Steven Lungu a leading African evangelist and former international team leader and CEO of African Enterprise passed away in Lilongwe, Malawi today from Covid-19 complications.
The evangelist, whose powerful testimony of how God transformed him from a bitter freedom fighter to a global evangelist has touched multitudes of people around the world, is the latest high-profile person to die during a current resurgence of the pandemic in Malawi. Last week two senior cabinet ministers, two other senior political figures and a number of church leaders succumbed to the disease.
Stephen’s wife, Rachel, a devoted intercessor and mother to their six children, also has Covid and is currently isolating in Lilongwe, Gateway News learned yesterday.
Stephen was buried in Lilongwe this afternoon.
In an interview with Gateway News today evangelist, author and founder of African Enterprise, Dr Michael Cassidy, said he was very sad at the news of the passing of his “beloved friend” and colleague Stephen who succeeded him at the helm of AE. He said after hearing about a week ago that Stephen and Rachel had Covid-19, he heard yesterday that Stephen was improving “and the next thing today I heard he had gone to be with the Lord”.
He said that during the day he has been getting messages of sympathy regarding Stephen’s passing “from all over the world, as far afield as Australia”.
“He was much-loved and he had preached all over the world — even at places like the Oxford Union and the Pentagon. As well as in shacks and villages.
His book Out of the Black Shadows was one of the most popular Christian autobiographical books published. People love the book and are deeply touched by it,” said Cassidy.
Commenting on Stephen’s ministry, which continued relentlessly until he caught Covid, Cassidy said: “He never stopped. He had a vehicle that he got in South Africa and he just went everywhere — church after church into the boondocks, places where you couldn’t go with normal vehicles.
“I’ve never known anyone with such energy and passion for non-stop preaching of the Gospel and non-stop witnessing. I never knew where he got the energy from.”
In a tribute to Stephen Lungu which he penned to be shared at the funeral ceremony, Cassidy wrote:
“Beloved Mama Rachel, all the Lungu family, all AE colleagues and multitudes of Stephen’s friends around the world, it is my great privilege to pay this heart-felt tribute to my beloved friend, successor in AE as international team leader and colleague in the Gospel, Stephen Lungu, who has today gone to Glory to be with the lord he served so faithfully.
“I send to you all the deepest sympathy on behalf of my wife Carol and myself, and everyone in the AE ministry worldwide.
“It must have been an enormous shock to you Mama Rachel and the family, when you got the news earlier today of Stephen’s death. I must say I have felt absolutely stricken in my own spirit since I received this news. Stephen was one of my most loyal personal friends and long-standing colleagues in the AE ministry. He was of course my successor as international team leader and CEO of African Enterprise, a role in which he distinguished himself on all fronts as a leader of the work, a frontline and highly effective preacher, as well as an accomplished fund-raiser.
“In the midst of all this he was a deeply dedicated family man and, Rachel, he loved you dearly, as well as the family, and he always spoke fondly of you, even sometimes in his preaching. We know you and the family will feel the loss of him profoundly but we are trusting that his Lord and yours will fill your hearts with divine comfort and a wonderful sense of his Presence.
“I have known many preachers over the years in African Enterprise, and beyond it, but I don’t think I have ever known a more passionate and endlessly energetic preacher of the Gospel than Stephen. None of us could ever match his energy or his day and night sharing of the Gospel, whether from public platforms or in shops and restaurants.
“To be sure there will be thousands and thousands of people in heaven because of Stephen Lungu. These will range from ordinary citizens and common people to leaders in high places and to teenagers and little children. Young people, and of course older ones, were always heart-warmed by his infectious smile, rollicking laughter, all with his sparkling white teeth shining through!
“His marvellous sense of humour and his dramatic testimony was exceedingly effective in university and high school missions. Alan Smedley, Chaplain of Michaelhouse, a prominent private school in South Africa, said that ‘the whole school, every single boy, responded to Stephen Lungu when he came to the school.’ That kind of thing happened all over the world.
“I will always remember the night in the early 1980s when Stephen interpreted for me in a Malawi Keswick Convention. I was always convinced in that sermon that Stephen was preaching a much better message than I! Afterwards we sat together in a little Volkswagen where I felt constrained to invite him into African Enterprise. Not long thereafter Stephen joined us and became a frontline preacher and ball of fire for Christ preaching the Gospel all over Africa, and around the world, sometimes in astonishing places, such as the Oxford Union, and even the Pentagon!
“Thankfully his story and message has been written up for us as a legacy in his autobiography ‘Out of the Black Shadows’ and in other books, CD’s, and on film. So his witness will continue for decades to come. [SEE VIDEO CLIP AT BOTTOM OF PAGE OF STEPHEN LUNGU’S AMAZING TESTIMONY]
“Perhaps I should now tell you that I had asked Stephen to preach at my own funeral, and he had agreed. So he is a naughty boy to have died ahead of me!!
“We close assuring Mama Rachel and the family and the Malawi team of our prayers and deepest sympathy at this time.
“And, beloved Stephen, enjoy heaven with your Lord and we look forward to seeing you there.