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“Someday . . . “

The Graber family, like many other missionaries, were forced to leave the Congo in 1964. Last week we wrote about the family’s desire to return someday. Dinner table conversations revolved around the home they left behind. Those discussions always ended with “someday . . . .”

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Forty-Three Years Later
by Brad Graber

God chose not to re-open the door for my Dad and our family to return to Congo. We remained in the United States. But this too, was part of God’s eternal plan laid down before the foundations of the world.

It is our responsibility to keep in step with God’s Spirit. As it says in Galatians 5:25, “Let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

I had a dream shortly after we returned to the United States in 1964. In that dream I sat around a fire at night with the Congolese. We talked about the events of the day and the issues of life. Stories from the past were shared and we enjoyed each other’s company.

The dream was all about relationships and living life together and figuring out life together. Over the years, that treasured dream often came back into my thoughts.

In 2007, God opened the door to visit the home we had left behind. My brother Stan and I, along with our wives, traveled to Congo.

Forty-three years after our family was forced to flee Congo,

‘someday’ finally came.

We made our way back to Ndjoko Punda (Charlesville, as we remembered it), the first mission station established under the Congo Inland Mission in 1912.

This photo was taken in August 1912. As you can see, the spelling has changed since then.

This mission station was located along the Kasai River in the Kasai-Occidental province.

Our home was not a hut. We held in our memories the lovely home and mission station we had left behind. It had several well-maintained buildings. The surrounding grounds with our mother’s garden were beautiful.

However, Congo was not the same place we remembered. We recognized many things and places, but the material poverty and spiritual starvation were beyond belief. Our idyllic memories shattered in the face of the current reality.

We came back home to the United States with the satisfaction of having returned to Congo. But we also came home with heavy hearts. Our faith was challenged.

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Thank you, Brad. Next week we’ll continue the story. 
In the meantime, please join us in prayer for the people of the DRC.
Pray for:
• Peace
• Protection
• Health
• Wise Leadership

© 2020 Hope4Congo All Rights Reserved

Legacy of Love

As previously stated, our current series regards the beginnings of this ministry. Last week we told you how Chief Baditu grabbed the hand of God. Below is the next installment in the series.

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Our Father’s Legacy
by Brad Graber

Harold Graber, known as Muambi Maoyila to the Congolese, did many things during his time in Congo. He was a peacemaker, warrior, missionary, pastor—a fisher of men as God instructed him to be. He learned how to fish from the best fisherman of Galilee. His name was Jesus Christ.

Like all good gospel fishermen, Harold taught with words and actions. We, his children, were some of those caught in the net.

Our father’s love for Congo became our love for Congo. His love caught us and in turn, we caught his love for the country and the people.

In 1964, due to the political unrest, the decision was made to move our family back to the United States. This was a big disappointment for both our parents and us children. The family evacuated from the city of Kananga (Luluabourg) in the early morning hours on a UN plane from the Kananga airport.

After our return to the United States, family conversations around the dinner table always involved our memories of Congo. Our love ran deep.

Over the years, we talked about a return visit to Congo. “Someday,” we always said.

“Someday . . ..”

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Thank you, Brad.

Join us as we continue Hope4Congo’s story in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can read about some of Brad’s childhood on the tab above. Click on: Growing up in the Congo”

And as always, we ask you to pray for the people of Congo.

© 2020 Hope4Congo All Rights Reserved

Gripped by the Message

In anticipation of our website update we are posting a series of stories on the beginnings of this ministry. Last week Brad Graber wrote about how his parents, Harold and Gladys Graber, were called as missionaries in 1950 to what was then the Belgian Congo. Today we continue the story of Hope4Congo.

Then Jesus came to them and said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
~Matthew 28:18-20

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Grab the Hand of God
by Brad (Baditu) Graber

Our father, Harold formed a friendship with Chief Baditu, chief of a tribe of fishermen near the Ndjoko Punda mission station.

Over time Harold shared the Good News of the Gospel with Chief Baditu. The chief listened to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ and the message gripped his heart and mind.

One morning, Chief Baditu, with his entourage, walked from his village to the Ndjoko Punda mission station and knocked on the door of our home.

Our father answered the knock and there stood his friend, Chief Baditu.

“I have come this morning to grab the hand of God,” Chief Baditu said.

In that moment, the chief became part of the family of God. He became a “fisher of men” along with my father.

Baditu invited my father to a burning ceremony. He heaped all the idols and paraphernalia associated with idol worship and witchcraft into a pile. Then set all of it on fire. This signified an end to Baditu’s walk in the darkness and the beginning of his new walk in the light.

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Thank you for telling this story, Brad. Your namesake, “Baditu,” chose well for himself. What a gift you have to be named after this man of God, this courageous new believer.

I am grateful all of your hearts were gripped by God’s message and that in return, each of you grabbed God’s hand.

To Our Readers:
Our prayer for each of you is the same Good News — salvation is available to all who believe on the name of Jesus Christ. We hope that your hearts have been gripped by God’s message and that in return, you have grabbed God’s hand just like Chief Baditu.

We ask our readers to continue your faithful prayers for this ministry and the Congolese people.
Check back with us next week for the next installment of Hope4Congo’s story.

Blessings!
~SuZan


© 2020 Hope4Congo.com

Jesus said, “Go . . . .”

As we stated in last week’s blog post, we are updating our website. As part of that update, we are posting a series of articles about the beginning of Hope4Congo’s ministry.

First God calls us to be His people. Then He assigns our tasks.

Before Jesus returned to His Father in heaven, He commanded His disciples:

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
~Mark 16:15

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Accepting the Call
by Brad Graber

Gladys, Carolyn, Stan, Brad (Baditu) in Harold’s arms

God called our parents, Harold and Gladys Graber as missionaries to the Belgian Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) after Harold’s graduation from Bible College.

Our parents went to Congo for the first time in 1950 along with their two small children, my older brother, Stan and my older sister, Carolyn. Our mother was known as Mama Mbuyi. Our father was named Muambi Maoyila.

Muambi Maoyila became a friend of Chief (Nfumu) Baditu. Chief Baditu was the chief of a fishing village, so of course, he and his people were fishermen.

Stan, Baba holding Brad/Baditu, Carolyn



Chief Baditu and our father became good enough friends that when I was born I was named “Baditu” after the chief. From that moment I was forever connected to Congo and Ndjoko Punda.

God in his infinite wisdom was working out a portion of his plan for my life.

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Thank you, Brad. Or should I say, Baditu? We thank God for your parents and their obedience to Jesus’ command. We look forward to each installment of the story in the coming weeks.

We ask you, our dear readers to please:
• Continue to pray for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
• Continue to pray for wisdom for Hope4Congo’s ministry.
• Consider how you may support the Congolese people through this ministry.
• Remember, we are all volunteers at Hope4Congo. No one receives a salary.

Your gifts will be used specifically to encourage the next generation of the DRC.

© 2020 Hope4Congo

Fishers of Men

Jesus called His first disciples from their fishing boats and nets. He said . . .

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

As part of our website update we will be posting a series of articles about the beginning of Hope4Congo’s ministry.

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Fisherman’s Club
by Brad Graber

Hope4Congo traces its beginning to the story of my father, Harold Graber, one of God’s fishers of men.

Harold was born into the family of Peter and Emma Graber in Pretty Prairie, Kansas, a small Mennonite farming community. He was the youngest of six children.

Dr. Theodore Epp (Founder of Back to the Bible radio broadcast in Lincoln, Nebraska) preached a week of revival meetings at Harold’s church. Dr. Epp preached the Good News of salvation.

Harold was in high school (1937-1941) at the time of these revival meetings. Following his conversion, Harold and a group of friends decided to form a club they called, “Fisherman’s Club.” Their goal was to tell their friends about Jesus Christ and the Good News. This pivotal time in Harold’s life led to his determination to serve Christ wherever God called him.

Following World War II and his graduation from Bible College, God called Harold and his wife, Gladys as missionaries to the Belgian Congo, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Praise God for calling and for Harold following. Thank you, Brad, for sharing this early story.

Join us next week for the continuation of this series. In the meantime, please continue to pray for and support the Congolese people.

We at Hope4Congo long to provide:  Hope For the Next Generation of Congolese.

Blessings,
SuZan

© 2020 Hope4Congo.com

 

Holding Forth Hope

We recently received the latest Africa Leadership Coaching Network newsletter. In it, Charles Buller invited ministry members (including collaboration partners like Hope4Congo) to share insights into how God is using the current pandemic’s disruption.

Andre and Mbombo Kalenga (our co-workers at Njoka Punda, who are currently quarantined in Kinshasa) shared the following:

“I never imagined that one day in virtually the whole world, schools, churches, national borders, planes, economic markets, and even all the big soccer championships would be shut down by this terrible social massacre [of Covid-19]. We meet God among those around us every day, and we share [Christ] perhaps more than ever before.

“A lot of people are becoming interested in God even if this time is presenting tremendous challenges for them. We are all limited before this situation, and so we must all fix our eyes on Christ for the answers we seek.”

Did you catch that?

In the midst of this pandemic:

They are sharing Christ, perhaps more than ever before.

A quarantine can NOT stop God’s activities, nor our prayers. Ministry continues as we each look for ways to share Christ in our daily lives. It is possible to have a conversation from six feet away, through a phone call or via the internet.

Once the quarantines are lifted, projects that were paused will again be pursued and fresh work considered if we have the resources to move forward.

Please pray and consider how you may support our ongoing efforts here at Hope4Congo and through other ministries of the collaboration team.

It is clear that neither height nor depth nor Covid-19 can stop the love of Christ from going forth.

To quote Charles’ latest letter:
“All the best to you . . . as you . . . hold forth hope to those around you.

© 2020 Hope4Congo