Shidi Lazalo (b. ca. 1918)
Shidi Lazalo was the son of a Mupende slave wife of a Muchoke chief in south central Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Africa. At birth his arms and legs were underdeveloped with badly deformed ankles and wrists which did not permit normal function. Since his mother thought the deformity was due to witchcraft she would have had her son thrown in the river except for the father's intervention. Shidi means "animosity."
About 1926 Shidi and several relatives were redeemed by fellow clansmen from Tshingila, their home village far to the north. Shidi was carried all of the way by his relatives. A year later missionary Frank Enns from the Nyanga Station of the Congo Inland Mission (later known as the Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) brought a teacher-evangelist who befriended Shidi. The following year Shidi was taken to Nyanga where he did odd jobs in the Enns house yard in exchange for food, shelter, and further schooling. Shidi responded eagerly to the opportunity for study and accepted Christ. At his baptism he chose the new name Lazarus, for, as he explained, he truly was as one who had risen from the dead.
In 1930 Presbyterian Mission doctors offered to take him to Bulape hoping to correct some of the deformity. Shidi lived there for 22 years, graduated from the Bible School, and plunged into the work of village evangelist. He had a working knowledge of several African languages and became increasingly effective.
In 1952 he returned to Nyanga where he soon received invitations from far and near to preach. Sometimes he traveled with missionaries and other times rode on a special two-wheeled cart pushed by students. After assurance that he would not transmit his deformity to any children he might have, he found a Christian woman who would accept him and he married Biabo Esete in 1953. They have five lovely daughters. He never allowed his handicap to limit his ministry and embitter him and immeasurably enriched the Mennonite Church in Congo by his life, spirit and ministry.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 819-820. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bertsche, James E. "Shidi Lazalo (b. ca. 1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S5375.html.
APA style: Bertsche, James E. (1989). Shidi Lazalo (b. ca. 1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S5375.html.