U.S. Associate: Pastor Bill Williams
Country Coordinator: Pastor Benoit Mazunda
Number of Team Members: 5
ITEM’s Involvement Since: 2003
# Pastors have attended ITEM Training: Growing
# of untrained pastors remaining:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) is the second largest African country, roughly the size of the Western continental United States. It receives an average of 80 inches of rain a year, has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world, in is home to the second largest rain forest in the world. While the country has vast mineral resources and agricultural potential, a history of corruption and ethnic fighting has left the country is impoverished and dependent on foreign aid to feed its 78 million hungry people.
The country is almost entirely Christian (92%, 20% Evangelical), but the state of Christianity in the country is critical. According to Operation World, “Large numbers (of Christians) have no clear grasp of repentance and faith in Christ nor of salvation by grace and not works. There is a notable lack of biblical knowledge in most churches.” Revival churches which are growing rapidly, lack biblical teaching and are often led by charlatans who use their pastoral position for personal gain rather than to serve the faithful. Prosperity theology runs strong through these churches and draws in many with its promises of wealth for a population in desperate economic straits. And animistic thought patterns, occult influences and fear of witchcraft are major problems present in the underlying culture and polluting the faith of millions. The DRC needs a complete re-evangelization.
ITEM has been in the DRC since its start in 2003, and it is a country dear to Dr. Steve Van Horn’s heart. There is a strong core group of pastors that ITEM has trained. They are ready and willing to launch training and mentoring. Bill Williams (ITEM Associate) serves both as a pastor and full-time EMT. He is reducing his pastoral responsibilities in the United States in order to give more attention to his African ministry with ITEM. He has background experience serving as a missionary in Sierra Leone and can converse in French, which is very helpful in this area and to support neighboring Congo.
Pray for DRC:
- Pray that the Bible would be read, used and applied in churches in the DRC.
- Benoit Mazunda (ITEM Coordinator) recently lost his wife. Please pray for comfort and provision for him and his children, as well as strength as he continues his ministry work.
- Pray for ongoing wisdom for Joel Mananga (Assistant Coordinator) as he helps lead ITEM’s DRC ministry.