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Daniel Khumalo. Gone to be with the Lord. 12 August 2021

August 21, 2021

It was a shock to hear that a dear brother in the Lord had passed away on the 12th August following two days with cough like symptoms. Any more than this we do not know. He was in his senior years. He lived in a mud house in an alpha called Alpha village. He would do his own subsistence farming and sell some of his vegetables to the local community. Sometimes he would complain that people in his community would steal some of his vegetables. He was a hard working, humble man who loved the Lord. He had planted all sorts of things, from Banana trees, to mealies (maize), to pumpkin, to guavas, to peaches, to amadumbe (a kind of tuber, like a very small taro). He would try to water all his crops with the little water they would collect from the dam, when it had water though sometimes there was no water. He had lived without electricity until a few years back and they never had running water. One day I saw that he had planted two pineapples. I asked him if he had ever planted pineapples before. He said that he hadn’t but wanted to try. Eventually there was a small pineapple and I bought one off him and it was the juiciest pineapple I had tasted.

We first met Daniel Khumalo, or Mkhulu (Grandfather) as we affectionately called him, in July/August 2010. We had made friends with a guy, called Jabulani, from Alpha. I was asked to pray for Jabulani when he was too weak. A week later I visited and found out that Jabulani was feeling a little better and walking about. I tried to witness to him and speak about ancestral spirits but he didn’t look interested. When he visited a week later, Jabulani was so open about hearing it and was agreeing with everything I was saying. Then Jabulani shared that he had prayed and God had showed him in a dream that the other pastors were preaching lies. Upon being asked when he got that dream he said it was the day after I last visited. 3 weeks passed without seeing Jabulani and when Salvador returned to speak to his family Jabulani turned round to them all and said, ‘There are no Ancestral Spirits!’ To which a girl replied, ‘There are!’ After sharing from the word about the subject, I handed out tracts about God’s deliverance. Jabulani came the following Sunday to church and that was when we first heard about Mkhulu. Jabulani said that he had shared with Mkhulu that he was teaching lies. Mkhulu said, ‘But the ancestors speak to us.’ Jabulani replied, ‘Yes but God tells us not to do it.’

When we picked Jabulani up, Mkhulu came and asked for the bible references about ancestral spirits. A short time after Mkhulu came to our church meeting and shared that he has changed his mind about ancestral spirits and has repented. We tried to encourage him that he did well to forsake these spirits but that he still needed to turn to the Lord to be saved, for Jesus alone saves; not the actions that we do for him. In one meeting with Mkhulu, he asked how it is possible that he can give his life to the Lord, for he was an old man and set in his ways. I shared about Nicodemus asking how it is possible for a man to be born again when he is old, and that the life we gain with Christ is a new one, to be received by faith. Mkhulu was certainly delighted to read this in the word. The following month, Mkhulu said that he had decided to follow. I said that was wonderful and asked when he decided to follow the Lord. He said “today”. Sal then asked “Have you asked the Lord to save you?” Mkhulu said he hadn’t. I then asked “Would you like to pray now?” To which he replied “yes”. We both dropped to their knees there and then and prayed. Later in the week Mkhulu came over with Jabulani to be baptised in a local river even though it was a cold day in KwaZulu. As we left the river, he said to me, “I left the old man back there.”

Mkhulu grew in his faith. He struggled at first to remember what he was reading in scripture but he was conscientious to follow the Word of God in his life and strove to maintain a good testimony before his community. He played loud gospel messages from his home so that people in his community would hear God’s word. His wife, Gogo, was initially reluctant to embrace the Gospel. But she also committed to following the Lord in August 2014 after many prayers. They also both acted in the film “Allegiance: Walking with the Dead”, which was also partly filmed in their mud house.

We regret that we will not get to see Mkhulu’s smiling face when we go to South Africa. We are so happy for him to be with his Lord and yet so sad that the Ibandla Lendlela Eyodwa Church, and the local community has lost such a testimony and encouragement. We mourn with Gogo and we rejoice with her concerning the unique, real hope that we have as believers. Other people get comfort from wishful thinking. They hope their loved ones are in a better place, as one hopes for something that one thinks could possibly be true but they cannot be certain. They have wishful thinking. But, as believers in Messiah Jesus, we have a sure and steadfast hope that is rooted in Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead, attested by eyewitnesses, recorded in scripture, and by Hostile extra biblical first century sources such as Phlegon and Josephus. We don’t hope as they world hopes. We hope with absolute assurance that our hope will not be disappointed. Mkhulu put his faith in Messiah Jesus, and the work Jesus’ accomplished on the cross in paying the price for our sins, and he turned from his old way of life to follow Jesus. The testimony of Christ’s life shone through at Mkhulu’s funeral. People apparently testified, even those that don’t follow the Lord, that they saw the change in Mkhulu’s life after he started following the Lord. Those of us, who also belong to Jesus, will one day see Mkhulu again when, either we go to be with the Lord, or when He comes for us.

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