Last year I was surprised to hear about 3 men who said they knew me who attended church while I was out. The next Sunday the 3 men came again. One was Nelson the manager of Shoprite the local South African supermarket here in Mazabuka, the other was Thompson Phiri a local businessman who had worked with my wife for a short spell and the 3rd was a man named Alpha, who I have known ever since I came to Mazabuka.
I met Alpha when I had troubles with my vehicle. Today in Mazabuka there are vehicles everywhere. When we first arrived they were scarce. I found myself needing to borrow vehicle to take care of the visiting evangelists I was having. I was directed to Alpha and he always had a spare vehicle for me. His father was connected to the Zambian embassy in Russia and did some importing of vehicles.
These 3 men had become the best of drinking buddies. I thought the guys were describing these three as the mystery visitors but I could hardly believe that they would all come at once. But sure enough it turned out to be them. Two of them got saved and have become powerful testimonies in this town about the power of God to bring deliverance. Alpha wasn’t ready to make a commitment. I have invited him to church over the years, visiting his house and driving with him for hours talking about the things of God.
Now that a school has started at the church, I always thought that Alpha would be the perfect man to help with the school. He attended university in Czechoslovakia and got a masters. It was many a morning that I would see him alone in a tavern doing some morning drinking. It was this past week that Alpha died in Ndeke clinic awaiting an injection for an asthma attack.
I visited the funeral house and prayed for his father and attended the funeral. I can’t imagine the pain the father went through in burying his only son. We were doing Sunday school on proverbs about health. I thought about these verses in relation to what Alpha’s father was going through: Prov 15:13 …But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Prov 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?
After church Mrs. Mubika who was a neighbor of the family years ago and was one of the women tending to the mother during the funeral came and told me of her experience at the funeral house the night before the funeral. The father had not been eating and at one point locked himself into a bedroom with a gun. It was Mrs. Mubika who gently talked him into opening the door and eventually give up the gun. The family appreciates our church and the people in the church. Thompson and Nelson preached and testified at the funeral house to an amazed group of onlookers.
Alpha’s last words to Phiri were: “I’ll see you in church Sunday”.