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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: Zeal for the Lord Consumed Him
By Donna Haug


“Pastor Marcos, we need you to come to Zambezia and help us. For years we have been praying that God would send someone, and I believe you are the answer to our prayers.” Pastor Inlicomala had pulled me aside during one of the breaks in our weekend of seminars. He stood tall and straight. The intense eyes in his dark-chocolate colored face twinkled as he smiled. His jet-black hair belied his age – well into his seventies. Only later did I discover black shoe-polish was the secret to his youthful look. “We need someone who can get out into the villages to visit the churches and to train our pastors. Someone young, with lots of energy. Someone like you.”

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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This article has been read 1267 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/08/06
This is a fascinating article--and I was especially taken with the "black shoe polish" detail. It's little bits like that which distinguish special writing from good writing--and this is special.
william price12/09/06
I could have easily been reading this in any number of magazines; meaning the quality was fantastic, very informative, moving and inspiring. Great job. God bless.
Joanne Sher 12/10/06
Extremely interesting and well-told. Your detail does much to add to the reality of this story, and your voice was perfect. Excellent job!
Betty Castleberry12/11/06
This is informative, and an easy read as well. Good attention to detail, and well written.
Cheri Hardaway 12/11/06
Incredible description and detail. Superb job! Blessings, Cheri
Donna Powers 12/11/06
This was wonderful. I could see the scene vividly. Extremely well written and informative. Thanks for sharing it.
Sharlyn Guthrie12/11/06
I always enjoy reading your African tales. This one was superb. Thanks for sharing.
Lynda Schultz 12/11/06
This one would have worked perfectly for this week's challenge: Unsung Hero. Is there a sequel? Good job.
Catrina Bradley 12/12/06
Well done - I was there in Africa. Great story, and moving (in more ways than one.)