Victor Chimfwembe was born on November 15, 1986 in Zaire – now the Congo DR. Victor was abandoned at birth and received no care for the first four days of his life. He was found in the streets by a nurse who took him in and cared for him for the next four years. During that time, the nurse and her family immigrated to Zambia, and Victor's name was changed from Kanyinda Wanzolu Nsendula Lwakuma to Victor Chimfwembe.
Victor's adoptive family experienced a great deal of domestic violence – at one point Victor was stabbed during a family altercation – and by the time he was nine years old, Victor had been turned out into the streets, where he became one of the many abandoned street children of Zambia.
Living on the streets was an incredible struggle – nowhere to sleep, constant hunger, and continual coping with the violence of the streets were but a few of the hardships that Victor experienced. Also, as a child of the streets he was unable to attend school until at the age of 16 a friend's family took him in and enrolled him in school.
Amazingly, Victor passed the 9th Grade exams and was enrolled in the 10th Grade. While in school Victor decided he wanted to become a journalist, but unfortunately by the time Victor reached the 12th Grade his friend's family had departed Zambia and Victor was forced to quickly find a way to stay off the streets. He found work assisting builders and bricklayers and attended a training school that provided him the education necessary to become a site foreman.
By 2008, Victor began to experience strong feelings that called him to learn more about God and what his place in working to build God's Kingdom might be. In 2009, Victor volunteered to work as a builder at a church in Kafue. He began to study scripture, and in 2010 he attended a teen mission boot camp as a tutor for youth who were interested in learning about construction. It was in this camp that Victor learned about teen missions, and immediately enrolled as a student.
As a result of his extensive Bible studies and his work with Teen Missions of Zambia, Victor came into contact with many people – both locally and internationally. Also, at this time, Victor met Helen, a 13 year old girl infected with syphilis. Her step uncle who was infected with HIV/AIDS believed, as did many people in Africa, that having sex with a virgin would cure his disease.
Victor took Helen, who at this point was homeless, under his wing, introduced to her appropriate medical care and along with three other street orphans brought her to live with him on his farm. These were the first residents of what is now Hallelulah House of Yahweh (HHY).
In 2012, A team of American women visited Victor's farm, and one of them, Marlys Materson, became his mentor. It was under Marlys' mentorship that HHY was formed as a not-for-profit organization. It was also during Marlys' time in Zambia that Victor left the Bible studies program and began a journey of following the Lord's call to work with abandoned children.
Today, HHY has church, a school, a first aid station, a farm, and a program to transport those in need to acute medical care to the local hospital. Victor is married to a beautiful wife, Racheal They have two daughters, Marlys Shekinah age 4 and Amariah June age 1. Victor is also the founding pastor of a second church farther out in the bush. The orphanage and these Christ centered churches offer love and hope to the many impoverished people living in the rural/bush area of Ndola.
On April 22, we will travel to Zambia to meet with Victor and to learn more about his work, his culture, and his needs. Our intent is to support and mentor him in the development of a modest primary health clinic at the orphanage and to encourage his wife to embark on midwife training.
We ask for your prayers as we embark on this Zambian mission trip. It is fitting that Victor's story of personal resurrection will be our Easter journey into a world in which there is much love to share and much work to do.
The Rev. Dcn. Clelia Garrity, LCSW
St. Simon's on the Sound Episcopal Church