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:

© 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

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