shadows

This is the second extract i want to share from Stephen Lungu’s excellent book, ‘Out of the Black Shadows’ which i just finished reading [get a copy and read it and pass it on!] and this is from right at the end where he looks back over his life from violent rejected gangster to preacher and evangelist and it gives a glimpse of how God’s hand can be present all through someone’s life. This takes place after Stephen Lungu is chosen to be the new International Team Leader of African Enterprise, replacing Michael Cassidy:

‘Michael Cassidy came over to me after the meeting. He hugged me, and said, “Stephen, I have total faith in you. You will take this ministry through. And I give you Joshua 1.5: No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then, after Michael, nine more people came up to me separately that day, with the same verse from God for me. I concluded that God was trying to tell me something!

The International Partnership Board met for a service that night to commemorate my appointment. Michael spoke from Joshua 1. He said:

“We have the same God – but a new leader.

We have the same God – but a new river to cross.

We have the same God – but a new exhortation.”

That exhortation for AE, Michael went on, could be found in Joshua 1:16, 17, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses.”

It was an evening of joy and great excitement, but when I finally went to bed, I lay awake for hours, and wept.

I reached way, way back in my mind, down the long tunnel of the years. I saw the young frightened boy I had once been, screaming in panic for my mother who had abandoned me in the market place. In my mind’s eye, he slowly became the young boy confined behind wire in a chicken coop, covered with bird droppings, crying in misery. He faded, and then I saw myself as a young teenager digging a home in the sand below a bridge, scavenging in dustbins for rotting food in order to stay alive.

The kaleidoscope changed again, and now I saw the naive, hopelessly ignorant young man that I had been, doing violent, vicious things as a member of the Black Shadows.

My life had been doomed, hopeless. In the hate-filled streets of Salisbury in those days I would not have lasted many years.

The scene then switched again – and now in my mind I saw the brave Dorothea Missionaries set out in faith from South Africa in early May of 1962. I saw them work hard to put up that tent near Highfield Township. I saw Shadrach Maloka praying and preparing to preach. I saw, hundreds of miles to the south, two middle-class white Durban housewives kneel to pray in their kitchens on the night of 14 May 1962: “Lord, Jesus, bring one gang leader to know you tonight.”

And that night, 14 May 1962, Jesus had. He’d reached out to me, in all my misery.

14 May 1962. That same night., at midnight, as I had lain in my hole under my bridge, staring up at the stars, dazed by the knowledge of His love, Jesus had spoken to me: “I shall send you to the nations you do not know.”

And He had. From Africa to America, from South America to New Zealand, from the Middle East to Europe, I had been sent to the nations that I did not know.

Now it was 10 August, 2005, 43 years and three months after my conversion. Jesus was calling me to what I believe will be the final great step of my life: to follow in the footsteps of Michael Cassidy, to assume the great responsibility of International Team Leader of African Enterprise.

Jesus spoke to me again on this night also. He gave me the words from Joshua 1: 5,9:

‘No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you… Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Wherever I have been, Lord Jesus, wherever I will go.

You called me out of the black shadows, into the warmth of Your shining love.

You will never leave me. So I shall not be afraid.’

What a powerful story – do yourself a favour and get hold of the book and read the whole story of a life transformed miraculously by a loving Saviour.

[To return to the first part of this series and the short video of Stephen’s testimony, click here]

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