02/26/2011: En Avant! (Forward!)
En Avant! (Forward!)
A Report on the Work in Congo
The command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the disciples of all ages, given just before He returned to His Father, was to make known His infinite love for mankind. His apostles did the job, and there are still faithful disciples obeying this commission.
Here are the testimonies of two brothers recently converted in the Sankuru Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo because of the work of Brother Joel Mapamu.
My name is Ap’omba-Esema-Charle. I was born in Yenga and I accepted the Adventist faith after the sermons of our brother missionary during his stay in Sankuru last year. I told my life story of being a fisherman in our river, Lovila. My mother was very
sick and my sisters called me to come, but I delayed my coming there. The day I decided to see my mother, I left the forest and ran home. In front of our house, my sisters came out crying, and I understood that mother had died five minutes before my arrival. I wept bitterly as I rested my eyes on the lifeless body of our mother and considered that if we don’t prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus we will not make it to Heaven. We could be just a few minutes too late. It was that day that I decided to follow our Lord, despite the fact that life in our village is very difficult. The Bible and the brochures that Brother Joel has given to me have strengthened my decision and my faith. I pray that the Holy Spirit keeps me from sinning all the day long, that He takes control of my thoughts, of my feelings, of my words and my actions. If I fall into sin, I refuse to hearken to the insinuations of Satan that all my feeble efforts are for naught; I want to come immediately back on my knees and have the victory over the temptations. I am praying to be fed daily by the Word of God and to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into an obedient son of God.
My name is Joseph Mbolo. I studied at Kisangani and had contact with Adventist brethren. They gave me good books, but it was difficult to study them, because I was in a Catholic school of Jesuits and had to follow their program. After finishing my studies, I got a job in a Catholic hospital in the town of Kole. I began to study the books, and I discovered the truth. I came back to my birth village Lotahe and began to work in a small Protestant clinic. In 2008, I attended the one-week public crusade of Brother Joel Mapamu. After the meetings, he gave me a little book Le meilleur Chemin (Steps to Christ). I accepted the content and was convinced that the books of Adventists are based on the Bible. I accepted the Adventist faith.
After my decision to keep the Sabbath, problems began to develop. The personnel manager made a new schedule of work and informed me that I had to work every Sabbath and Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm. I was very distraught and called Brother Joel who encouraged me to remain faithful, because the Lord would fight for me. Brother Joel promised to lift me up in his prayers. The following week we had a meeting at the medical center, and the owner overruled the manager’s decision. I praise the Lord for His love to me. Today I was baptized. I understand that God has a plan for my life. In behalf of those who may be in a similar situation, I want to pray that God helps them as He helped me. I am very pleased to see people of our villages of Sankuru following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the Adventist faith. I want to serve others in the churches of Sankuru in order to be prepared to meet our Lord at His soon return.
This summer Brother Joel Mapamu of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo left his family and made a four-week trip up to the Sankuru region of Kassai Oriental. While there, he did evangelism and instructed the people; he faced many struggles and found that he needed to spend plenty of time in prayer. By the grace of God, after his trip, he safely returned to his family and church family of the Longela Church in Kinshasa. His health was temporarily set back from an infection that he acquired due to a fall that he had on the trip, but he is now well.
God inspired Brother Mapamu to first visit villages that needed to hear the gospel. In these villages, we had not yet established church buildings. Through public and personal evangelism, souls were brought to the Lord and very simple constructions were erected to serve for the Sabbath meetings in four villages. The Three Angels’ Messages had never been heard in these villages before. Brother Joel spent time admonishing the new converts and all the members to begin their mission, because they were now the ambassadors of God to the other villagers. The members were instructed about the duties of a missionary: to give Bible studies, to visit the sick and to organize missionary meetings. He taught the young brothers and sisters how to lead out in Sabbath Schools, so as to get all of the membership studying.
After the evangelism, Brother Joel then visited some villages with a strong Adventist presence. In these he held Bible studies, public evangelism and baptismal classes. He taught the candidates about sanctification. He taught them that baptism means more than just claiming the name “Seventh-day Adventist” but that it means that they are to stand for the Lord and be separate from the world.
One of the challenges of working in Congo is the power of the chief. If he does not want a church in his region, there is nothing that can be done about it. But, praise the Lord, every chief that Brother Joel visited was favorable to the Adventist message because each one could see that Adventists help to develop the villages and improve the lives of the neediest villagers. In these villages, he found that there are no schools for the children and that there is no medicine or medical treatment available within fifty to a hundred miles. He also found that the merchants that visit these villages did not pay fair prices for their goods, which are corn and rice, yet they charged exorbitant prices. Many goods are six times the price in these villages as they are sold for in Kinshasa. In order to pay for one cup of salt, the villagers have to give twelve cups of rice to the vendor!
Back in Lodja, Brother Joel spent time working with the school. He found that the teachers have to work part time in the fields in order to have enough money to survive. He also found that the school was in bad disrepair. This is all due to lack of funds. This school is important because the children from this school have been telling their parents what they have learned in school, and by this God has been bringing converts into His fold.
After visiting all of the different villages and seeing all of the needs, Brother Joel has come up with a plan that he hopes God will make possible. It is his goal to organize a health center for three villages and schools in four villages. The people have already started to step out in faith and use the little bit of means that they have available to start erecting these structures. Now we just pray that we can find God-fearing teachers and nurses to work for these people.
We believe that God is doing great things for these poor souls of Congo. Please pray with us for this project. We need French Bibles, Spirit of Prophecy books and other pamphlets to use in evangelism. We need several bicycles and a few motorcycles for the missionaries. The villagers also request machetes and other gardening tools so that they can raise money themselves for the support of the ministry.
One other exciting development is that a Baptist church in the village of Vungi in the Lushimba sector recently accepted the Sabbath and then converted to Adventism. Seventy members from this church will have been baptized by the time of the printing of this report. This group, as the others, requests materials, including sermon cassette tapes.
Africa is a very poor continent, but the Holy Spirit moves upon the people in a mighty way. How I long to see such examples of missionary work in Europe, Australia and the United States! It is time to sacrifice.
By Samuel Minea. E-mail: email@example.com.