by Brad Graber
God has chosen, since the beginning of time, to work through people committed to him. Jesus gave the great commission saying, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, Go and make disciples of all nations…and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” What a commission, what power, what a promise, what a guarantee of success on investment of things eternal.
It was during the time of Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody and C.T. Studd that mission work began to take place in Africa by many individuals and different missions from various parts of Europe, England and America. AIMM was one of those mission agencies.
With every missionary effort there are untold stories of individuals who have persevered in their faith and been used mightily by God. Individuals whose redirection of their life through the power of the Holy Spirit had a magnitude of impact that could not have been predicted.
Many of the AIMM stories recorded in the book entitled “The Jesus Tribe”, serve to illustrate this far reaching impact. (Grace Stories from Congo’s Mennonites 1912 – 2012). A compilation of stories that cover a 100 year period. The titles often are descriptive of the individual’s strong faith. They include:
• A Mennonite evangelist tied to a corpse
• I just did what Jesus said
• Please send us that lady with the book
• He sold corn at ten cents a bushel to raise boat fare
• An open Bible at rebel headquarters; From houseboy to great leader
• A good and faithful steward; A great pastor who turned the other cheek.
God will use any life willing to seek him out and join Him in His work. The lives of Mathieu Kazadi and Maurice Stahly, two brief examples taken from the “Jesus Tribe”, attest to this truth and reveal that God uses a variety of events, resources and people.
Mathieu Kazadi was a man whose life spanned a large portion of the first 100 years of work in Congo. He arrived at Ndjoko Punda, the first mission station, in 1912. Mathieu was only a few years old. This little boy would become the founder of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Congo. This body of believers came into being during the tumultuous years surrounding Congo’s independence when the believing body was split by tribal warfare and a mass exodus to a new regional location. A long and painful journey as refugees to the South Kasai. He also became one of the early teacher-evangelists. Mathieu was known for the way he proclaimed the gospel everywhere he went: in airplanes, hospitals, restaurants and in church gatherings. His main preoccupation throughout his life remained the preaching of the Good News of salvation. He was fair, generous, hospitable, a defender of the rights of others and adept at linking deeds to the Word of God. Mathieu Kazadi came face to face with his Saviour in 1994.
Maurice Stahly was a child of a farming couple, Ali and Anna Stahly, in central Illinois. Maurice witnessed the commitment of his parents to God when they sold 1,000 bushels of corn during the depression in order to provide a young missionary couple the $100 needed for their boat fare from New York City to Matadi, the seaport of Congo. Missionary work in distant Africa was extremely important to his parents. Memories of that ten-cent-a bushel corn stayed with Maurice throughout his life. Maurice later commented: “We felt God saying to us, ‘some I send out. Others I call to stay at home and support the work of the kingdom.”’
Maurice started a trucking business with a fleet of trucks and his business flourished. “I started out by saying, ‘God, I want to use you in my business.’ But I found out God says, ‘It’s my business and I want to use you.’” Over the remainder of his life he continued to be involved in God’s work in Congo through his faithful support. He maintained a lifelong relationship with Congo Inland Mission/ Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission. He served as a board member from 1956 – 1975. He passed away in 2012.
Partner with us!!!
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added onto you.” What better way to seek his kingdom than to invest in the lives of people who, led by God through the power of the Holy Spirit, will become the C.T. Studds, D.L. Moodys and Hudson Taylors of current and future generations.
Hope for Congo will continue, with your prayers and support, to invest in the lives of God’s people in Congo. Over the next several weeks we would like to provide you with some stories of individuals God has placed in our path to support by way of education. Young people with integrity, a heart for God and ability to serve others with the gifts God has given to them.
Follow us so you won’t miss any of these stories of changed lives.