Why Jesus Came, Part 3

Forgiveness, Reconciliation & Restoration
Behind this Joyous Woman Lies the Valley Across from Kandale

Today’s post is the last of a three-part series we’re running this week for our Christmas special. To re-read the previous posts or to read posts you may have missed, please click on Part 1 and/or Part 2 as needed.

When Brad and Stan visited Kandale in October they carried the following letter from their mother addressed to the people there. In the years since 1963-64 the spelling has changed from Kandala to Kandale. Although the spelling has changed, her love for those she served has not.

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To the followers of Jesus at Kandala and my sisters and brothers in Christ:
May God’s mercy, love, and grace be your daily experience as you live to serve Him.

In God’s providence, my husband, Muambi Muoyila, my youngest daughter Jeannette, and I, Mama Mbuyi along with the Bertsches and Selma Unruh came to live at Kandala. It was 1963 and there was unrest in the area. This culminated in the destruction of buildings and the cessation of our ministry there in 1964. Our lives were threatened, but God miraculously spared us from what seemed certain death. God gave us His peace in the days that we were held captive.

During those days we experienced the love of God through the hands and feet of Christians who brought food to us, braving the wrath of our captors. They pleaded for our lives and they wept with us for gladness at finding that we were alive after a night of terror. The pastor took a severe beating as he tried to intercede for us.

The Bible Institute students who had come from all of the AIMM stations had to leave with their families and make the long trek back to their home villages. They and the local residents suffered greater loss than the missionaries who were taken out by helicopter.

As God alone can do, He turned this experience into blessing. We felt His comforting presence with us and He brought to our minds many scriptures that reassured us of His care. So through this experience my faith has grown. What is retained in my memory are the blessings we received from those who love and follow God. I am so grateful for their faithfulness and their courage during that difficult time.

My heart is filled with love for each one of you. How I wish I could express this to you personally. May the Spirit of God assure you today that we are one in Christ who offers forgiveness to each one of us.

“God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” May this great promise from 2 Corinthians 9:8 bless and prosper you in your faith.

In fellowship always,
Gladys Graber (Mama Mbuyi)

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Mrs. Graber also sent this prayer with her sons: Words seem so inadequate to express what I’d like to convey! I hope your presence there will overcome this inadequacy as healing and love prevail.

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Amen and Praise the Lord, Mama Mbuyi! Your prayer was answered.

May you, our dear readers also find forgiveness and healing in your relationships so that the love of God may prevail in your hearts and lives this blessed Christmas. Christ came to restore broken relationships: first our relationship with God and second, the relationships we have with each other. Praise be to God for this greatest gift of Christmas!

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Christmas in Congo

In today’s post, Stan and Brad’s mother, Gladys tells us about Christmas in Congo.

“Suppose you could spend Christmas in the Republic of Congo, Africa. You could leave your mittens, caps, boots, and coats at home. No chance of a white Christmas.

“You would avoid the many weeks of preparation, the busy streets, and all the glitter of the season. On Christmas morning people marching through the mission compound blowing goat horns, singing, and shouting, would awaken you before dawn. Later festively dressed people would gather at the church for worship, coming in clans and being led by their chiefs. People would bring an offering of produce or money carefully folded into a handcrafted envelope.

“A program at the church is planned for the evening as people come bringing kerosene lanterns to light the church. Talented young people enact the tableau of the manger scene. Not-so-quiet goats complicate the scene. Most dramatic are the wise men who enter at the rear of the church and slowly make their way to the front all the while looking overhead where a large star is moved forward on a wire strung along the rafters. It takes a long time for these searching wise men to reach the manger.

“Gift giving is not a part of the day, but one year our family gave a dinner for the Bible Institute students the day before Christmas. Gift boxes were given to each family. Among other items there were simple, small purses intended for the women and t-shirts intended for the children. On Christmas morning we noticed that some “re-gifting” had taken place: The men had the purses and the women were wearing the t-shirts.

“Missionaries appreciated the wild poinsettias for decorating as well as some small berries that could be gathered in the forest that were a good substitute for cranberries.

“The most important part of your Christmas in the Congo would be to see the difference the Gospel message has made in so many lives.

“They understand the love of God in sending His only begotten son to be the Savior to all who put their trust in Him.”   ~Gladys Graber, Missionary to Congo/Zaire

May all of you understand and trust in this same love so that you may have a blessed Christmas!
©2015 Hope4Congo