Yesterday morning I received word that a pastor friend of mine in Lusaka, Zambia passed away: Pastor Gerald Chirwa. While Gerald and I weren’t real close simply due to location issues, we did talk frequently over FB, and I had been to see him on a couple of occasions. Additionally, he has been a global partner with our church for over 11 years. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit can take even just a few moments and experiences with someone and create a bond that isn’t easily forgotten. Such was the case with Gerald, and I was saddened when I heard the news.
More so, I think about the hole that is left, humanly speaking, by is home-going. His wife/family and their many children, the church, as well as the orphanage and school there in the compound of Misis will all be affected greatly by this I’m sure.
As I reflected on the death of this fellow pastor and friend today, I went back to my trip journal of 2009 and read what I wrote after my first visit to his compound/village. You may find it too raw, perhaps even offensive. Don’t! It was his life and ministry, and he wanted to be there. Perhaps this simple paragraph will give you a snapshot into not only who Gerald was, but also where he served. My prayer is that his impact for God’s renown will remain and even continue in the lives of the many people following Jesus there in Misis!
From my October 14, 2009 entry:
“Most amazing today was our visit to Gerald Chirwa’s church in Misis compound. Words cannot express the mass quantity of kids and the mass quantity of trash. It was devastatingly crowded and unbelievably dirty. Seriously, I can’t really describe it. Even with the pictures, you just can’t imagine what he deals with daily. He has a good size church building, and it is clear he and his leadership are doing a great job. In fact, one of the neat things they are doing is providing water to the community. They have a well on the church property, and so they allow the families to come and get water. But you have to see it to understand it. It is a massive, disorganized mess of people surviving. That’s about the only way I can express what I saw.”
I am sure Gerald has already heard these words from his Master whom he served so faithfully — “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25)