Hot Spot

blue-87354__180Good news is all in our perspective. Sometimes it’s so close up that it might not seem like good news. We have to take a step back in order to see it.

We received a bit of Good News regarding the mission work of Baptist missionaries, Glen and Rita Chapman in Kikongo. The following edited excerpts are from the Chapman’s January 2016 letter:

Dear Friends,

As you (may) know, Kikongo has suffered from its isolation. A couple years ago, a small cell phone tower was installed at Fatundu, about 20 km. away. Even though Fatundu is in a valley, and so is Kikongo, it was discovered that there were hot spots up the hill in the grassland.

Recently, however, it was discovered that there is a hot spot right on our front porch. The signal is strongest right against our living room window. Now all hours of the day and night, people come to our house, right outside our bedroom to make phone calls.

Many of the youth cannot afford phone credits, so they call some friend to transfer credits. They have to leave their phone on right next to our window for the right moment when someone makes the transfer.

Our porch (complete with benches and shade) has become a real hangout. This gives us access to all the village news. People think we are so generous to provide them with a hot spot. The village elders don’t have hot spots at their houses. Only the missionary’s house has it. This gives an illusion of power and good will.

I have been threatening to shut the spot down, even though I have no idea why the blessing has fallen upon us and nowhere else in the village. For a while we took the benches off the porch, but people just brought their own chairs or sat on the cement porch.

We feel like we are living in a fish bowl, but people consider it their right to come to our house anytime.

New things swirled around us throughout 2015, mostly good changes.

We’ve come a long way since January of last year when we were dealing with all sorts of conflict on the station. The church was divided over a pastor leading a prophetic syncretistic splinter group. This year we managed to get control of the church. We now have a former student who is the strong pastor we have been looking for.

During the New Year’s celebration organized by the Scripture Union, one of the men known for his ties with sorcery, played the drum the whole night long at the prayer vigil. He declared that he wanted to begin the New Year differently.

On New Year’s Eve, when people typically get drunk, we came up with a different strategy to keep people off the streets. I began projecting on the soccer field as soon as it was getting dark. I projected a thriller movie: Anaconda. When the movie was over I joked that the only safe place to be on the station was at the church. Lights and instruments had been set up so that as the movie ended, the best place to be was the church. The strategy seemed to work.

We made it through the New Year’s celebration without much trouble. Some fishponds were harvested, so even though we did not have a Christmas cow this year, we still had tilapia for New Year’s dinner.

The biggest change at Kikongo is the new University. We graduated a small class of eight from the pastoral training program in June. In order to respond to the need around us, we moved the pastoral training up to a University Theology program and added two other majors: Agriculture Science, and Teacher training. Our enrollment immediately jumped to 80 for the three majors. Ten times the number we graduated in June. If you are a young person, Kikongo is the place to be!

We already have a solid infrastructure to build from. We have classrooms, dorms, and wireless internet. We have also made significant investment in furnishing the dorm rooms, and installing solar powered lighting in the classrooms.

We have to follow the government requirements for degree programs. This means that we have to bring professors from outside to provide instruction on a modular basis. Those who visit Kikongo are impressed with how far we have come in the first year. We have reversed the rural exodus, as youth from Kinshasa are coming to Kikongo to study.

You should hear the students boast about their university! We are being warned that in the fall, we will have more students than we can handle.

It is a real challenge to provide quality education in a Christian environment. Rita is still working with the families of those in the theology program. She is also the school librarian. I (Glen) am teaching Old Testament and Hebrew.

Last year at this time, it felt like we were losing control of the church, the women, the youth, the hospital and as always, we had difficulties with the government. Kikongo has really made a turn around and by God’s grace, the New Year offers hope for training and developing the future leaders of rural Congo.

Kikongo is the hot place to be in 2016!

Blessings from the Chapmans

What intriguing news—full of unspoken prayer requests and praises to God. Please remember the Chapmans in your prayers.

The powerful draw of their personal hot spot shows the cultural differences. It would be hard for most westerners to deal with people showing up at all hours and yet…it certainly looks like God has used it to increase His influence.

May God protect and encourage the Chapman family. May He be glorified in His work at Kikongo.

© 2016 Hope4Congo

Naomie’s Testimony

unknownNaomie Tite Kangu Kangu is another one of the youth Hope4Congo has been supporting. She was born at the Kalonda (an old missionary station), Tshikapa on December 2, 1994. Today we share her testimony:

“I began to serve God when I was very young under the supervision of Dr. David. I was a chorister in the choir. His wife, Bebesh was our director. I am a born again Christian. I continue to serve my God in worship and praise.

“My family situation is the sad page in my life; I do not know my biological father. My parents divorced while I was still in my mother’s womb. My father took my older brother and I, of course, stayed with my mother. So I have a brother and a biological father I do not know.

“I finished my primary education at the Ndjoko Punda primary school and started school at the secondary institute of Ndjoko Punda. From there I went to Kinshasa to finish my education.

“I thank my God that he put Dr. David alongside me. Through his guidance and support I was able to complete my primary and secondary studies. As I came to embrace the university studies, I had great financial difficulties. Dr. David was trying to support me financially, but the money did not make it because of the crisis in Angola.

“My goal is to complete my university studies in computer management in order to help our community. My studies are in translating literature, especially in translating English into the various African dialects and vice versa. I had to stop my spoken English classes on the second level. I still have one level to finish.

“I am so grateful for the enormous service you men (Stan and Brad) have provided to us and the other youth you plan to support. May God continue to protect you.”

* * *
Your continued support of Hope4Congo allows us to help these youth financially so that this next generation will receive the necessary training to carry forward the work of God’s kingdom. Please help us multiply the ministry.

Ways you can help:
1. Please click here to follow us and fill in your email address in the appropriate box on the right side of the page that opens. By doing this small thing you will regularly receive our blog posts in your inbox. The more followers we have the better our ratings. Ratings are important in this world of the internet. Boosted ratings ensure that more people will see this blog and have the opportunity to hear about this ministry.

2. Support us financially through AIMM. Click here for directions.

3. Pray regularly for these young people. Who knows what God longs to do through their lives?
Your prayers could have a dynamic role in their current training and future ministry.

4. Pray also for Dr. David and his wife. It is through their faithful commitment and heart for the youth
that we have received discernment regarding which youth to support.

© 2016 Hope4Congo

Changing the Narrative from Hopelessness to Hope

Written by Brad Graber

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Revelation 7:9, “After this I saw a vast crowd too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the lamb”. This great crowd along with the angels were worshiping and glorifying God. Their faith and hope in things eternal have become a reality.

This picture is reflective of our missional God. Hope for Congo continues to be missional laying up treasures in heaven where things do not waste away and wear out. We want to participate in changing the narrative from hopelessness to hope.

The story is told of some men bringing a paralyzed man on a bed to Jesus. Because of the crowd they were not able to get to Jesus so they decided to take the man up on the roof and let him down on his bed through the tiles.

The paralyzed man’s friends were instrumental in changing the narrative for their friend from one of hopelessness to hope. Their hope in turn became a reality. The man was healed.

Realized hope always produces more than the specific event. This event was more than a physical healing. The crowd was amazed and awed. The man was healed and his sins were forgiven. Everyone went away glorifying God and saying, “We have seen amazing things today!”

Jesus saw their faith and responded. God is the source of all hope. Hebrews says that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

If we are going to truly change the narrative in Congo we must look to God and trust Him with the narrative.

We cannot do it alone. Your continued interest, prayers and giving will allow us to continue our investment in:
• individual lives
• printing Bibles
• tools and resources

Thank you for all the ways you have helped Hope for Congo in changing the narrative, we look forward to what God wants to do in and through us collectively in 2016.

With your help Stan and I would like to continue investing in Congo and return for a needed visit in 2016 God willing. Please pray to that end and may we see amazing things to God’s glory.

©2015 Hope4Congo

Road Trip, Part 3

Some of the deep ruts in the washed out road.

This week we continue our story of the journey Stan and Brad took when they began this ministry. When we left them last week they were driving through poorly maintained roadways–more like sand traps with deep ruts made by six-wheel transport trucks wider than the Toyota’s wheelbase.

This portion of the story begins with Forty-five, their driver struggling to drive the old pickup through this sand. (A reminder: Stan nicknamed the driver Forty-Five because he always drove at a forty-five degree angle–first in the left rut, then right rut, then back again the whole journey.

Part III

Forty-five edged the vehicle to the top of the bank. More branches scratched the driver’s side. The truck skidded. Fishtailing, it sprayed dirt behind. An hour later he’d only driven three miles.

The left back wheel slipped, spun in the dirt. As Forty-five accelerated, the wheel dug deeper into the soft sand. He shifted into low gear, gunned the engine. Whirling deeper, the tire burrowed in, pulled them sideways. No use. They were stuck tight. Jungle brush on the driver’s side, sand pit on the other.

Stan leaned forward. “We’ll help push.”

Brad opened his door.

Forty-five grunted. “We push. No problem. You get out.”

Sliding down the steep slope, Stan and Brad stood out of the way.

The driver shouted at the mechanic. “Get back there and push.” He pointed at the passengers on the pickup bed. “You. Push!”

“I guess the paying customers don’t have to push,” Stan said.

Between the four men, they made it past this obstacle. With everyone back aboard they continued at a two-mile per hour pace.

Next they approached a river.

Grim-faced, the driver slowed, adjusted his welding gloves on the steering wheel. “This river bank looks steeper than the last one.” He nodded at the mechanic. “You’d better find me a safe way through this.”

The mechanic rolled up his pants. He sloshed through the water for several yards, tested its depth, then gestured for the driver to follow.

This photo was taken of a different trip, but it illustrates the story well.

Inching along, Forty-five edged the truck down the slope into the stream bed. They bounced and jerked over the rocks in the water. As the pickup shuddered up the opposite bank, children with sticks and primitive tools ran out to greet them.

Brad glanced ahead. “I think our road repair crew has arrived.”

Stan laughed.

“Should we give them anything?” Brad asked “That is, if they actually do fill any of the holes.”

Enjoying their game, the children made a half-hearted effort to push the dirt around.

“They’re going to have to do a better job than that for me to part with another franc,” Stan said.

“No pay.” The driver growled in the rear view mirror. Shouting through his open window, he shook his gloved fist at the children.

Steam rolled from under the hood.

Forty-five braked. “What this now?”

©2015 Hope4Congo


Road Trip, Part 2

H4C.Toyota.BackLast week we began the story of a long journey. “Long” is a relative concept in Congo. Even though the distance is not that far, it may take a “long” time to reach your destination.

At 6:00 a.m. Stan and Brad met the driver and mechanic who were to take them to the Mission Station. We’ll pick up the story after the negotiations have ended.


Pascal grinned. “They will take good care of you. No problem.”

“No problem,” the mechanic echoed in French.

Stan pushed his cap back. “Well, I see a problem. There doesn’t seem to be any room left for all the stuff we’re taking to the mission station.”

“No problem. No problem.” The driver grabbed one of their parcels while the mechanic grabbed the others. They strapped it all down with ropes made from vines. Now the pile was four feet high.

The man with the chicken found another bundle to sit on.

Standing back, the driver and mechanic surveyed their handiwork.

“See? No problem,” the sober-faced driver said.

The mechanic grinned. “No problem.”

Stan and Brad shook hands with Pascal. They tossed their backpacks onto the floor of the king cab and gingerly lowered themselves onto the tattered backseats. The worn springs creaked beneath them.

The driver and his mechanic climbed in front. For the first ten miles outside Tshikapa, the road was government-maintained. They drove about thirty-five miles per hour.

The two brothers conversed quietly in English.

Brad propped his elbow on the open windowsill. “I wonder if the mission station is in worse shape than last year.”

“It sure was a shock. I expected Mom’s garden to be long gone after forty years, but I didn’t expect our home’s windows and screens to be gone.” Stan adjusted his position. A rusty spring poked through the torn leather seat.

“Boarded up windows. No air. No light.” Brad added.

“Still, I’m glad the village pastor and his family live there. At least they’re putting the place to good use,” Stan said.

“Do you ‘spose the village has kept up the maintenance on what we installed last year?” Brad asked.

Stan glanced out the window. “Guess we should prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.”

The road changed abruptly.

Their driver frowned. Slowing to a crawl, he leaned over the steering wheel, peering out the window. He
gripped the wheel tightly, still wearing his welding gloves.

Deep tire ruts created by the big transport trucks that frequented this road carved the ground as far as the eye could see. The ruts were wider than the wheelbase of the Toyota.

The driver angled the pick-up into the left rut. A little later he moved the truck into the right rut.

Brad nodded toward the driver. “Why do you ‘spose he’s wearing welding gloves?”

Stan shrugged. “Maybe he’s planning ahead. This old thing looks like it’s barely holding together. They’ll probably have to weld something sooner or later.”

They bounced through a deep gouge in the road. The truck creaked. The men on the truck bed shouted as they slid around.

The driver moved back to the left rut and then again to the right rut. Back and forth he continued—left rut, right rut, left rut. They were always traveling at a forty-five degree angle.

Stan adjusted his cap. “Do you think ‘ole Forty-five here, knows how to drive through this any other way except at an angle?”

Brad chuckled at Stan’s apt choice of nickname.

The driver glared at the brothers in his rear-view mirror. “Keep your arms in.” He pointed ahead to where the road narrowed. The brothers rolled up their windows as the truck brushed against the jungle vegetation. Branches scraped along the sides of the vehicle.

Safely past this spot, Forty-five swerved the Toyota to the left, avoiding a washout in the road.

Road? As if it could qualify for being called that. It was more like driving through a water-filled sand box. The engine sputtered a protest.

Forty-five braked. He pointed at the mechanic. “You walk ahead. Find a safe way for me to get around this.”

The mechanic climbed above the washed-out area. He gestured. “This way.”

Grinding the truck into four-wheel drive, Forty-five edged the vehicle to the top of the bank. More branches scratched the driver’s side. The truck skidded. Fishtailing, it sprayed dirt behind.

We’ll pick-up (no pun intended) our story next week. See you then.

©2015 Hope4Congo


Congo News

Charles Buller of the Congo Leadership Support Network is on his way to Congo for three weeks. At least two miracles reported thus far:

  1. Even though his Congo visa was delayed amazing progress occurred. The Congo embassy received, issued, and returned his passport in one day. That had to be God’s intervention.
  2. Thanks to free wifi Charles was able to skype with Leonard in Kinshasa. Leonard got a team together in Congo to pray for Charles and their plans. This was another miracle since the prayer partners are dispersed throughout the city.11951289_10153451217359473_6601374479789068483_n

More details are available on the Congo Leadership Support Network’s facebook page. If you’re interested in news about this ministry send them a friend request.

©2015 Hope4Congo