2017 is a year to forget for controversial pastor PAUL SANYANGORE.
It is the year that he suffered his greatest humiliation in the hands of his cousin who made outrageous claims against him. He was accused of faking miracles in a series of radio and newspaper interviews. It was a time he was on a rise but his flame was quenched. He went into a hiatus with several claims by the people. Some thought he skipped borders while others thought he had committed suicide. Sanyangore is famed for several controversial miracles. The preacher says he did not die and the experience made him stronger. H-Metro’s BLESSING MASAKADZA (BM) met the pastor (PS) for an insight and review of the whole fiasco.
Read on. . .
BM: It has been long and some people think you are in hiding?
PS: I’m alive. Some say I died by committing suicide while others say I skipped the border but here I am, talking to you. It’s normal though for people to say that. Even in football, the coaches at times take a sabbatical, just to refresh and rejuvenate. You come back mature, see things from a different angle. I’m now a changed man, bigger and stronger.
BM: What affected you the most?
PS: The rejection, hatred by the people I thought were closer to me. I suffered to the point that I was afraid to walk and stayed indoors. I thank God for my wife. I think she is stronger than me. She stood by me during that time. If she was someone not strong, she could have left.
BM: Did you learn anything from the whole incident?
PS: I saw the mistakes I made and the things I did right. In short you become a better pastor. I’m bigger, better, mature and different. The bible says faith has to be tested, go through trials and tribulations and this is what happened. We walk around telling people we are men of God and those statements have to be put to test. Now I know my real friends, people I can depend on, who to trust and who not to.
BM: You said you have changed, what does this mean?
PS: All this time I have been preaching the God that I was told, the God I heard being preached. Now I’m preaching my own story. I believe I’m a better pastor. Most musicians who succeed usually sing about their life story. It is more original, real, talk of Soul Jah Love’s Ndini Uya Uya.
You cannot teach forgiveness when you have not forgiven. You cannot preach about persecution if you have not been persecuted. Kuti Mwari vanorwira iwe usina kumborwirwa hazviite. Samson was told about God by his mother and all this time he had not experienced it. He got to experience it when the Philistines destroyed his eyesight and he gained strength to destroy that building.
I believe Jesus is better preached when you are telling your own story. You have to undergo a certain experience in order to preach about it. I call it the mark of greatness. I know rejection even by the closest people. I suffered hatred and now I understand it when people talk about it.
It makes you spiritually, mentally mature and wiser.
BM: What impact did this have on congregants?
PS: This helped me see the real people and real congregants around me, the real followers and it made us a family because we stood together. However church will always be there, that is why people say tirikuenda ku church.
BM: Some left your church, do you blame them?
PS: Some left and I understand them. Who would be brave enough to stand by my side during such a period? People come and go even in heaven Satan went with a third of the angels but that did not stop God from operating.
I discovered there are two types of congregants. Vana vezviri pandiri, these come for the things that I have or the things they heard about me or read about and vana vechirimandiri who do not follow the things that I have but the deeper things they see in me. Even relatives and friends, there are some who like me for the things I have and not the real me.
BM: Some people say you deserve everything that happened to you, what will be your comment?
PS: I don’t blame them. Up to now I believe this was God’s doing. The situation made me depend on him more. I got closer to God because that was the only option. I thank God for my wife, she was there for me when everyone else left. People I thought were friends left, some could not even pick my calls. The people at heart hurt me the most. It was that moment when Peter denied Jesus. I appreciate everything that happened to me, it made me a better pastor. Christianity is a fight. You fight to get in and fight to stay in.
BM: Any men of God who stood by you during this fight?
PS: There is a reverend who stood by me. He would come daily to preach to me.
I believe the devil doesn’t fight Men of God, he knows they will fight each other and all he does is watch and laugh. These days, the ministry has been made to be a competition. Men of God are now in a competition and they celebrate the demise of the other. It’s the same kingdom we are working towards but the fighting boggles the mind. While I was down, others were celebrating hoping to have my followers at their churches. What they don’t know is chakaita kuti vasaende ikoko in the first place will make them snub them even when I was down.
BM: Your current view of today’s church?
PS: The church is very quiet, very silent and we are losing relevance. We are not talking when we are supposed to. There are several issues in the country that need our voice but we are silent. We are only good at fighting each other. Zvidhakwa chaizvo hazvituke vanhu vanomata but tinotukana tega. Vanhu vanodzidzei kwatiri when we keep fighting each other as Christians? When one does something such as a miracle, it is a man of God who is on the forefront attacking him. We talk about love and peace but we don’t show it.
BM: Did you at any point think of quitting? Some actually said you closed the church?
PS: I got to a point when I said I quit. I told my family zvechurch handichadi. This was too much for me that I went back to stay with my parents semwana mudiki. However, we couldn’t stop praying and prayed harder. I believe it came as a wakeup call for me to pray hard and I did.
BM: What made you continue?
PS: It is a calling and I realised the direction to quit was more dangerous than to continue. I’m a survivor. Now I can help others, other pastors. All along I didn’t know how I could be a spiritual father or help junior pastors. I was called fake, called anything and that was more difficult to deal with. However, I’m not the first to be called that. Jesus was called fake throughout his reign, Prophet TB Joshua and now others are in court accused of fake prophecies. So I’m not the first and will not be the last one.
BM: You were famed for several controversial miracles which were later called fake, are they still happening?
PS: Miracles never stopped. It’s now worse. Miracles are not mine or about me, it is an assignment. I get to a point I say I must not do this but it is not my doing, even if I don’t want it has to happen. But now I’m focused, mature and know when and where to do it.
BM: Do you believe there is anything more that will harm you than the humiliation?
PS: God opened my eyes to see things. I drew positives from the whole incident. Back then I was more of protecting an image, Sanyangore but now I don’t care. I’m now a new person. I died and resurrected. Now it’s about God. That image is gone and all I focus on now is God. Now I believe nothing more will happen to me and injure me more than that incident. This was my cross and I carried it. Now I can preach about Jesus freely.
BM: Have you forgiven your cousin?
PS: I forgave him long back. I have nothing and will not say anything bad against him. I believe he was used by God to take me to a new level. He was used to ignite a change in my life. Just like Judas, he was used to take Jesus to his destiny. Without Judas, we wouldn’t have salvation. He was used by God and everything about me is now new. My preaching has changed, my praying has changed, I see things differently now. At first I saw him as an enemy but he is not. He is my brother, I love him, I admire his courage and I miss him. He is a hard worker and there are things I know he can do that some people couldn’t do and I miss that.
BM: Do you still have a church and under what name?
PS: We rebranded everything. Victory World ran its course and achieved its purpose, the battles we went through. The church is now Life Like Christ Church and we are in Mbare at the Netball Complex. We are doing it slowly unlike what we used to do that is why we have not been marketing or doing conferences. In churches these days there is no child spacing. One group has to grow before another can come in otherwise we will have half-baked congregants.
BM: Any other projects right now?
PS: Right now I’m working with some partners in Botswana, from the Jehovah’s Potus House and we are being screened on Just Net TV. It can be accessed on satellite every day. We are working together to advance the kingdom of God. I will be going there for a conference.
BM: Anything for the locals?
PS: Right now we are preparing to have a big revival in April. Some of children do not know where we are. We are there in Mbare, Netball Complex. Bhaibheri rinoti rovai mufudzi makwai anopararira and this what happened but mufudzi haana kufa. Hanzi makwai anonzwa inzwi remufudzi, vakanzwa vanouya.
BM: Your last words?
PS: As you can see, I’m alive. I’m bigger, better, mature and different. Everything about me has changed.