Rev. Lucas Nwana José Banda was born in the Regedoria Cancumula of Chefe Calemba, Furancungo, Macanga, Tete. This is the northwestern province of Central Mozambique. He was the eldest son of Mr. Jossamo and Mrs. Joana C. Banda. His mother was very industrious and always kept her home neat and the gardens well cared for. Because of this she was disliked by some.
When Nwana was an infant of two weeks, his mother left him in the hut alone one evening while she visited in another hut. An enemy set fire to the hut in which he was sleeping. His father was away. His mother ran to the hut but the flames were too high and she failed to reach him. One of his half-sisters was not afraid of the fire and, risking her life, rushed into the hut and snatched him to safety. The hut and all of its contents were totally destroyed. Nwana came very near to death on that occasion.
His parents were very poor and were nominal Christians. When he was twelve they moved to the area of Chefe Camanula, and his father worked for the missionaries, Rev. Henry and Mrs. Lucy Best, at the International Holiness Mission. His parents were truly converted during that time. He began guarding the fields against the raids of the baboons and would take lunch to his father at the mission. It was a dangerous four kilometer walk through the bush because of the wild animals.
His mother died suddenly in 1944. He and his sister, Mustier, lacked proper clothing and had a difficult time living with his mother’s parents. They were poor and were not Christians. His job was to guard the fields. When baboons got into the crops, his relatives would curse him and deprive him of food. When he was seventeen he started school and found work at the mission for a short time fetching firewood. He attended Sunday School, learned to pray and began to respond to God’s Word. He wanted to be a teacher.
In 1949 Banda went to Sorrel (Salisbury /Harare) in Zimbabwe and worked on a farm ploughing and pumping water for the cattle. In 1951 he did housework but his employer treated him badly. While the lady was in town one day Banda stole a file from a drawer and left. He took a train to Bulawayo but had a very difficult time and found no work. Returning to Salisbury he worked as a sales person in a store and then learned to cook working in a kitchen.
Back at home Banda first repented at the fusion meeting with the Church of the Nazarene in 1953. He became engaged and then went to Beira where he worked on the railway. He married Aneli in 1955. They had a child, Line, the following year and were very happy but he would sometimes beat Aneli. They went to Salisbury where he worked in a factory. Then for two years they lived in Lusaka, Zambia, where he sold sewing machines.
He was once hit by a car and hurt his legs so badly that he was crippled for a time but God helped him to recover. In 1957 they returned home and Banda worked at the mission and started attending secondary school. God was speaking to him and he was able to go to Tavane Bible College in Gazaland in 1958. On the evening of November 15 some of the students were testifying and Banda realized his spiritual need. He began to pray and truly repented. He really found the Lord fully and experienced great joy. In 1960 he began helping a pastor. After that he began feeling very much at war with his old self until:
On that great day of June 21, 1961 on a Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. I was delivered. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and I determined to serve only the Lord with my whole life. I experienced a change I could not explain. I no longer felt a spirit of pride or the need to have my own way. I was able to control my anger and other problems that I had. I was filled with love for God and all people. I saw my duty to God. I was blessed in prayer and home visitation and still have that blessing today. While still in college I began to win people for the Lord. A great burden came to my heart that has remained till today. At times it became so heavy that it seemed to nearly kill me. I would be sorrowful in heart and spirit and tears would come to my eyes. So great was my desire to win people for the Man of Calvary. I was ready to help those doomed to go to Hell.1.
After completing a four-year Bible College course at Tavane, the Bandas returned to Tete. With Matias and Sara Beta, they started a two-year Bible college there. Lucas Banda was ordained by General Superintendent Hugh Benner in 1967. Unrest forced them to evacuate the area in 1970, and in September the College (forty-eight people) travelled by bus to Tavane.2. He served as assistant to the Dean, Noé Mainga, at Tavane Bible College until 1973.3. The Bandas pastored at Mavalane and other churches on the Maputo District until 1982. Then they returned with their twelve children (six boys and six girls) to continue work in Tete. Rev. Lucas Banda is now retired and lives in Chimoio (1995).4.
Paul S. Dayhoff
Lucas Banda, biographical sketch and testimony in Tsonga (sent by Lorraine Schultz, 15 July 1963).
Lorraine Schultz, Mozambique Milestones, (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1982), 83-85.
Theodore P. Esselstyn, Cut From the African Rock: A Portrait of the Church of the Nazarene in Africa - 1974 (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1975), 126.
“News Item,” Mutwalisi (The Herald), Shangaan/Tsonga magazine of the Church of the Nazarene in Mozambique and South Africa, (Florida, Transvaal, South Africa: Nazarene Publishing House, August 1982), 5.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Living Stones In Africa: Pioneers of the Church of the Nazarene, revised edition, copyright © 1999, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.