On March 1, 2021, the Lord called our dear brother in Christ, Rev. Mandla Khumalo, to his heavenly home. Before becoming a Lutheran pastor, Mandla Khumalo was a rebel and freedom fighter under the South African Apartheid regime in the 80s. But it was the Lord who broke through, calling Khumalo to Himself. While he was on the run from the law and being sheltered by a pastor, he was invited to a church service. In that service Khumalo felt God speaking directly to him. He began to read the Bible and was brought to understand that God is love and that he must spend the rest of his life fighting for peace by acting out peace and love to all the people of South Africa. Khumalo started a church, which later became known as St. Peter’s Confessional Lutheran Church, in Middelburg, South Africa. The church quickly grew into a vision for a complete community change. A preschool, full-day school, and high school followed. By 2019, 900 students attended. Job creation initiatives were developed to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses. Soon after, a clinic and orphanage became a reality to the community.
In the past 40 years and up until his death, Khumalo was in partnership for God’s Kingdom. His most recent service was to the Michigan District, LCMS as a missionary at large, helping congregations identify and engage in international mission opportunities. He preached and led Bible studies in congregations and schools, inspiring God’s people to continue to be actively involved in Great Commission work.
As the news of Khumalo’s death spread through Michigan District, it was apparent that he was held in high esteem and loved dearly by many. District President David P. E. Maier, in his video address at the Memorial Service at St. Peter’s Confessional Lutheran Church, described his grief through the illustration of the friendship between Jonathan and David and the agony of Jonathan’s death in 2 Samuel, chapter 1.
President Maier also recalled one of Khumalo’s Facebook posts, where he wrote: “Dear friends, Good morning, at some point we will depart this world, no matter how and at what age, and when my time comes is that I shall have contributed to someone who could do better than I have done and that my name should not be remembered for anything but the humble contribution I shall have made to this world. I don’t want to be buried as a hero, but a humble servant of the people. And to those I have wronged and hurt, I am sorry, it was never my intention. I pray that when I depart from this world I should do so having served my God, my people, to the best of my ability!”
“I believe that my brother Khumalo has done that,” shares President Maier in his video address. He continues, “Let us rejoice in the blessing he was to us in Christ. But as he took his confidence and strength from the Lord Jesus, may we do the same also … do not live in fear, but trust in Christ.”
Please keep Khumalo’s wife, Lindiwe, and family, and God’s family at St. Peter’s Confessional Lutheran Church in your prayers.
Videos of Khumalo include:
Three essays at the 2012 Michigan District Convention on the campus of Concordia University in Ann Arbor
Address to the Michigan District 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Worship Service at the Breslin Center (at 1:41) on the campus of Michigan State University in Lansing, Mich.