Eulogy for Wilson Nkhoma
May 29, 2015
Larry Darden was in Zambia when our pastor Wilson Nkhoma died on May 26, 2015. We are all shocked and saddened. We are grateful that Mr. Darden was able to be in Zambia to represent all of us who loved and worked with Wilson over the years. Here are the comments he delivered at the funeral on Friday, May 29, 2015
My name is Larry Darden and I serve as general legal counsel for United Church of God, an International Association. I happened to arrive here in Zambia last Tuesday for a short stay before going on to Malawi on Church business. I had planned on seeing my friend Wilson alive on Wednesday, but instead ended up going to his funeral house that day. News of Wilson’s death on Tuesday night came as a shock and a surprise.
Now I am here today to serve as a representative for the United Church of God, IA in the U.S., which employed Wilson Nkhoma as pastor of the United Church of God congregations in Zambia until his retirement just last February of this year.
Other leaders of the Church in the United States expressed a desire to also be here, but there was simply not enough time to arrange for and make the 30+hour long trip from the Home Office in Ohio and be here for Wilson’s funeral today.
In his absence, the President of United Church of God did ask me to read the following tribute to Mr. Nkhoma:
“We regret not being able to be with you on this sober day. However, we are with all of you in our prayers and thoughts.
My first contact with Wilson Nkhoma was at an annual United Church of God convocation in September or October called the Feast of Tabernacles in Mapoko in 2006. He and many others were coming into the United Church of God and we drove over from our Festival site at a game park outside Lusaka to meet with the people in Mapoko. We both gave messages and spoke of the great hope that God has set before us. I will never forget the passion and intensity with which Wilson spoke on that day.
Then we casually met again at the Feast of Tabernacles in Verino in 2008 and 2010.
I really got to know Wilson Nkhoma well when I became the International Coordinator for the United Church of God congregations in Southern Africa and visited Zambia in April of 2011. Wilson now, too, became pastor of all the United congregations in Zambia at a very critical time.
He took this responsibility very seriously and worked hard in caring for the brethren. He was always looking to see how to bring people together and he was successful. He was evangelistic in his ministry and took the Good News magazine and other church literature along with him whenever visiting in various parts of the country. For a while he was trying to arrange televising the Beyond Today television program on Zambian television.
His magnetic, approachable and welcoming personality attracted people. Whenever I communicated with him, he always spoke of new people he had visited and baptized. He was instrumental in bringing people back into the United Church of God from as far away as Chipata to Isoka. He was always sensitive to the needs of the brethren, both spiritual as well as physical. He was a good communicator and sent me exciting reports about the Church along with photos.
We will all miss Wilson. His warm smile and hearty laugh will be in my memory always. He was the man of the hour for the Church the past four years and much credit for the solidity of the membership of United Church of God in Zambia goes to Wilson Nkoma’s leadership.
Wilson, you have finished the course and a crown of eternal life is laid up for you. You did your job; that is your testament. We thank you. We know that you were not always well and had suffered physically, yet you continued doing your duty to God, going above and beyond.
We love you and look in hope for meeting again in the wonderful world of the Kingdom of God that you have worked for these years.