DURING the Leadership Conference hosted by the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (WCCRM) in April 1992 at the Camp of Faith in Okigwe, Imo State, the man of God, the General Overseer of the Movement, Pastor A.C. Ohanebo, gave an exhortation one of the evenings from Ezra 1:1-4.
In the course of the ministration, he declared: “God has given me the kingdoms of this world like He did to Cyrus, King of Persia. So, who is there among you, his God be with him, who will arise to take this gospel to the nations?”
Where he sat in the congregation, Johnson Iheoma Asota, a pastor in Orlu Diocese, was struck by the man of God’s challenge. There and then, the thought of being a missionary welled up in his heart and remained there. Later in 1996, he had a revelation in which he was told specifically that he had been made “an Evangelist to Zambia.”
When he woke up, he took the map of the world and located Zambia, and took special note of it. This vision remained alive in his heart for several years. And while in one of the North African countries, God reminded him of the vision.
And so, after sharing this vision with his Diocesan Pastor, Pastor Dennis Mpumechi, in 2001 and obtaining his blessing, he left for Zambia in 2002. He did not know a single soul in the country.
In Zambia, and faced with the daunting challenges of adapting and surviving in a strange land, Asota joined the Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, with the aim of seeing those that could be saved among them.
His usually stirring contributions during Bible-sharing sessions which always stressed right-living as an inevitable condition for making heaven, brought him under close scrutiny. But it also elicited the interest of some others (sincere seekers of truth) in him, and before long, several of them wanted to get close to him, to get what he has.
He was to later identify a group within the same Catholic Charismatic fold that referred to themselves as “The Intercessors” and were meeting regularly at a sister’s rented flat. Soon, they invited him to their meeting where he preached from a Watchman outline captioned: “Thou Son of Man, I Have Made Thee a Watchman,” and explained to them who really a Watchman was and the calling of the Watchman.
“As God would have it,” Asota told Charismatic Signs recently, “this group had had a ministration on the book of Ezekiel 33 and were even discussing it before I came in.
They were saying that the Lord had made them Watchmen, though they hardly understood what being a Watchman really meant. I then told them that the Lord had sent me to clear their confusion. And after the teaching of that day, they were made to understand what being a Watchman meant and demanded.”
The meetings continued regularly with Asota teaching them until several of them became born again. And as would be expected, their new lives, experiences and stand on several issues sparked off conflicts in the larger Catholic Charismatic fold in Mutendere Catholic Parish in Lusaka Diocese, as these new believers began to preach to other members of the group.
It was such that it attracted the attention of the Diocesan authorities, and caused the Catholic Bishop of Lusaka to dispatch four priests to come to Mutendere over the matter. By this time, several other converts had been won.
When the noise and persecution became so much, a man who was not even part of them gave them his house to use for fellowship, but soon, he came under serious threat of sanction from the Catholic Church authorities in order to compel him to sack them from his house.
But as God would have it, the same sister whose flat was being used earlier acquired a house of her own at Plot 230 New Hellen Kaunda, Lusaka, and happily gave out her compound for the construction of the fellowship centre of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement inZambia.
That sister, Violet Kaiche, is now the Women Leader of the WCCRM, Zambia, and was one of the participants of the last International Leadership Conference of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement held in Nigeria in January 2010 as well as previous sessions of the International Gospel Ministers’ Conference of the Hour (IGMC).
Johnson Asota is the only non-Zambian in the entire church, which is now fully registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs in accordance with the Societies Act Cap 119 of the Laws of Federal Republic of Zambia.
Stephen Banda is the indigenous pastor and is ably assisted by John Phiri. Both of them shared quality time with Charismatic Signs at the January 2010 WCCRM International Leadership Conference in Nigeria, and they spoke glowingly about the vision of the Watchman and the great zeal with which they were returning to Zambia after listening to the man of God, the General Overseer of the Watchman, to conquer the land for Christ. They shared several testimonies of what God was doing in the Church and how the Christian community in the land was already holding the growing Watchman Church in high esteem. These testimonies are being put together and would be published in subsequent editions of this magazine.
Although the Church could still be reached through its old address, it has moved to a temporary site at the Main Entrance of Jesus Army Headquarters, North-end of Hellen Kaunda, Plot 8666, Lusaka (Tel +260977815033; +260977774654).