Kalenga’s Testimony

Left to Right: Stan, Kalenga, Brad

Kalenga Andre was born at Ndjoko Punda in 1980. He went to both primary and secondary schools there. The following is his translated testimony edited for clarity:

In 1993 when I was thirteen years old I was baptized. My father died that same year (a rough time for me). From my baptism onward, my desire has been to serve God. I sang in the choir for two years beginning in 1994. After that I was elected Chorale Leader and served in that role for two additional years.

Mbombo Anne and I were married in 2002. My wife and I have six children, 3 boys and 3 girls.

I was devoted to my church at Ndjoko Punda and became a deacon in 2004. When Dr. David arrived to mentor the youth in Ndjoko Punda, I worked with him and was elected to be the President of the youth in our church. I also served as a steward at the hospital. So I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. David in both capacities.

Stan and Brad Graber along with Fred Suter came to work on the Congo Water Project. It was my privilege to work as their Director here in Congo.

My heart’s attention is drawn to advance the good work of evangelization and develop our Congolese youth. I have been preparing toward implementing this desire through my studies. The reason I came to study in Kinshasa is because of my desire to know the mind of Christ and to share this knowledge with others.

History has proven through the work of the Congo Inland Mission in Ndjoko Punda (originally the area/district called Charlesville) and the American Mennonite Church that when the Good News is preached it will bear fruit. We are summoned to continue this legacy.

If Christians are awakened intellectually to study their Bibles they will see God’s Word provides the best way to live. I hope to raise awareness among the Christians in Ndjoko Punda in particular and in the larger district community in general.

Thank you Kalenga. It warms our hearts to read of your service from a young age and of your continued desire for growth. May God richly bless your studies and fulfill His desires for your ministry. May He also bless and protect your family.
Regarding future testimonies: We have been awaiting the arrival of Joseph’s testimony, another young man we’ve helped to support. However, we recently received word that he has been sick. Please join us in praying for Joseph’s recovery.

© 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 7

H4C_18Brad and Stan are trapped at the banks of the Kasai River. A drunken policeman and his equally drunken buddies block their way. Dr. David and youth from the church at Ndjoko Punda (the village across the river) are arguing with the policeman. Stan and Brad have sat down to wait under a tree. We pick up our story as the argument has escalated.

The babble of voices increased to higher decibels as several of the youth joined in the shouting match. Tempers flared. Arms flailed in excited gestures. Enraged shrieks split the night air.

“This is going nowhere fast,” Brad said. “What are we going to do?”

“Yes. It’s dangerous.” Stan thought a moment. “What would Dad do? He’d pray.” Stan rose and stood just outside the angry group. In a loud voice he said in Tshiluba, “Let us pray.”

The arguing ceased instantly. Silence. Startling after so much noise.

Stan continued in Tshiluba, “Lord, we’ve just made a long trip. We’re hot. We’re sweaty. And we’re tired. We’ve come to help the church at Ndjoko Punda and encourage the believers there. We just want to get to the other side of this river so we can go to bed and get some sleep. We know that YOU are all powerful and YOU can solve this problem and get us to the other side. Amen.”

Hushed, the policeman and his friends stepped aside like a parting of the Red Sea.

Dr. David smiled. Brad clapped Stan on the shoulder. They boarded the canoe with all the young men and slipped silently across the river to the village.


True stories of God’s deliverance help put daily frustrations into perspective for me.

What about you? What’s happening in your life today? Don’t allow a small problem to get in the way of a big God. Reach for the fire from heaven.

Three FREE things you can do to support Hope4Congo:
1) Please follow us. Click on this orange link:  http://hope4congo.com It will take you straight to the right page. Enter your email address in the correct box on the right side of the page. You will receive a confirmation email in your inbox shortly. When it arrives, click confirm.
2) Once you follow us you’ll receive blog posts from us in your email every Thursday. When it comes, open it.
3) Leave a brief comment in the box at the bottom of the post.
These simple acts will cost you nothing. However, by doing them, you will support Hope4Congo by increasing our exposure on the web.

©2015 Hope4Congo

Road Trip, Part 4

Last week we left Stan and Brad on the road to Ndjoko Punda. Due to the poor road conditions, their driver (nicknamed Forty-five) has only been able to drive at approximately two miles per hour. The pickup truck has been struggling to make the journey. It’s a good thing the driver has a mechanic with him. We continue our story here with Part 4 of the road trip.

Steam rolled from under the hood. “What is this now?” the driver asked.

“We need water,” the mechanic said.

Forty-five, the driver, pulled to the side of the road. He and the mechanic took empty jugs back to the stream.

“Our water bottles are nearly empty. We’d better get some water, too,” Stan said.

When he and Brad reached the muddy stream, they lowered their bottles into the filthy water.

“I’m worried this muddy water might clog the filters,” Brad said.

Stan finished filling his bottle. “We need to find clearer fast-running water soon.”

The mechanic poured water into the radiator. It boiled over and hissed on the hot engine. He jumped back from the scalding water.

Village children laughed. They entertained each other, imitating the mechanic’s jump. He smiled good-naturedly.H4C_2

After the engine cooled enough to continue the journey, the pickup slowly followed the broken road around the village.

Two women pushed a large kettle onto a cooking fire. Several young girls hauled water from the stream and poured it in.

Brad shook his head. “It’s a hard life. Dirty water to cook with.”

“Yeah.” Stan wiped the sweat from his brow. “And cooking over an open fire in this heat.”

Brad reached for his water bottle. Took a swig. “Ugh! Lukewarm, but at least it’s safe.”

Stan nodded toward the group gathered around the cooking pot. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get safe drinking water to everyone?”

H4C.Jeep.DashbdForty-five turned the wheel sharply to avoid a young child leading a goat. He hollered out the window. “Keep out of the road. And keep your goat out of the way, too. Or else we’ll have roast goat.”

Exhausted, the men pressed on. Night fell.

Brad stifled a yawn. “How much farther?”

“Long way.” Stan slumped against the door and closed his eyes. “Sure could use some sleep.”

“Good luck with that.” Brad squirmed. Another spring poked through the tattered back of the seat. It jabbed him between the shoulder blades.

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