Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)
TITLE: Zeal for the Lord Consumed Him
By Donna Haug
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I looked around me. The mud hut church with the humble thatched roof stood bravely in the blistering sun. A mango tree towered nearby and provided shade for our teaching. Pastors and leaders from miles around had come to receive theological training and hear very practical teaching on how to pastor a congregation. None of them had ever been to a Bible College. Many did not even have an elementary education. The excitement in their eyes was contagious. They milled about talking with each other and lovingly caressing their new Bibles.
Something within me stirred. I had come with a team to do two weeks of special ministry in this province so very far away from the capital city where we lived. Sweat poured down my back in rivers. I slapped at the mosquitoes, which were not only a constant nuisance, but a danger as well. Malaria was rampant in this area. It had taken us 4 hours just to get to this place. A good part of the journey was intense four wheeling. Yet, my heart was filling with compassion for these men.
Pastor Inlicomala continued pleading his case, “I have traveled most of the province of Zambezia on foot. I have walked for days to reach some of these places. You could get there so quickly with your truck.” I could attest to the fact that he knew the province like the back of his hand. As we drove, he would give me the date and circumstance surrounding the last time he had been down that road to a certain village. The man’s memory was incredible.
“Part of our prayer was answered when Pastor Rex and Sister Rita moved here a year ago to start the Bible College. What a blessing they are.” He referred to our fellow missionaries who had moved to this province a year before. “But the need is larger still. We need someone who can take the training out to the pastors who cannot leave everything and come to the Bible College. Please consider coming to Zambezia. We need you.”
A year later, with God’s call burning in my heart, I moved my young family north to the province of Zambezia. Pastor Inlicomala now traveled with me on weekend trips to churches many hours away. Together we would teach, encourage, admonish and give guidance to the churches and their leaders. On each trip, I would hear more about the early days of his ministry. He told how difficult it had been through the war. He spoke of struggles and triumphs, and of how God had answered his prayers in miraculous ways. His zeal for the gospel challenged me.
Soon, the old man began mentioning that he was not well. After months of discomfort and pain, he finally discovered the terrible truth. He had prostate cancer. At this stage, no one could do anything for him. Pastor Inlicomala had spent many years laboring for the Lord. He struggled and persevered through situations that I cannot even imagine. Now, at the end of his life, he lay on his straw mat in his little mud hut surrounded by a patch of corn – the only thing in the world he could call his own. He suffered through his last days in agony. Every day, young pastors would come by to visit him, and he would pray with them.
Just recently, Pastor Inlicomala finished his race. He kept the faith until the end. He labored with every bit of strength he had for the sake of his Lord. Today he is in heaven with the Savior he loved and served so well. I have no doubt that he received a hero’s welcome home, and heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest!”
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