08/21/10: The trail of Truth in Congo
The trail of Truth in Congo
One of the great passages of Scripture describes the trail of those who are following and obeying our Lord: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. The path or trail of those who are following the footsteps of our Savior is promised to increase. For those desiring to walk with the Lord, the trail never ends, but continually climbs upward to higher and greater vistas and experiences. In Congo, not just does the spiritual trail constantly ascend but also in a very real sense the physical paths stretch out in unending distances, as well. Brother Celestin Kasongo has been leading out in sharing the message of truth in this forgotten area, and the Lord has been abundantly blessing the efforts. Five years ago there was an established church in one village and a couple satellite churches in neighboring villages; three years ago the work had spread to ten to twenty villages within a growing area; but today the trails of truth have spread to entire new territories as the message marches on.
In January of this year, Steve Rawlings and I landed in the remote Savannahs of western Congo to survey and assist in the rapidly advancing work. What a blessing it was to finally be at our destination, to be able to see the brethren, meet new brothers and sisters in the Lord, to see the advancing efforts of the work and to open the Word of life together. We were very happy to see the neat grounds, the well-built school building next to the church and a technical school that was being built by students learning masonry. While the church had been built by outside donations, the church school and training school had been built by the brethren who had sacrificed to invest in furthering the work. They were not just waiting for funds to come from overseas, but they had given of their funds to start a self-supporting project that would enable them to solidify and expand the message of truth.
After a blessed Sabbath, it was time to be off again. Instead of having four or five villages to visit there were four or five new territories to visit separated by rivers, savannahs, jungles and in some cases hundreds of miles, thus a tactical impossibility to visit all. Which areas were the most important to visit? Topping my list was the newly opened area of Lulaw. Five years previous, Brother Jean Albert had stopped by the mission station and discovered the truth his soul had been longing for. While riding atop one of the trucks, he had seen the sign and it piqued his interest—what does a Seventh-day Adventist mean? So he had gotten down from his perch to come and discover what this meant and had stayed for around a month, studying with the believers every day. He actively participated and accepted the subjects presented and excitedly chose to be baptized. As we interviewed him, clearly he understood the message and wanted to share it. I can still remember his great joy and conviction as he was baptized in the precious truth he had found. As he left that simple mud-hut mission station, he knew that he had found a little piece of heaven and wanted to bring it back to his village. As he arrived home, he became absorbed in his business, his mother became seriously ill, but he did not forget the truth he had learned nor his desire to share with his village. As the prodigal “came to himself,” so did Brother Albert. He had been busy buying and selling cassava and other agricultural products, but what value was that in light of eternity? Although still needing to support himself and his mother, he began in earnest to share the message he loved so much, and a new congregation was formed. It was here to Lulaw that was to be our first stop. I wanted to see what Brother Albert had done since his baptism five years previous. I wanted to see how this faithful soul had brought forth fruit “some an hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.” (Matthew 13:8)
Because of the unreliable and difficult transportation, we arrived at Lulaw later than expected, but when we did, what rejoicing! Brother Albert joyfully showed us around the mission compound and schools he had established. So that all would know the purpose of the schools, the name he had given was Three Angels Institute. The next morning as the village gathered for the meeting, the church was way too small. In fact, any building within the entire village would have been too small, so under a massive spreading tree, the village gathered. As we shared a message on the second coming of Jesus and His call to live in obedience to Him to be prepared for this great event, people’s hearts were touched with a desire to be ready. As we concluded the
message and opened up for questions, people began to enquire why we were so different as to worship on Saturday. The Bible workers were ready and called for texts to be read from the few Bible we had brought. As the passages were read and the proofs given, conviction came that we were simply following the Bible and that they could, too. Although a group had started keeping God’s Sabbath and studying the Three Angels’ Messages, many of the villagers had always wondered why, but now they saw the evidence straight from the Bible. From this single village meeting, an interest was awakened in the whole village and many will begin to join in the daily Bible studies at the church.
After Lulaw, there were many more groups to visit right in the surrounding vicinity. As Brother Albert had begun a work in his local village, the work had spread. As he had gone to various villages to purchase their goods to transport and sell in Kinshasa, he had been giving them something much more significant than simply an outlet for their products. He had shared with them the sets of Bible studies in their own language. As individuals in the villages read these Bible studies in their own language, an interest was awakened to learn more and they would call for a teacher to come and show them the “way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:26) Through this method, seven to eight villages within the general area of Lulaw have started worshiping their Creator on the Sabbath and studying further. It was off to one of these villages that we next made our way. After preaching in Lulaw, we donned our loads and were off again. Crossing the river in a dugout canoe, traversing the burning savannahs, hiding out in a village hut during a rainstorm, slipping down the dark, junglepaths in the rain, wading the stream, climbing up again, until finally how glad we were to be in Kimolo. The next morning as I walked around in the morning fog, we passed the village chief calling for a village-wide meeting under the largest tree in the village. Once again, virtually everyone came to hear the Word of God presented. Although there were some objections, when the answers came from the Bible, they were ready to accept. Although, our schedule was tight and we needed to walk back that same day, the questions kept coming. Eventually, we said we had to go, but they would not take “no” for answer. They were thirsting for the precious message for this time, which they have never heard before.
After making it back to Lulaw, it was off again to other areas. Lulaw and surrounding villages is just one of many areas that are stretching forth their hands for the everlasting gospel in this area dark with superstition, fear and ignorance. They have never heard the message of the Three Angels, but when they hear it from the Word of God, they enthusiastically respond. The present truth message for this time must extend to the jungles and savannahs of this forgotten vineyard, and it is! The trails of truth are making their way through this thirsting region. Would you like to help the trail of truth extend further and further into this dark and needy territory? Bibles and Bible studies in the Kikongo language are among some of the greatest needs. For $100, ten Bible can be purchased and shared among the village. For $150, one hundred Bible study sets can be printed and distributed in a village. For $60 per month, a Bible worker can be sent to teach the truth to a village. Would you like to adopt a village? Please pray for Brother Jean Albert and the many other faithful, self sacrificing workers like him who are walking from village to village leaving the trail of truth wherever they go!
By Cody Francis,
Mission Projects International, PO Box PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058. Telephone: 800-467-4174.