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

Nothing is Too Difficult for God

by Brad Graber

Hope for Congo participated in the annual Congo Collaboration meetings held in Goshen, Indiana, August 10-11, 2018. Collaboration is the new frontier in efforts to be obedient to the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

From a human perspective Jesus’ instruction can seem an impossible task. And it would be—if it depended on us alone. But Jesus promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

God does not ask us to do the impossible. He asks for our obedience to do what is possible.

As we are obedient to do the possible, God will do the impossible.

Medical Ambassadors shared about the CHE program at our Collaboration meetings on Friday and Saturday. CHE stands for Community Health Evangelism. This program, which is being implemented around the world, focuses on disease prevention measures and promotes healthy living. CHE’s emphasis on holistic health and evangelism is a good method for church planting. The program is built around community ownership and individual involvement.

Community Health Evangelism operates in the Kasai region of the DRC. Over 800 villages utilize the program successfully.

During the Medical Ambassadors presentation they referenced two books: Walking With the Poor  by Bryant Meyers, and Bursting the Wine Skins: The Holy Spirit’s Transforming Work in a Peacemaker and His World  by Michael Cassidy.

Oasis International presented their vision on Saturday. They seek to publish and distribute affordable Christian books and Bibles in English, French, and Portuguese—books designed for individual as well as societal transformation and that seek to give the African Church a global voice.

To produce the African Study Bible, Oasis International utilized 350 African contributors from 50 different countries. Looking at God’s Word through African eyes in this way has produced the most ethnically diverse biblical resource to date. The English edition was launched in 2017.

Access to the Word of God is the most important way to build transformational communities.

These two organizations: Oasis International and Medical Ambassadors reveal the power of collaboration and inspire us to continue our collaborative efforts here at Hope for Congo.

Greater technology is available to help spread the gospel. Billy Graham said, “The harvest fields are riper, the grain is thicker, and the instruments that technology has provided are sharper. I see no reason why we could not touch the entire youth population of the world with the good news of the Gospel—let’s make that our goal.”

Hope for Congo is focused on the next generation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Let’s ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into His fields. Let’s be obedient in giving, praying, and going to the field as God gives us opportunity.

As we are obedient to do what is possible for us to do, God will do the impossible.

© 2018 Hope4Congo