12/19/2009: Faithfulness, Sincerity and Self-Denial

We are working on the plan of addition while God is working through multiplication. Six people from four different countries made an evangelistic effort in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001. We worked by faith and hoped that God would bless our effort, and He did. Out of that campaign, schools and church buildings have been erected and many souls have been won for the Kingdom of God. Before leaving the Congo we distributed a package of Bibles and thirteen Spirit of Prophecy books to five different groups. The results of those packages have exceeded our expectations. Two churches, one in Kingasani near the capitol and one in Masina a very populous suburb of Kinshasa, erected new church buildings for their congregations. Brother Kasongo, one of the ministers who was baptized as a result of these meetings, went back to his native province and began extensive missionary work. I am amazed at how God has blessed his methods of working and the results of his labors. All glory belongs to Him. But there is one church that I have not mentioned that has thrilled my heart all through these years and in this article I would like to share the story of these converted, faithful, sincere and humble people.

Back then, we called their community “The Church Without a Roof,” and rightly so, this little church on Avenue Longela 39 in Binza is in one of the most bizarre parts of Kinshasa. It is bizarre, because there one finds villas, government palaces and humble houses for the poor all in the same area. This group, led by their elder, Kungi Raphael, wholeheartedly accepted the Adventist message and obeyed all the counsels given by the team. Even though they were poor, just like the rest of the population, they rarely asked for help. With their own tithes and offerings, which they had given to the Lord long before becoming Adventists, they erected a church building on the property of one of the brothers in the church, who generously gave them a free lease for fifteen years. Now the time has come when they should have their own church home. They are operating a very humble school within the walls of their prayer house, just by dividing the room with simple rags into four classrooms. Can we imagine that in our countries? In other locations in the Third World, schools have their own classrooms. Even in the poor province of Sankuru in Lodja, we have a school building. I recently received a good report from the Longela Church about their spiritual life which I would like to share with you.

“We, the members of the Longela Church, living in the final phase of history, know that we all are judged and that everyone’s destiny will be soon decided, according to the Scriptures. (See Hebrews 10: 37, 38 and Revelation 12:12, 17.) In order to protect our church against the attacks of Satan, we decided to reorganize our congregation in order to make our life more efficient… The doors of the assembly cannot be shut against false doctrines, rebellion and strife, except by humbleness practiced in everyday life and by a strict respect toward divine order, the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy, which tell us that God isn’t a Lord of disorder but of peace… After accepting the Adventist faith, the Longela Church experienced significant progress in the Christian life, despite persecutions and sorrows. We love the Adventist message and choose to stay with this faith. By the grace of God, as of May, 2009,  we have baptized 76 families and we have 31 more familes who are interested. The major efforts of winning souls are centered on direct evangelism, a special Bible week and are enhanced through our school ‘Ngemba’ (which means ‘Peace’). Ten families have become Seventh-day Adventists because their children went to our school.

Baptism of a new brother at the Longela church.

“We have been blessed by a growing fellowship. In an attempt to order our lives we have chosen men and women for leadership positions who fear God and are persons of integrity and enemies of avarice.  Seven brethren and sisters are currently serving as leaders of our church, fulfilling several posts, while all the members are working for the salvation of others. Our leaders coordinate all the activities of the church; they aren’t rulers over the flock of God. The Assembly chose Brother Raphael Kungi to serve again as elder. Brother Joel Mapamu is secretary and leader of the evangelistic team. Brother Michel is the director of the Sabbath School and Brother Mbumba Papy and Sister Thérèse Nzumba are leading the youth group. Brother Paul (the owner of the property where the church is located) is treasurer and Sister Margueritte is in charge of the Dorcas Society.

“We recognize that the youth are not only the future of a nation, but also of the church of God. The Creator gave clear instructions in the Old Testament about teaching the young people and we understand that God wants us to educate our children as missionaries in order to bring in the harvest. The Longela Church has decided to spare no effort in order to train the youth to have an active part in the final work of God. We want them to study the Bible and to be involved in all the Sabbath activities of our church. The church members have asked Brother Joel Mapamu (1) to make a plan of instruction for the youth of our church, (2) to devise plans to motivate the youth to participate in the work, and (3) to search for workers in the youth group, qualified to be trained to carry responsibility in the different branches of the work of God.

“The Longela Church closely cooperates with Brother Samuel Minea of Austria. We believe that the Lord will help Brother Minea to help us, as he has in the past with the roof, the concrete floor in the church building, school benches and school books. We are praying for the means to buy a piece of property in order to build a place of worship and a school. We also need Spirit of Prophecy books in order to sustain our missionary projects and would like to finance a small project of buying sewing machines for our Dorcas Society.

“The Lord impressed our whole congregation to do like the apostles, as reported in Acts 13: 1, 2, and consecrate Brother Joel Mapamu to the Gospel Ministry during the month of June, by asking the blessing of the Lord upon him through a consecrated Adventist pastor. We close this report and address our thanks to Brethren Samuel Minea, Daniel Garcia, Cody Francis, John Grosboll and to all the supporters and friends of the work in Congo.”

The consecration of Brother Joel Mapamu in June 2009 comes just in time. Brother Mapamu will depart again to Sankuru, to strengthen the brethren and sisters there, to encourage the teachers at the school in Lodja and to work in villages around Lodja with the very dedicated young people he instructed during his last mission trip in July 2008. People are craving spiritual food and the workers are few and very poor. The Longela Church is committed to this mission project in the heart of Congo. In January, we began to build simple structures in villages, which will primarily serve as worship places and also as little schools. The decision was to provide roofs of tin and wooden frames and then the village people should add walls made of simple mud. The first building is already in use. The total cost for the roof and frame is $2500.

Our Heavenly Father has provided through human instrumentalities funds which will be converted into construction materials for the church in Yenga (another village, whose administrator donated a good piece of property), 4 bicycles, 15 books by Ellen G. White, transportation of a solar cooker, help for the teachers of F-21 School in Lodja, the plane ticket and sustenance for Brother Mapamu and his family back in Kinshasa and some help for the poor.

Recently a group of young evangelists, trained by Brother Joel, sent a report, which got lost on the way, because of a plane crash. They sadly had to resend the report with very few poor quality photographs. The church at Dikanda, a village 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Lodja, was benefited by the new $2500 construction and grew from a few to 30 baptized members with a total attendance of 58 women, 32 men and 20 youth. The members have, in principle, accepted the recommendation of the Austrian sponsor to begin a school next September in the same building, but they are frightened because they have no money to start with, no benches, no blackboard, no school material and no means to hire a teacher. The villagers have to work with very primitive tools to cultivate their fields, planting rice and manioc. Every month these poor people find time to go to other villages, some of them quite a distance from their own, in order to bring the messages of Revelation 14. They could open 8 new fields with between 24 and 45 members. Eight young people, each being assigned to one new village, are working hard to win souls. No one gives them a pay check or special help; their helps comes only from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are eagerly awaiting their mentor, Brother Joel Mapamu, to come and strengthen them and baptize the souls who have been instructed in the ways of God. These eight young missionaries for their own people are praying for bicycles, Bibles and Spirit of Prophecy books.

We know that God has a thousand ways to solve problems, but He is using the goods and gifts that He has imparted to us in this part of the world. To recap, the Longela Church needs a property (about $7000 USD) and buildings for worship and for school (about $30,000 to $50,000 USD). The destitute brethren of the Sankuru Province have many needs. May God impress the readers of these lines to help.

By Samuel Minea. Democratic Republic of Congo. E-mail: hermine.minea@schule.at