by Levi Keidel
The last night Levi Keidel spent with Pastor Maweja was on August 27, 1974. They slept in a room of the Protestant Centre in Kananga, Zaire. It was a restless night. Maweja got in and out of bed repeatedly. Finally he spent a long time closeted in the lighted bathroom. Keidel began to wonder if Maweja was worried that he might have shared too many intimate experiences. At 5 a.m. Keidel turned on the light, thanked Maweja for his collaboration, and assured him that he would not reveal information of a nature which could damage his ministry. Following is Maweja's reply.
No, Levi; I'm not worried about the things I've related to you. I want to speak of matters which give me great heaviness in my heart. I have a burden which I want to share with the people of America.
The distress I have is about the Church; the burden I carry day after day is for my fellow-Zairians who are Christians. How can we find those who will renounce bondage to their sins and serve Jesus with all their strength? How can we bring them to the place where they will submit themselves to God in the manner He expects? After we have worked on this earth the years of our lives, what kind of people will we have in our hands to present to Christ?
There are a few who give me great joy: Pastor Nkashala in the capital city; Pastor Kabangu at Katanda. Do you remember Likasi, the city where I was first in prison for six months? Pastor Mbayi, a child I have born in Christ, is working there now. Three elders also are struggling hard to follow my footsteps. When any of them stands before a crowd to teach, people say, “He's a child of Maweja; we'll feed well today.”
I can't judge what is going on inside a person. But among our pastors, I don't see many who have truly submitted themselves to the rules of the Spirit and are echoing the life of Jesus. Greed, rivalry, jealousy and gossip are still found among them.
When an important government authority from Kinshasa comes to visit our city, officials send word: “We want Maweja to come to represent the church.” Some pastors say to each other, “That meek Maweja; does he have the kind of demeanor which will properly represent us to leaders of our government?”
Children imitate their parents. So Christians imitate their leaders. The Bible says, “You have taken off your old manner of living which was being rotted by lust; you have put on the new man which imitates God and is being created in righteousness and purity” (Ephesians 4:22-24). I used to talk, see and think like the devil. But now that I am baptized and have put on Christ, who am I acting like? If we still fornicate, lust, fight and compete, where is the sign that we have taken off our old manner of living? Where is the sign that we are strangers in the kingdom of an enemy?
People are content to remain in bondage to sin because they don't have spiritual eyes. Man lost the eyes of his spiritual senses when our ancestors obeyed the words of Satan in Paradise. Man hasn't been able to see since.
Jesus called the Pharisees “blind leaders.” They said, “We're blind? Look at all the pretty buildings here in Jerusalem. This youth is telling us we're blind? He's insulting us.” Jesus said, “I came that those who see be blind, and that the blind may see” (John 9:39). Jesus came onto earth for this purpose: to return to us the eyes we lost in Eden.
After Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road, Ananias gave him new eyes; then he could see the truth of his past, present and future. Then Jesus told him, “I'm sending you to the Gentile tribes to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God (Acts 26:16-18).
To bring people to the place where they will open their hearts is hard. Jesus said, ”He who hears my commandments and keeps them, my Father will love him; we will come into him and make our home inside of him” (John 14:23). They refuse. Because if they obey, their new eyes will give them knowledge that will demand that their whole manner of living be changed into the love path. We can't pull them there with the strength of our arms and bodies; we can't bribe them to come there by putting money into their hands. It is something they must say “Yes” to; then God puts it inside of them.
My heart was weighted with this burden when I went to America. There I saw rows and rows of people who had gone to church all of their lives until their hair was white and their bodies were feeble. I heard them pray. I saw the hospitals and schools and homes for old people that their money has built.
When I got back home, I was thinking much about these things. Some important people among us have money. Do we ever hear that one of them has built a hospital or church or school building? No. They build nightclubs and bars ... places which bring rottenness into society.
Do we have those who persevere in going to church until their heads are white? A few. Most persevere in drinking, adultery, pride and factionalism. What glory is in being experts in such things?
Now some among us have even arrived at not wanting to acknowledge God. What of value is left in a tribe when it no longer has God?
When I remembered what Christians in America are doing, and saw how we in Zaire are, I cried out to God, “When will we come to be like that?” He showed me that you have known Him for centuries; there are roots so long and so deep that His business has gotten into your blood and skin and bones. It took Him many years to deliver me from bondage. With the passing of more years, He will deliver others.
So we strengthen our hearts in the war we wage. We strengthen our hearts in the work we do. But inside myself, I am always mourning. Sometimes I don't sleep well at night. I'm pleading with God that He will give us a few thousand believers in Zaire who have received spiritual eyes, who have subdued their demons of sin, and who rejoice to be slaves of Jesus with us.
I have shared with you my burden. I leave you with a debt: Pray for us in Zaire.
This web site is a service of
Chapel Site: Home of David Wilkerson's
Times Square Church Pulpit Series