My name is Grace Gloree Tusamanda, and I was born in Zambia in a City called Kabwe Town. (Zambia is a mainly Christian Nation, with a population of about 18 million people. It’s peaceful and rich in culture and African Traditions).
I was born into a Catholic family; my parents believed in God, and I am very thankful to them for raising me to live a Christian life and to follow all the commandments of God, as well as to regularly attend the church on Sundays. It was always clear to me that going to church was not something to be negotiated, and in many ways my parents really impacted me to reverence God and to honour him. Although much of my early experience was religious in nature, there was a marked absence of the power of the Holy Spirit and not much emphasis on relationship with the Lord. The schools l attended were Catholic mission schools and I was given a good education there. At a young age then, l learnt the discipline of waking up early to pray, of working, studying and of being responsible for my actions. I am grateful for the start I had.
Upon completing my college studies, l started working in the Government department for the Ministry of Health as an administrative assistant in a big office. Materially l had almost everything but spiritually, l was empty, and there was a longing to go deeper in loving God, to have a relationship with him and a fulfilling life in that. In my heart l was missing something. Yes, l lived a life of obeying my parents and the Authorities, doing good and attending church, but l was so empty because there was no Jesus in my heart! All I had was religion, and the keeping of rules, to sustain me in trying to do God’s work.
Eventually though, change came. I had heard that a team of Evangelists had come for a week to carry out mission in our community. I was a teenager (14 years old), and my parents had said that we couldn’t go but somehow, we left the house, and we found ourselves being part of it. Without really knowing what was happening, l joined my sisters and cousins and encouraged my friends to go too. For me, this evening social gathering was exciting and amazing especially because there was loud music, dancing, singing, clapping and all manner of shouts which I was happy to join in with!
One of the Evangelists, (John Muzumara) preached the Word of God in a lively, powerful way, which was accompanied with signs and wonders, such as many people being healed as the power of God was demonstrated! It was my first time to see that power at work, and it left me so convinced in my heart that l needed to surrender my whole life to the Lord Jesus! The evangelist (Pastor John) spoke about hell too. In my heart l said, ‘l don’t want to go to hell’. He made the altar call, and without hesitation, l went to the front to publicly receive the Lord Jesus, as did many others. The Evangelist led us in prayer, we prayed the prayer of salvation loudly, and he started laying hands on us. When he laid hands on me, l fell down on ground! In that moment, he prophesied over me that the Lord would use me mightily and that the hand of God would be upon me. At the time, what he said didn’t really make any sense to me, and so l just stood up and we went home.
Following my experience that night, things became very difficult. My parents were not in agreement with me going to a church outside of Catholicism and I faced much persecution from my friends and family, but miraculously God intervened; I prayed hard that God would help, and l applied to go to Bible College in South Africa. God favoured me and I was given a scholarship, which enabled me to go (as I had no money at that time). God provided the money for an air ticket and a passport on the same day, and the South African Embassy gave me study visa permit within a week! At Bible College, I learnt a lot, and there, in South Africa, I was baptised, and a pastor called Isabel, who loved me dearly, supported me financially so that I could continue to live and study there.
This time brought a lot of new experiences to me – even going on the plane from Zambia to South Africa was a first for me. I trusted God and he helped me in every step l took. I was there for almost ten years studying, doing mission work, and serving in different churches. There is so much more that Grace has to share about mission and about the joy of sharing the gospel, but that is for.
Written by Grace Tusamanda
Grace is an evangelist and an Ambassador for Advance in Zambia, where she also works also as an executive officer at a university teaching hospital.