PRENOTE: I started this Monday evening from Kinshasa. I am sending from Nairobi Tuesday evening.
Kinshasa, D R Congo is a difficult place to live and minister in. The infrastructure is not good. Power goes on and off regularly. Traffic is horrible during every waking hour. I talked about it in my last report. With so much hardship and so much poverty you would think prices would be low. But they are not. The place I stayed Monday night had a cement floor. A very bad bed. No AC. And it was $30 for the night. In Mombasa I had everything plus free breakfast for $40. And tonight (Tues) I am back in the city at a nice hotel near the airport. It has everything but no Wifi and no breakfast supplied and it is $50. And it is shocking at how expensive food is. Yet, they manage while effectively serving the Lord
My meeting on Monday with our team leaders went well. We started with a time of sharing about what is happening in their ministries.
Benoit Mazunda, ITEM coordinator, after years of attending a church with a pastor who valued all of the wrong things, started his own church 15 months ago. Here are his highlights: He just finished preaching through 1 Corinthians (expository preaching and ITEM priority). He has another pastor in his church who also does exposition when Benoit is away. Benoit took his church leadership through ITEM’s basic training seminar (Bible and theology) and two who went through it are leading cell groups in the church.
Benoit reported that Pastor Delly (an ITEM team member in another part of the DRC) is preaching expositorily and people are coming to his church because of the preaching.
And one other pastor in Kinshasa has been influenced by Benoit and has finished preaching through 1 & 2 Corinthians and is now in Romans.
The sad news for Benoit, is that his wife of 47 years has pancreatic (I think) cancer and things do not look good for her. They have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
Jean Claud Lendo is one of our team members from the coastal town, Boma. When I was the missions pastor at Calvary Chapel, Hillsboro, Oregon, we were planting churches in the D R Congo. Jean Claud planted one in Boma and it has flourished. I invited him because of the breadth of his ministry. He has started 2 other churches in Boma and 9 in villages in his region. And he requires all of them to do Bible exposition (verse by verse) and they all are. Jean Claud also heads up a Bible School in his area. He mentioned that two of the men who attended our training in 2009 have since started churches and are doing well.
Family: He is married with 4 children. 15 years ago they gave birth to a girl that they named after my wife, Brenda. This was shortly after Brenda visited them while on a trip with me.
Peace Mialamba is our resident interpreter. He has been around the churches we planted “back then” and went through our training. His testimony is that when he started studying deeply for the purpose of doing expository preaching he personally learned and benefited a lot! He is now preaching through the gospel of John.
Peace had me bring him an external hard drive to download and store educational programs from the internet to show his children on a TV. Then just recently, someone broke into their house during the day when kids were getting ready for school and stole the TV and his phone. I hear stories like this all of the time. His family is also saving money to build their own home and the church is saving to build their own facility.
Peace has been married for 10 years. They have three children. Names: Maranatha, Wonder, and Ecclesia (Greek word for “assembly” or “church”).
The rest of our time together we talked about strategy and record keeping. We made it clear that our objective was to be a part of seeing churches transformed (i.e. brought to maturity) through the systematic teaching and application of the Scriptures. Our process involves two seminars followed by mentoring.
PASTORS WITH NO BIBLES?
As we talked about the possibility of charging a very small registration fee for the second seminar on ministry and preaching (prior to them entering a mentoring group) I was told that it might work in town but in the villages, many “pastors” can’t even afford to buy a “Bible.” Hold on! Read that again . . . . pastors can’t afford Bibles. That means some pastors don’t have a Bible. How can a pastor teach the Bible to their congregations if they don’t own one? And what long term benefit can they gain from our seminar without a Bible.
Out of this discussion came two points of agreement. A pastor must own a Bible to attend our seminars. And we are going to suggest that these pastors tell their church, “I can get free training but I need a Bible. Can we take an offering to buy me a Bible so I can learn how to teach it to you?” That might require an offering equaling less than $5.
The other thing that came out of the discussion want that we should think about how we can assist those rural, village pastors who have no Bible.
Well, I’ve gone a little longer than I wanted. And left out some details in the process. I hope you are encouraged by what is happening in the D R Congo.
NOTE: The pictures are from Monday’s meeting with the team leaders. The others were taken from my room Tuesday morning. Joel is reluctant to let me take pictures when we are driving around Kinshasa so these were taken out of my “rear window.” For you older folks, I felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller! ????
I’ll tell you about Tuesday’s experiences going to and at the airport in Kinshasa tomorrow.
Thanks for praying and following.
By His grace,