We are very thankful of our Zambia Baptist heritage! We stand in a long line of faithful men and women in Zambia who have held high the Word of God and called others to submit to its authority.
As a constant reminder of this heritage, we believe it fitting to dedicate our theological library at Central Africa Baptist College & Seminary in memory of Paul Kasonga, the first ordained indigenous Baptist pastor in Zambia.
On Tuesday evening 2 December 2014 during our Leadership Conference we had the privilege of dedicating our library The Paul Kasonga Memorial Library.
Dr. Conrad Mbewe, one of our conference speakers and a Zambia Baptist historian officiated the dedication ceremony. The following is Dr. Mbewe’s historical biography of Paul Kasonga.
PAUL KASONGA Kaputula Kasonga was born around 1902. Very little is known about him before he showed up at the doors of the mission school in Kafulafuta, near Luanshya, in order to pursue his education in 1916 when he was about 14 years old. He was converted that same year in July as he listened to various Bible lessons. But it was not until March 1920 that he was finally baptised and given the name Paul. He went on to train to be a teacher at the mission station.
Paul’s first assignment in 1921 was to teach the African wives and coloured children of a white farmer, J E Stephenson. He soon became a distinguished preacher and Christian leader. Many people came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through his ministry.
By 1931, Paul had become the distinguished indigenous leader of the Baptist work in Lambaland in Northern Rhodesia. The missionaries gave him the task of being the main preacher during their Sunday services at the mission station. The people heard him gladly. He used a lot of illustrations in his sermons. He also helped with translation work, including the translation of the first Lamba Bible. Paul was also a very gifted counsellor. Through him many marriages were saved from disintegrating, despite the fact that he never married.
One reason why Paul never married was that throughout his life Paul suffered from leprosy. It caused him to lose many years of active service, as he often had to be laid aside due to this illness. In due season he lost his fingers and toes. On many occasions he was given up for dead but the Lord in his mercy raised his servant up and thrust him back into active service. It was partly due to his health struggles that Paul became very strong spiritually.
Despite being incapacitated in this way, Paul Kasonga was an itinerant evangelist, going from village to village preaching the gospel. When Fiwale Hill mission station was opened and all the missionaries left to go there except for Olive Doke, Paul Ksaonga remained with Olive. Together with Anasi Lupunga, they laboured to build the work of the gospel in Kafulafuta.
Paul was finally ordained into the Baptist ministry of the Baptist Union of South Africa in June 1953, 32 years after he had already begun to function as the primary leader of the work in Lambaland. On that day, he was ordained together with Anasi Lupunga and Bob Litana. However, Paul only served for one year as an ordained minister. The leprosy got the better of him and on Tuesday 3 August 1954 he quietly slipped into eternity.
It is a real wonder what God did through his servant despite his infirmity. Today, we stand amazed that in this one life God fulfilled what he told his namesake two thousand years earlier, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). God used a leper to establish the foundations of the Baptist movement in Zambia. In honouring that man, we are simply honouring the God who used him mightily.
Often, God chooses what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chooses what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chooses what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Cor. 1:27-29). In Paul Kasonga, he proved this eloquently!
It was a privilege to honor the family of Pastor Bob Litana (shown here with Paul Kasonga standing behind and left). We gave a gift to Nkonde Mbumba the grand daughter of Pastor Litana. Nkonde serves as the Administrative Assistant to the Academic office here at CABC.
We praise God for our Baptist heritage! If you are in the Kitwe area, do stop through and visit our library! If you have theological books that you would like to donate to the library please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below: Dr. Mbewe presenting to Pastor Bob Litana’s grand-daughter Nkonde Mbumba during the dedication of the Paul Kasonga Memorial Library.