teacher went for break. I preached and pleaded with my fellow students about the love of Christ, and I reminded them of the consequences of rejecting Christ. My preaching, at a personal level, went on and on with unceasing zeal. People to whom I preached, and the other older Christians, saw my zeal and love for the Lord and started encouraging me, calling me “Pastor” when I was still at the secondary school.
Second, the positive response of souls being saved, and Christians being encourage with my sharing, continued to come from people whenever I preached or evangelized. This continued even after the time when I had left school.
Third, I also received great encouragement and support from men of God who were already in the ministry with whom I associated and had fellowship.
Fourth, the way the LORD also empowered me with physical skills to support myself with income, gave me opportunities to share the Lord Jesus to the lost. God has gifted me, with no formal training, with special handy skills and talents (such as light engineering, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, and tailoring) to support myself financially. This encouraged me to go on preaching and supporting myself without burdening people.