(Republic of the Congo)
U.S. Associate: Pastor Bill Williams
Country Coordinator: Pastor Idas Mesmin Lewere
Number of Team Members: 1
ITEM’s Involvement Since: 2018
# Pastors have attended ITEM Training: Growing
# of untrained pastors remaining:
Located on the western coast of Central Africa, Congo is often confused with its much larger neighbor to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Over 60% of Congo is tropical rain forest, thus concentrating its population of five million people in the southern part of the country and making Congo both one of the least dense and most urbanized countries on earth. The economy is heavily reliant on the oil sector; economic growth (or the lack of it) is closely tied to the worldwide price of oil.
For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Congo was colonized and ruled by France until its independence in 1960. Since declaring independence, the country has suffered from civil unrest and political turmoil, including decades of Marxist rule, a six-year civil war, and a current president whose elections have been marked by fraud and irregularities.
Like other places throughout Central Africa, 9 in 10 people identify as Christian. But with less than half of the population completing primary school, and few Bible schools or seminaries, general education and training for Christian leaders is a point of real concern in Congo. While ITEM seminars had been conducted in Congo in the past (DRC Coordinators Joel Mananga and Benoit Mazunda in 2010; Dr. Van Horn in 2011), the country was only recently added to ITEM’s active and regular ministry focus (2018). Currently, the development of ITEM’s work in Congo has been entrusted to leadership from neighboring DRC until in-country leaders can be identified and trained.
Pray for Congo:
- Pray for Pastor Idas Mesmin Lewere (acting Coordinator) and other national leaders to deepen their commitment to the Lord Jesus, to establish Christ-honoring and biblically-based churches, and to commit themselves to training and mentoring more Congolese pastors.
- Pray for connections and open doors in Congo.
- Pray for ITEM’s DRC leadership and team as they handle “double duty” in their country and among their northern neighbors.