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

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

A Bicycle in Congo

H4C_Loaded_Bicycle
Bicycles are very important for transportation in Congo

 

Stan is the oldest of the two brothers. I’ve asked Stan to describe his first childhood memory of Congo.

“The first memory that comes to mind is learning to ride a bicycle. It was commonplace for the Missionaries to hire natives to stand watch and guard the mission homes. This gave the Congolese pay that they could count on, a sense of pride in their responsibility, and an opportunity to observe these Christians up close.

“The missionaries also hired cooks and gardeners. Thus freed from these tasks, the missionaries could concentrate on the reasons God had sent them to Africa: to teach the people about Jesus. They came as translators, as doctors, as nurses, as preachers, and teachers. Many of the native languages had never been translated into written words. By turning these spoken languages into written languages, the missionaries gave the people an opportunity to read God’s Word for themselves in their heart language.

“The Congolese are very generous people: An example of that generosity was a young man named Yambu.

“Yambu, was hired to be a sentry by my parents. Yambu owned a bicycle. He taught me how to ride. We became such good friends that Yambu told me, ‘What’s mine is yours. You may ride my bicycle any time you wish.’

“In Congo bicycles are considered valuable assets. They not only provide transportation, but they are lifeline—a means of getting food to the market for sale or trade.

“Yambu was sharing his most prized possession. This was a precious recognition of friendship. My name became Kanyinda.”

Loosely translated, Kanyinda means that Stan is a friend.

Be sure to check out the Project Page. Listed under Community Projects/Micro-Business is a photo and description of a current Hope 4 Congo project developing Cargo Bikes for the Congolese.

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©2015 Hope4Congo