Hungry Souls

In our previous post we spoke about the daily hunger of those growing up in Congo.

Today we want to speak about another kind of hunger—the hunger for God’s word.

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are starving for the Word of God. Brad shares below from what he has seen in the twelve years he has walked alongside our brothers and sisters in the DRC.


On our first trip to Congo in 2007 we attended a meeting for leaders who represented a collective body of over 200,000 members. Following the meeting we had a conversation with Fransisca, a leader in women’s ministries. Fransisca told us the biggest challenge for the church was discipleship.

Since that time, the discipleship crisis in Africa
has deepened because the people lack access to Bibles.

God’s Word—which is alive and powerful and able to go down deep into the very depth of souls and create transformation—is absent in Congo. The suffering in Congo on so many levels, is compounded by spiritual starvation.

People come to Christ, but they have no nourishment to carry them forward. No nourishment for growth in their Christian Life. No nourishment for daily living because they do not have God’s Word to study.

I have seen people with Bibles literally falling apart—old, worn, tattered and stained from years of use—handled and protected with greatest care.

In 2016 a pastor’s conference was held along the Kwango River which separates DRC from Angola. thirty-five pastors were expected to attend. 235 sat in the pews the first day! The pastors were asked to raise their Bibles high. Only 8 Bibles were counted.

Only 8 Bibles among 235 Pastors.

Later, they were asked what they used to preach. Parts and pieces—a few pages of this and a few of that. From this meager supply, they wove a sermon. (We wrote about this story in September 1, 2016.
8 Among So Many Please click on this link to read that full story.)

During my trip this past March, 2019, I heard the following story told by Senior National Vice President of Eglise Du Christ Au Congo, (National Protestant organization in Congo). Bishop Nyamuke Asial’ubul Idore recently returned from a rural area close to the provincial city of Kikwit. While there he learned about two pastors from two separate churches.

Two churches, two pastors and one copy of the Bible.

Those two pastors divided their one copy of the Bible into two sections—Old Testament and New Testament. They passed their copies back and forth. This allowed them to preach from the Old Testament for a period and then to preach from the New Testament for a period.


Amazing! Thank you, Brad for bringing us up to date.

As you read the stories of this hunger for the Bible, I hope your heart is moved as much as mine by this deep need. Getting Bibles to the people is the first step to address the discipleship crisis.


Update on Hope4Congo’s Bible Projects

Since the project’s beginning in 2010:
11,742 Bibles have been sold
$105,000 spent to purchase Bibles
$7,600 spent on distribution costs (cost to ship them to the various DRC locations)

Hope4Congo is collaborating with AIMM and Wycliffe Translators on a Kishelele Bible.
The translation team in Congo is working on the final editing of the New Testament.

We are also in contact with Oasis International, publishing a French translation of the Africa Study Bible. This first of it’s kind study Bible, authored by African theologians within an African context, should be completed in 2020.

If you would like to contribute to any of Hope4Congo’s vital Bible projects, please send your tax-deductible gifts to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
P.O. Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744

Make your checks payable to AIMM or Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission.
Designate your donations to: Hope4Congo’s Bible Project


If you would like to read some of our previous posts in our latest three-part series: Congo Daily Life,
you may click on the following links: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Also, in case you missed it above, here again is the link to the story:
8 Among So Many.

© 2019 Hope4Congo

New Bible Translation

We are excited to announce a new Bible translation planned for the Shilele language of the Bashilele people who live primarily in the Kasai river region.

Pastor Joly Birakara Ilowa (foreground on the left in photo above) of the Mennonite Church of Congo has taken the lead of this endeavor along with a team of local translators. They are working with Wycliffe Associates using the MAST program to accomplish this translation.

MAST represents Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation, a new program which was first piloted in 2014, which empowers the global church to draft their own Bible within months rather than years.

“Our breakthrough MAST strategy is accelerating Bible translation beyond anything we could have imagined, even a couple of years ago,” says Bruce Smith of Wycliffe Associates. “It is not Westerners doing the translation work in remote areas—it’s nationals being equipped to translate God’s Word themselves.”

The MAST Bible translation workshops have seen great success with many language groups and the Shilele language is another success in the making.

Hope for Congo has made a significant investment in this project and we have other languages that are in dire need of translation and printing.

To date Hope for Congo has been able to purchase and distribute 10,000 Bibles into the hands of those who desperately want and need a Bible. This includes both pastors and lay people. Your prayers and financial support make all this possible. Thank you for partnering with us.© 2017 Hope4Congo

Mangungu Repair Work, Part 2

Mangungu children carrying boards

We’re glad you joined us today for Part 2 of the recent activity at Mangungu carried out by David, Bud, Nelson, and Mark. This letter was written by Clement (Bud) Kroeker. Read Part 1 of Bud’s letter at this link.

Part 2

It was quite a challenge for David to organize the various crews of workers–the men from Matende as well as the volunteers from Mangungu. He gave responsibilities to some of the men who worked with him the past three trips and let them supervise the different construction sites. But he faced the problem of having too many volunteers, not enough tools, and not enough supervisors. So we decided to use one group to work on the stone house and another in the Health Center.

Three ladders (built on previous trips) came with us on the truck. Two others needed to be built plus the scaffolding. A crew of young men started digging the cistern for water. Another crew started digging a hole for the septic tank.

The shovels (made in China) that we had purchased in Kikwit were not sturdy enough and soon the handles were breaking one by one. But in true Congolese fashion, the men would quickly replace the handles with sturdy wooden branches or poles they cut down with their machetes to fit.

The electrical generator was installed under the huge mango tree and this was the wood-working shop. I found an old piece of concrete broken off of an ancient bath tub made by some missionary sixty years ago. This served as a chair for me. It became my director’s office. However, I didn’t spend much time there because bits of stone and concrete flew in every direction as the young men tried to straighten up the old walls and pour concrete on top of the door posts and windows to give added strength.

Nelson brought up sand from a spot near the river. It was very hard to drive down there with the truck in order to bring water. So we asked the children to each haul a quart of water on their heads when they come up in the morning. Gravel will probably have to be hauled up in the same way by the older fellows.

Mark with children at Matende

After the first day’s work we already saw the progress made: two huge holes dug, each around 6 feet in depth; half of the old tin roofing panels were taken off the Health Center and the walls were strengthened with concrete in the cracks, after putting in solid iron bars.

In the evening a parade passed by our house, everyone carried a board to take the entire stack of boards over to the school area where they would be protected. The big men each carried one board, the younger men each took one end of a board, and the children (sometimes as many as six under one board), carried it on their heads!

I had only a limited stock of Bibles with me on this trip, 50 in French and 50 in Kikongo — but I gave one copy to each pastor in the villages surrounding Mangungu. Everyone gathered under the mango tree for a meeting of gratitude, to sing and pray and express their thanks to God.

Our hearts were blessed to be able to live these moments of true worship and praise. If we didn’t accomplish anything else on this trip, it was worth the time and effort spent, just to have been in that meeting with others of God’s children!

Kikwit by the Kwilu River

Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us, and bless us
and make his face shine upon us;

so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy…
(verses 1 – 4)

With grateful hearts for your prayers for us in Congo,
Bud, Mark, David and Nelson

_________________________

What a joy it is to see the Congolese teamwork to accomplish a goal for the common good. If you wish to know more about Clement (Bud) Kroeker’s work visit his website: http://congoopenheart.org/projects/

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Bible Distribution Project

Our goal at Hope 4 Congo is to make the purchase of Bibles in the “heart” languages affordable and available to everyone.

The demand for Bibles far exceeds the current availability.

In May 2016 a pastor’s conference was held at Tembo beside the large River Kwango, which is the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. The famous William Falls are within walking distance.

Thirty-five (35) pastors were expected. Two hundred thirty-five (235) filled the pews the first day. The attendees were asked if they had a Bible to please raise them high. Eight Bibles were counted. Eight!
Let me emphasize that.

235 pastors with only 8 Bibles among them.

The pastors were asked what they used to preach from.

Parts and pieces, was the answer. A few pages of this and a few of that. From this meager supply, they wove a sermon.

Surely God blesses their faithful offering. However, couldn’t they offer even more if they had whole Bibles? No wonder so many came to the conference. They needed more of God’s Word to refresh their own souls and to share nourishment with their flocks.

While there are many needs in Congo, the need for Bibles in the heart language of the people has always been our ministry’s area of greatest emphasis.

Hope for Congo purchases the Bibles through the American Bible Society for $9.00 and sells them for $3.00. Money from the sales goes directly back to buy more Bibles.

Hope for Congo has purchased and sold 10,000 Bibles
in three languages to date:

1) Tshiluba, 2) Kikongo, and 3) Chokwe.

The Bibles are distributed through the local churches. Our goal is to have Bibles readily available on demand in each of the primary languages and sufficient funds to cover the transportation costs to the various communities that request Bibles.

We purchase Bibles as we have funding and opportunity. A typical print run is 3,000 Bibles for $27,000.

For two years we’ve been working toward updating a Bible translation in a fourth language, Kipende.
We are in negotiation with a qualified translator in order to accomplish this goal. Once the translation update is complete we’ll again use the American Bible Society to print the Bibles. The estimated cost for the translation update is $20,000. Printing will cost an additional $27,000 plus shipping.

We have received a request to create a fifth translation in the Teke language for the Bateke tribe. Since no translation exists for this language (that we know of), producing this Bible will involve research and development, which of course adds to the costs and difficulties. Pray that God would provide the resources and a team to accomplish this translation.

It is only through your generous donations that Hope for Congo can continue to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Congo—to walk with them and bring hope to their lives.

Hope begins with the Word of God.

Your donations are tax-deductible.
Make your checks payable to: Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission or AIMM
Designate your donation to: Hope 4 Congo

With your donation, please indicate which of our projects you wish to support. Monies sent to our general fund will be applied where needed most.

Your gift will go directly to support Hope 4 Congo’s mission. This is a non-profit ministry. Everyone who works for this ministry is a volunteer so every dollar you send goes straight to the project you designate or to where funding is most needed.

Send your U.S. Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission or AIMM
P.O. Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744

Send your Canadian Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission or AIMM
440 Main Street
Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5

Next week we will share the opportunities that exist to help with education.

© 2017 Hope 4 Congo

8 Among So Many

What a privilege it is to have access to God’s Word. Most of us have several Bibles in our homes. If we need another one, we can go to a nearby store and choose one from many translations or get one online. We can even choose from a variety of colors and fancy covers.

If we forget to bring our Bible on a Sunday morning—no worries—most churches have at least one available in every pew. Sunday School rooms often have stacks of Bibles.

Not so in Congo.

On his most recent trip, Stan was told the following story.

In May of this year, Garry and Larry Prieb along with Rebecca Culp and several Congolese flew to Tembo in lower Bandundu Province to hold a pastor’s conference. Tembo sits on the large River Kwango, which separates DRC from Angola. The famous William Falls are within walking distance.

Thirty-five (35) pastors were expected to hear Garry expound on I Corinthians. We were in for a surprise. Two hundred thirty-five (235) filled the pews the first day.

Garry asked anyone who had a Bible to please raise them high. Eight Bibles were counted. Eight.

Let me emphasize that. 235 pastors with only 8 Bibles among them.

Later, Larry asked the pastors what they used to preach from. Parts and pieces, was the answer. A few pages of this and a few of that. From this meager supply, they wove a sermon.

Surely God blesses their faithful offering. However, couldn’t they offer even more if they had whole Bibles? No wonder so many came to the conference. They needed more of God’s Word to refresh their own souls and to share nourishment with their flocks.

While there are many needs in Congo, the need for Bibles in the heart language of the people has always been our ministry’s area of greatest emphasis.

Update on the Bible Project
Hope 4 Congo’s Bible Project began in 2010 with the purchase of 300 Tshiluba Bibles. To date we have purchased DSC00023a total of 9,750 Bibles in three languages:
• Tshiluba
• Kituba
• Chokwe

We are awaiting completion of a Kipendi translation update. Once completed, 3,000 Kipendi Bibles will be printed using donations designated for that purpose. That will bring the total count to 12,750 Bibles purchased by Hope 4 Congo.

12,750 Bibles at $9.00 per Bible equals $114,750.

The freight to ship them is an additional cost. Currently we have spent approximately 7.9% for transportation to various distribution points.

DSC00024
Chokwe & Tshiluba Bibles prepared for transport from Kinshasa to Tshikapa

Congolese Church Leaders have emphasized the importance for individuals to purchase their own Bibles. They have also told us that $3.00 is an appropriate amount to charge. We are grateful for the efforts of church leaders to return this amount to the ministry so it can be reinvested in printing more copies.

We are considering the possibility of printing other requested language translations. We will update you as God directs our paths.

Do not underestimate the power of prayer for meeting the need for Bibles in Congo. God has met our needs thus far and expanded our capacities. We want to keep in step with His Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

Prayer Requests:
• Pray that God will oversee the accounting process
• Pray that God will expand our ability to purchase Bibles more frequently
• Pray that God’s Word will transform the lives of each individual, both at the local and national levels of Congolese society and government.

© 2016 Hope4Congo

Bibles for Congo Update

The following information is from a report
written by Rod Janzen, Exec. Dir. of AIMM

Hope 4 Congo seeks to supply Congolese language Bibles at affordable prices to congregational leaders   hfc bible sale 3and ordinary church members who attend Mennonite and other churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Need

In Congo, there are many local language Bible translations. Because of the large number, the Congo Bible Society does not have funds to automatically reprint each translation when a printing is sold out. Right now, a minimum printing is 3,000 Bibles, at $9 per Bible, for a total cost of $27,000. Congolese churches do not have the means to raise these funds themselves in order to supply their pastors and members with Bibles.

This means that many church members and even pastors are without a Bible, especially in rural areas.

Ps. Birakara sells Tshiluba BibleThe Solution

Hope 4 Congo is raising funds in order to reprint Bibles in the Kituba (Kikongo), Chokwe and Kipende languages, and to supply Tshiluba Bibles. These are four of the major languages of Mennonite church areas in Congo. The Bibles are printed and purchased at $9 per Bible, and sold to church members at $3 per Bible, making them more accessible to those who are struggling financially.

Bibles Already Supplied

  • Tshiluba Bibles: 2,800 have been purchased and sold at reduced prices in Tshikapa, Mbuji Mayi, Ndjoko Punda and elsewhere. Now, many more Tshiluba-speaking church members have access to the Word of God.
  • Kituba Bibles: 3,000 have been reprinted, and sold at reduced prices in and to the south of Kikwit.

Other Actions

  • Chokwe Bible: funds have been raised for a 3,000 copy reprint of this Bible. Once the Congo Bible Society verifies that the Chokwe translation is print-ready, funds will be sent and these Bibles will be printed, distributed and sold at reduced price in the Chokwe speaking area around Kamayala.
  •  Kipende Bible: it has been determined that this Bible needs to be revised before a reprinting. To prepare for the revision, the Bible has been scanned to create revisable computer files. A laptop computer has been purchased with this revision in mind. Currently a Congolese team is being recruited to do the revision.

You can help!
Send your contribution to:
AIMM, P.O. Box 744, Goshen, IN. 46527.
Indicate clearly that you are giving to Bibles for Congo.

©2015 Hope4Congo