Taking advice from friends led to
Zakalia’s bad habits
When Zakalia Malenga first joined the army he was eager to follow any advice.
He listened to what his fellow colleagues and friends had to say carefully and
changed his lifestyle accordingly. No matter what it took, Zakalia was
determined to be a good soldier.
“I was told that a good soldier had to be a tobacco smoker, drink a lot
of beer, have a lot of girlfriends and be powerful in charms,” Zakalia
says. “This would protect the soldier from bullets in war.”
Zakalia finished his training at Malawi Armed Forces College and was posted to
Kamuzu barracks. As soon as he got to the barracks he put his
colleague’s advice into action.
“I was soon addicted to smoking tobacco and women lovers,” he
recalls. “There was a two year period in which I could not sleep until I
had finished a smoke. At this time I was smoking around 80 cigarettes per day
and had many lovers.”
When Zakalia was tired of his girlfriends he would return to his wife and two
children. His wife never dared to protest.
“My wife never dared to ask me about my behaviour because I always wore
a forbidding expression during this time,” he says. “When I was
with her I would eat, drink and if I wanted to please her I would have a short
time of intimacy with her.”
Then, one day, Zakalia saw a beautiful woman who he wanted to add to his list
of girlfriends. He tried to proposition her and got the shock of his
“She had a Bible with her and she began to share the Good News of Jesus
Christ with me,” he recalls. “I felt ashamed to run away before
she had finished her message and so I stood and listened.
“After she had finished talking she began to pray for me right there and
then. When she left I was wondering why a woman had prayed for me when I was
in military uniform.”
This question kept Zakalia up all night but he did not get an answer until he
was posted to Mozambique.
“The same lady and her family were there as Christian missionaries. When
I discovered that they needed help in feeding the people of Mozambique I
brought them meat or fish, beans and sugar.
“They taught that Jesus Christ had opened the way for us to have a
relationship with Him. By his death on the cross and resurrection He bridged
the gap between rebellious humans and a Holy God.
“For those who believe and trust in what He has done for them He gives
eternal life and allows them to start afresh.”
On the 3rd of March 1992, the Christian missionaries prayed for Zakalia and he
accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
“As I walked back to the barracks I put my hand into my pocket to get a
cigarette,” he remembers, and before I could take one out I heard a
voice saying, ‘If you are not going to change today, then you have no
chance to be changed or saved.’ I left the cigarettes in my pocket and
tried again later.”
The same words kept coming to Zakalia every time he tried to have a cigarette,
until he finally made the choice to quit.
“I decided to surrender all the bad habits I had into Jesus’
control,” he says. “That same day, I stood before my fellow
soldiers and told them that I would never smoke again. I gave all the
cigarettes I had to them.”
Zakalia’s fellow army buddies could not understand why he had become a
Christian and given up smoking. Zakalia took all this to God and asked for
help to remain firm in the decision to surrender all to Him.
“Now, whenever I am tempted to pick up the bad habits I tell Jesus
straight away and submit to Him.”
Zakalia ended all his extra-marital affairs and prayed that God would give him
a deep love for his wife and children. They are currently celebrating over 25
years of marriage and his children have personally thanked him for being such
a wonderful father.
“I have some tips to give others who are struggling with
temptations,” Zakalia says. “First accept Jesus Christ as your
Saviour and Lord, then share what He has done in your life. Always remember to
thank Him and be in constant prayer.
“Remember also to read His word in the Bible and fellowship with other
believers. By doing this you will grow in your walk with God,” he