Apostle Lillian Bwanya was born in 1968 in an area known as Rutanga, which is in Eastern Zimbabwe.
She was raised in a Christian family and lost her mother when she was in Grade 2. It was a tough time for the family.
After completing high school, Bwanya began working as a secretary. She was actively involved in her church – AFM church, and continued to pursue her studies.
She began dating a young man, Phillip, who later became her husband.
It was at this time when she began to have a broader understanding of how God speaks. She felt impressed that he was directing her to study theology.
“I told this to Phillip, who objected and told me his intentions to marry me,” Bwanya told The Weight She Carries. “I listened to him and we prepared for our traditional wedding. On the day that we were supposed to go to his rural area as per culture, he was released from his duties at work and was unemployed.”
She felt impressed to focus on her studies, and eventually got married in 1990. The couple had four children together.
The first twelve years of her marriage were filled with love, but during the first weeks of her last pregnancy, her husband left her for another woman who lived two hours away.
“The feeling of rejection is a (dangerous) thing if not controlled. That was a period of depression and madness,” she said. “The only way I was contained and strengthened was through reading the word of God.”
“I also had to also think of ways to tell my children. It was a difficult task, but I was forced by the situation. The children where used to a good life where their father would always provide for us. I prayed for strength and told my children that daddy moved away to stay with another mummy. It was not easy for them, but I tried by all means to provide for their fees and food through vending. And God always sent ‘Divine helpers’ who would always help out in different ways so we never lacked anything.”
– Lillian Bwanya
Without any financial support from her estranged husband, Bwanya learnt to live a life of prayer and faith, believing that God would provide her family’s needs each day.
Ten months after she gave birth to her youngest child in 2004, she decided to continue her studies in theology. And even though she did not know how her fees would be paid, she was determined to go back and finish. She believed her life had unravelled as it had because of a greater cause.
When she was at school at one time, God spoke to her, she said.
“I was in the chapel and he spoke to me and assured me that I would not lack anything,” she said. “A stranger dreamt about me and was directed to me. He only had my name but reached out to me saying God had spoken to him and told him he was to pay all my fees and clothes till I finished, which he proceeded to do,” Bwanya said.
Five years after leaving, and just when Bwanya had finished school, her estranged husband came back. He was sick and passed away in 2009.
“I decided to forgive him as I did not want to hold on to the past pain he had caused me,” she said.
She continued to work her way through the ministry in AFM Church in Zimbabwe until she was ordained as a pastor.
“In 2018, I founded SFIM in Bulawayo while ministering at AFM. There were prophecies that the ministry would be born. It was a matter of me following the will of God as well as my calling,” she said.