Attacked With Acid
By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission
Banza Mwela, the pastor of a Sunday church in the Democratic Republic of Congo, nearly died when his wife and son doused him with skin-burning acid on the day of his baptism into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
But Banza, his face permanently disfigured, clung to life and today is an Adventist lay pastor preaching a powerful testimony that draws crowds to Jesus.
“I praise the Lord that I belong to the Seventh-day Adventist family and that the devil has been defeated”, Banza said.
The story began in October 2013 when Banza attended an evangelistic campaign in the southeastern city of Likasi. Keen to know more about Adventist doctrines, he enrolled in the pastoral training school at the local Philip Lemon University.
On the day of his baptism, Banza returned home, happily singing a hymn about the power of Jesus. As he entered the house, his adult son lunged toward him and threw a pail of sulfuric acid on his face and body. Blinded and burning with pain, Banza cried out in agony and crumpled onto the floor.
Banza’s wife and son, enraged that he had left their church, had plotted the attack and hoped that he would die on the spot, said Robert S. Muhune, president of the East Congo Union Mission.
“But fortunately a miracle happened”, he said. “The man didn’t die”.
Neighbors heard Banza’s cry and rushed him to the hospital.
Doctors weren’t sure that he would make it. He lost an eye and most of the skin on his body. He spent weeks in intensive care, and skin grafts and other reconstructive plastic surgery are continuing even now. The Adventist world church has helped cover the expensive operations.
Banza’s wife and son disappeared after the attack and are on the run.
While Banza remains in pain, he spends little time in the hospital bed. He actively shares his testimony in churches and at camp meetings. His favorite Bible passage is Isaiah 43:1-3, which he reads as he shares his story: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place”.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org
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