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2/11/2021 Zimbabwe (International Christian Concern) – Pastor Stephen Lungu died of coronavirus last month, January 19th, at the age of 78. The beloved pastor will be remembered by many in Zimbabwe as one of the greatest evangelists of his generation, whose testimony and passion for Christ has been an inspiration to countless believers. 

At five years old, Lungu was abandoned by his mother and sent to live in an orphanage where he was beaten on a daily basis. By the time he was 12 he was living under a bridge, addicted to drugs and the leader of a violent gang called the Black Shadows. Lungu remembers spiraling into a cycle of bitterness and hatred towards God, and made it his aim to terrorize Christians and kill anyone who carried a bible. “I had embraced the Marxist ideology because we were told that the Bible was brought to Africa by the white man to brainwash the Black people and make them slaves. I hated anything to do with Jesus.”

At 20 years old, Lungu planned for his gang to attack a tent church in the capital city of Harare, by setting off petrol bombs and killing Christians as they fled. “I want everyone inside that tent to die,” he told his friends, “At 7 PM I will whistle and everybody throw their stones and petrol bombs into the tent entrance”.

Minutes before the clock reached 7, Stephen entered the tent and was struck by the testimony of the young girl speaking. “There was a strange uncanny authority and resonance with which she spoke of forgiveness and a new start in life,” he said, “and I suddenly felt very dirty and shabby”. After her testimony, the preacher quoted 2 Corinthians 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.  Stephen recalled the significance of this moment: “Suddenly I began to understand what Christianity was all about… It was for someone like me!  I could identify with this Jesus.  He had suffered in all the ways that I knew so well. Poverty, oppression, hunger, thirst, loneliness.  I had known all of these, and so had he… My wages were death, but Jesus paid the price for me.  On the cross he had become a nobody that I could become a somebody”. 

Lungu accepted Christ as his savior that night, and began a new life preaching on the streets of Zimbabwe. He was discipled by Patrick Johnstone, a British missionary and author of “Operation World.” Lungu began a successful career as an evangelist, first at Dorothea Mission, then as the Malawi Team Leader at African Enterprise. In 2007 he became AE’s second International Team Leader until he retired in 2013. Lungu authored his autobiography, Out of the Black Shadows: The Amazing Transformation of Stephen Lungu, where he shares his full testimony. He is survived by his wife, Rachel, and their six children.

Stories like Stephen’s remind us that persecutors our not our enemy. They are made in the image of God just as all Humans are. They are in need of Christ as their savior and we are called to love them and preach the gospel to them. As Stephen is remembered, please lift up the many lost souls who attack Christians on a daily basis. Pray that they might come to know Christ and be saved.

For more information on the life and legacy of Pastor Stephen Lungu, visit

For interviews please contact Alison Garcia at [email protected].