Congo Daily Life, Part 1

For the next three weeks Hope4Congo will share a series of stories
from Brad’s most recent trip to the DRC.


Daily Life in Congo means: Hunger, Malnourishment, and Suffering

In March 2019 I visited the provincial capital, Tshikapa, in the Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This area was deeply affected by the Kamwina Nsafu uprising. Many people fled for their lives during that time. They left the area and/or went into hiding.

Southern Kasai region’s massacres and mass graves of 2017 have given way to general insecurity. Personal safety concerns remain after two years of poor harvests – hunger and malnourishment. The suffering and pain was palpable as I moved about this region.

I had been to Tshikapa on several occasions in the past but this time was different. Things were tense. People were living on the edge.

Over the next weeks I want to share three stories from my time there in an effort to make us more aware of what life is like for many in Congo as well as other countries where there is extreme political unrest among societies mired in poverty.

During breakfast with our host at Tshikapa, he introduced us to a small girl. She was about seven or eight years old. Scars around both wrists of her crippled hands suggested some type of injury.

My host told me her story. She and her younger sister were at home with their parents when some militia entered their home and fired on the family to kill them. In her terror and fear she hid behind her mother and wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist.

Her father and mother fell to the ground. Terrified and crying, this girl and her little sister ran from their hut through the village. Someone reached out to them to ask what the problem was. They told this person they had been attacked and their parents had been killed by the militia.

This person took the children under her care. She learned that the father had been killed, but the mother survived unharmed. The daughter had saved her mother’s life when she wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist.

The bullets intended for her mother struck this girl in both wrists. The emotional and physical scars may never be fully healed unless someone can reach out to this child and her family to provide the spiritual counseling and care most desperately needed.

Please pray for this dear family. Pray for their spiritual and emotional healing.

© 2019 Hope4Congo

Kicking for Christ

Youth Soccer Evangelism Camps
by Brad Graber

An exciting movement involves soccer as a way to communicate The Gospel and connect with young people in the Congo. This idea started during the Centennial celebration of AIMM, held at Tshikapa in 2012 when Robert Irundu met Dwight Short. Together they introduced the evangelistic soccer clinics.

Since that time Robert has taken this idea to many areas of Congo with incredible success. He continues to provide leadership for future projects. You can view a video of this work at:

Eight Successful Soccer Camps Held Since 2012:
• Tshikapa (at the 2012 celebration of AIMM)
• Mukedi
• Nyanga
• Mbuji Mayi
• Ilego
• Gungu
• Kahemba
• Ndjoko Punda

Hope for Congo’s goal:
Raise additional money for “Kicking for Christ” to reach more young people
$4,000 can reach as many as 4,000 youth for Christ

Opportunities for your involvement in these Soccer Camps:
• Say YES to help Robert financially with one of the venues this coming year
• Say YES to possibly take a team of young adults to the Congo to help with this ministry

It is only through your generous donations that Hope for Congo can continue to come along side those in Congo who wish to reach the next generation for Christ.

Your donations are tax-deductible. With your help we can be more strategic in our gospel outreach among the youth and follow up more effectively with discipleship efforts.

Make your checks payable to: Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission or AIMM
Designate your donation to: Hope 4 Congo and indicate “Kicking for Christ”
Monies sent to our general fund will be applied where needed.

Send your U.S. Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
P.O. Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744

Send your Canadian Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
440 Main Street
Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5


Thank you, Brad. Next week we will share an exciting strategic initiative to impact eight regional communities in Congo’s West Kasai province.

This is an effort to bring together several faith-based organizations in a collaborative effort of community development and evangelism bringing hope to the next generation.

Prayer Requests: Please pray about how you can be involved in the soccer ministry to Congo’s youth. Please continue to pray for an end to the political upheaval in the Congo.

© 2017 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


Fred’s Drilling Crew Disappointed

Fred and his drilling crew.
Another hole collapses.

Fred has been in Congo for seven weeks now. He reports that the second hole Dale and he started went crooked and collapsed last week just like the first one. A big disappointment!

Fred has wisely come up with an alternative plan. He will concentrate on rainwater retrieval from house roofs. Congo certainly has plenty of rain to catch. Here is what Fred sent:

“I have decided to use local materials as much as possible for the water-collection systems on individual homes. We’ll use one hundred liter plastic cans similar to the ones many Americans use for trash. They are readily available here in Tshikapa, and they are only $15 each.”

100 liters is approximately 26.5 gallons or about 5 – 7 trips to the spring or river to get water.

We here at Hope 4 Congo will have to rethink our method of drilling in Congo for the future. This makes five holes without water.

Catching rainwater is a great idea. We’re not sure why the Congolese have not done it. It has a lot of potential. It’s easy to do and rain is plentiful in Congo.

Sometimes our western way of thinking takes a lot of time and effort to catch on. Please pray that the Congolese will see the value of this system to supply their water. Also, that they may see the potential business opportunity in it as well.

Fred is trying to introduce good business practices to them. Pray that they will see this as a way to provide for their families.

We’ll post more information when we have it or on July 7, whichever comes first. In the meantime, please pray for Fred and his efforts to help the Congolese. Also, please follow us so you won’t miss out on any of our news and updates.

©2015 Hope4Congo

2015 Congo Trip

In Africa plans are always subject to change. It requires flexibility. This blog was scheduled to be shortened for the summer months. However, things are happening that require us to post here twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next several weeks. Be sure to check back as things are busy for our ministry in Congo right now. Your prayers are very much appreciated.

Stan was sick earlier this year. His doctor recommended that he not make the trip to Congo this time. Dale Beverly took his place. Dale is a veteran missionary from Kenya, but was born and raised in Tanzania.

Dale and Fred Suter are working on a water project at Tshikapa right now. Your prayers are requested for them to successfully dig wells for the people.

The following information is taken from Dale’s notes to Stan.May 16 at 11:50
Am on plane. Adventure here we come.
Am in Paris to pick up more people. Then on to Addis.IMG_2951
Am in Kinshasa. Just arrived. They lost my 2 big suitcases.
Been to church and everywhere. Will send photos.
Am on taxi now, music blaring and crammed.
Can’t get any word on luggage.
Going to Tshikapa
Am waiting for taxi to small airport with Fred.
Am traveling light. Ha Ha.
Am ready for a wonderful adventure today with my Lord.
God bless,

That’s Dale in the land rover hat in the photo on the right. Looks like he found some clothes to purchase and help the local economy.

Fred Suter writes:
Both of us (Fred and Dale) purchased clothes in the local market. One of my suitcases is still in Kinshasa.I hope to have it later this week. We are talking with people about where to drill the next well. In the meantime, the pineapples and mangoes are outstanding.

We’ll post more on Thursday. Follow us so you won’t miss a single photo or story.

The “new” used pants needed some adjustments.

©2015 Hope4Congo



Sports Camp Evangelism

Co (1)Bible Camp 2014 TshikapaToday’s guest post is by Dwight Short.

“When I offered to be part of the contingent celebrating 100 years of ministry in Congo, my goal was to interview as many people as possible who had known my aunt, Lodema Short. I also offered to Rod Janzen, Exec. Dir. AIMM, my past experience with sports ministry through FCA and thought we might organize something for young people. We were told yes to this initiative at first and later on we were told it would not be possible. I accepted that answer while in Kinshasa trying to make weight with all my luggage and left all of my personal sport equipment behind, and shipped the bags of sports equipment via another air freight service. When we arrived in Tshikapa, I barely sat down when a young man named Robert Irundu introduced himself to me and told me he was excited about doing a soccer clinic! So, right away I am sure God is working things out that we were not able to as mere humans.

“I believe sports is the greatest tool for youth evangelism that is available to us. Because of this soccer clinic that we did on the spur of the moment in 2012, Robert has diligently planned and organized sports and Bible camps in several areas of the DRC. He wants to do many more and has built a great rapport with other pastors to make certain when kids give their lives to Christ, they will have a place to go and grow in the Lord. We had 400 kids show up for the camp in Tshikapa, and the potential to touch thousands of kids is only being limited by the resources we can provide to train and send more coaches and pastors out to share the Gospel thru sports.”

You can read more of this story via the website:

To support Sports Camp Evangelism Make your checks payable to: AIMM or Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission. Designate your donation to: Hope 4 Congo and indicate that you want your donation to be given to the Sports Camp Evangelism project. Click on this link, AIMM for further information and AIMM’s address. Thank you in advance for your support of this tremendous project.

Be sure to Follow us so you’ll get an email notification whenever Hope 4 Congo has a new post.

©2015 Hope4Congo