By John Nyadaufe, Publications Coordinator
It may sound like a lie, but pay attention for a moment; it is reality. Sometimes people leave fine seats at good work places to serve God as pastor or other church leader. This is a clear explanation on the term obeying God’s calling: an individual who stops work that he or she does for profit in order to do the mission of God.
That is the life that Hesten Seda Mbuzi strives to achieve. He worked for the government of Malawi as a police officer, in various positions, for 21 years. But then, he made a choice to serve the Lord as pastor in-charge in the United Methodist church.
Mbuzi: In camouflage when he was a Police Officer.
Now retired from carrying a firearm, he feels good leading the congregation of United Methodists in Nsanje with a Bible and a hymn book in his hands as tools for his effective ministry.
Family and Education Background
Fifty-six years ago, Mbuzi was born into a family of 9 children; 6 males and 3 females. He hails from Chingondo Village, Traditional Authority N’gabu in Chikhwawa District in the Lower Shire. According to Mbuzi, after his first wife died in 1989, he married another and said he has 6 children, including 4 from his first wife.
Mbuzi did primary school education at Phanda Primary School in his home district from Class 1 to 6. He then continued and completed the primary level at Kamwendo Primary School in Chiradzuru where he was selected to Chiradzuru Secondary School. This was made possible because at the time he was living in Chiradzuru with his brother who was working as a cook at a European residence.
Although the idea was to stay with someone who could pay for his school fees, the plan collapsed after writing the Junior Certificate of Education examination. He dropped out of school due to financial problems. He started working as the bus conductor for United Bus Company and did this job from 1972 to 1974. During this time, he worshiped in the Evangelical Church of Malawi (ECOM) formerly known as Nyasa Mission and later moved to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi (ELCM), where he was an active lay person.
“I did not hold any position in either church but I enjoyed worshiping the Lord,” disclosed Mbuzi.
After working with the United Bus Company for three years, Hesten Mbuzi applied for a job in the Malawi Police Service. His request was granted and he was called for training at Kanjedza Police Training School in Blantyre. He then started working as the Administration Secretary, responsible for all the secretarial activities of police. This was the time he realised the presence of God’ call on his life.
Joining the United Methodist Church
But when did he join the UMC? His answer to this question was simple, he joined on 12 March 2009. Mbuzi explains how God called him into the church.
Mbuzi, right, assisting with baptisms in the Nsanje Circuit
“When I worked in the Malawi Police Service for 21 years, there was once a time when we were told to choose if we needed to continue working or resign. My friends decided to continue working but I found this to be my chance to go back home so that I could do other things, though I was strong enough to continue working. Maybe it was God’s call to serve Him,” narrated the man with intermittent grey hair in his head.
“My arrival at home fulfilled God’s will because I joined the church and attended different Pastoral Training Seminars. I was then approved to lead the congregation of Nsanje Circuit,” added the man of God. According to Mbuzi, the circuit currently has twenty-five local churches with a total membership of 1, 275.
He then proceeded to encourage other pastors to work for the Lord. He also said that others who feel like they are called by God to serve as pastors should go forth in this call to realise their wish for the name of Christ to be glorified.
“I always enjoy and feel God’s presence through these people,” concluded Mbuzi.
Nsanje Circuit Lay leader, Mpota Sandram, commented that pastor Mbuzi is a humble person who knows how to treat his people in a good manner and help them to grow spiritually.
“We support our pastor because he cares about the church and leads us to know love among each other as the main aspect of being a Christian,” observed Sandram.
The Malawi United Methodist Church has twenty-two circuits led by committed pastors from districts across the country. It has 19,500 members, including children. Most of the churches are located in rural areas, such as Nsanje, where transportation from one local church to another is a major challenge. This challenge affects Hesten Mbuzi as he tries to visit all the local churches regularly. However, Mbuzi is a fine example for all of the United Methodists in Malawi. God’s work may not be easy. In fact, the challenges may be great. But pastor Mbuzi shows that we can find great joy and fulfilment in life when we answer God’s call for each one of us.