Tribute to a Great Man.


For those of you who followed my blog while I was in Malawi and have an exceptional memory, you may remember a post from last February about a Pastor friend of mine. Here is the transcript of that post… (it’s worth your read)…

Abusa (Pastor) Prince Stazio

A young guy in his 30s

Overseeing numerous churches in the district of Chikwawa, Malawi

Husband and Father of 2 (Yanko and Prince Jr.)

Living in a small, but adequate house in the town of Chikwawa that is never lacking in traffic.

Church members throughout the denomination drop in to see this man of God on a regular basis.

After picking Stazio up last week and accompanying him to a remote village, I got to know a little bit more about this man.

Each week, he has the responsibility of looking out for a number of churches within the denomination that have no pastor.

On this particular instance, he was hitching a ride with us in order to visit a church member that had recently lost one of his young children.

He is one of those guys that just makes you smile when you around him. You would never assume that he is a man of importance.

Over a meal of goat and nsima, I figured I would try and get to know him a little better.

“Stazio, what were the circumstances of you realizing that you were called to be a pastor?”, I asked.

“Well,” he replied, “after receiving my education in Blantyre, I was a businessman working down in Nsanje. I was doing pretty well, but as I was going to church, I realized that God was wanting me to be a pastor. When I told my family that I was going to go to Bible School, they were not very happy. I was the responsible person for all of my extended family. I was about to go from a well paying job to the small salary that a village pastor receives.”

Yet, he was faithful to the Lord.

Even though this decision meant certain sacrifice, he knew that when you are called by God, you don’t just say no.

Sacrifice for a pastor like Stazio means, hopping on a bicycle on Saturdays and riding at times up to 50 Kilometers to get to the church where he will be preaching Sunday morning

In a country that does not have a church on every street corner with 5 staff members and the majority of the people sitting in the pew possessing enough Bible knowledge to be a leader themselves, such sacrifices are simply necessary.

When he was asked whether the demands of his job ever discourage him, he replied:

“I’ve been chosen by God, so I can’t resign.”

Late last week I received word that this dear friend was in the hospital suffering from some severe damage to his liver that was not treated in time. The vibrant, smiling man that I once knew apparently looked very different now.

Last night, Pastor Stazio passed away at his home in Chikwawa village.

I have been wrestling with God about this every since I found out about it on Friday night. I have shed many tears and spent lots of time begging God to heal Stazio.

The first thing that I did was seriously question the sovereignty of God. If God is really in control of everything… and He appoints all things for His glory… why in a million years would He see fit to take away this man that is doing so much good for His Kingdom and is so young and has little children? I wish I could say that God revealed to me some amazing answer for His purposes, but it hasn’t come to me yet.

I’m trusting that the Lord is in control. I’m trusting that He is faithful. I’m trusting that He will use this to bring an incredible amount of glory to His name in Malawi.

Through this I have become so keenly aware of how poorly I suffer. When I read the Bible… or even when I read what Christians all around the world are going through today because of what they believe… but, yet I see resilient brothers and sisters that refuse to deny the Lord when their child is tortured for something that they believe in. Then I look at this circumstance that is relatively distant from my day to day personal life and see how I react… I have got a long way to go.

I pray for more faith.

I pray for the abilty to suffer well when I don’t understand the reasons behind anything.

Please pray for Stazio’s wife and 2 children as well as the numerous people that are affected by this.


4 thoughts on “Tribute to a Great Man.

  1. it is heart wrenching to read this and to know that half way around the world, his wife is crying much harder tears than I am. He is an inspiration to me. I also wish I had the answers from God as to why this man passed away so young. However, tonight I was reminded as I was just cleaning the kitchen, that he is in such a beautiful place, that it was almost a shame that I prayed for his healing on this earth, I know that he is much happier now than he was here. But then I think of the family he has left behind and the body of Christ that he can no longer serve on earth and it just makes me sad.

    And I am left in this place of sweetness of knowing he is now where he is whole and of devastation of knowing the hole he left behind.

  2. My heart aches for Stazzio’s wife and precious children. I hurt for the hundreds of lives that will no longer be brightened by this amazing servant of the Lord.

    My prayer is that through Stazzio’s faith in the Lord that he lived out daily before many…maybe some will rise up and follow Stazzio’s dedication to the Lord. Sometimes when we are no longer blessed with the presence of someone great…we realize the need to rise up and become servants. That is my prayer for the people of Chikwawa.

    I thank God that He allowed my son to cross paths with such an amazing man. A man willing to sacrifice…willing to pursue the work of the Lord rather than wealth. That is the true definition of a servant of our Lord. I have much to learn from his life.

    Thank you for sharing this story Ryan. I pray the Lord will heal your heart and eventually reveal the answers to all the questions you have.

    I Love You…Mom

  3. I am reminded of an Indian proverb you shared Ryan when MawMaw Turner died.

    When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice!

    I love that proverb!

  4. I’ve been waiting for this post! There is so much and so little to add. I think you’d be pleased to know Ryan, that he invited me to come and preach at his church before I left Malawi. I didn’t make it – it was too short notice – but I was thrilled to have the invite. What an awesome guy.

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