In the DR Congo, cleaning up streets opens the door for the gospel

From Brother Serge, serving the Lord in Kinshasa, the DR Congo’s capital and largest city

For some time, I have been concerned with the physical cleanliness of our community. The streets were lined with litter. Drains were clogged up so much that they became breeding grounds for malaria-spreading mosquitoes — these would claim many lives every day, especially among infants and children.

It was during a training by Harvest (a partner of DNA) that I was challenged to do something about this.

Every Saturday, I took steps to care for this environment where I live. Soon, many neighbors joined me….

Today, you will find a whole group of men, women and even children working together to improve their community. We call ourselves the Wholistic Discipleship Club for Community Transformation.

As a result, we have been invited by many churches to share about this ministry — God’s desire for us to be healthy not just spiritually, but also physically, stewarding our resources and serving each other together.

The Message Which Can Change our Continent

Buingo Mateene was exposed to DNA in 2003 when he attended three vision conferences. One VC was in Ghana, facilitated by Darrow Miller and Chris Amapadu; the other two, in Togo and Benin, were facilitated by Chris and John Wood.

Buingo is country director for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here is the powerful story of DNA’s impact on Buingo’s own life and the difference between knowing it and doing it!

Francophone Africa Vision Conference to Impact Widows, Orphans, Gangs

Samaritan Strategy Africa, in collaboration with local churches, held a Vision Conference in Ngaba location/Kinshasa last May. The conference was facilitated by Harvest and Samaritan Strategy trainers Jeff Sikabwe, Jean N’soseme, and Byamungu Kisangani.

Sixteen churches were represented, including Ministère International pour le salut des âmes, la Croix de Golgotha, Bethesda Miracle centre, Assemblée Chrétienne Ecole des vainqueurs, Centre des gagnants, Ministère Evangélique la colonne de feu, Eglise de la résurrection, Eglise Pentecôtiste pleine Evangile  Assurance de salut, Temple d’Elohim, and Ministère Evangélique la puissance  de la délivrance.

Jeff Sikabwe noted that the conference “was a good opportunity for church leaders to discover new ways through which they could serve their communities to see positive change in the lives of their people.”

The 33 participants included pastors, choir leaders, deacons, ushers, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, church elders, evangelists, and community development staff.

Participants committed themselves to demonstrate God’s concern to their surrounding communities by carrying out four Seed Actions:

  • Distribution of soap, clothes, sugar, and food to poor widows and orphans living on Kisangani Avenue in Ngaba location.
  • Organizing recreational activities (boxing, karate, soccer) as a public awareness campaign with the goal of helping youth in various gangs in the Lobo area learn to lead productive lives.
  • Evacuation and collecting of the rubbish on Lobo/Ngaba avenue.
  • Enhancing the street lighting on Kongo Avenue in order to increase security in an area which has cost many human lives.  

Small group Bible study

In addition to these seed actions planned during the training, participants committed themselves to more acts of service in the future in order to experience positive substantial change.

Several participants expressed their appreciation for the training.

Thank you for the work done with love and sacrifice. May these teachings go farther. I have just discovered that the whole Bible is filled of God’s love and therefore, we must show it to others. Christians are really Christians if they are for God’s kingdom.

My prayer is that these teachings become a curriculum for Bible studies in our churches for strengthening believers for a good understanding of the expression of God’s love.

All these lessons converge towards only one goal: love. As God is love, and Jesus being God’s fullness, he is also love. The church being Jesus’ fullness must therefore be rooted in this love to play effectively her role in the community.

These teachings of the Strategy Samaritan are a light that helped me to criticize my worldview.

This training helped me to change my way of doing Bible studies, of understanding things and of seeing the world as God created it. Now, I understand that one of my major tasks is to invest in lives of others – that means to help the poor, the orphans, the widows; in other words, to support the weak ones

This conference has just given me a new vision on how to live according to the Gospel. That means it’s about putting in practice the Word God for the development of the church and the world around me in all aspects of life.

Pastors Jimmy Ekakola and  François Matumona served as the organizing team. At the close, pastor Ekakola summed up the week:

The teachings reminded us of things we already knew, and gave us new discoveries as well. These teachings were a big blessing for us. We are convinced that they also will help us direct the church of Jesus Christ towards a new horizon. We know that the task is not easy to change our ways of doing things but as we had learned it, the development is a process that starts today with me and as the Holy Spirit guides us we will reach that point.

Fifty Learners and Five Seeds: One Week in the DRC

Changed lives and cleaner streets were the fruit of DNA training in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Some local neighborhoods in Kinshasa, western DRC benefitted from an April 2011 Vision Conference held in a collaboration between Harvest Foundation, Samaritan Strategy Africa, Reach Africa, and 17ème Communauté Evangélique du Christ en Ubangi (CECU). During the week, 50 participants from five parishes were trained in worldview and development and wholistic ministry. Also, five Seed Actions were planned, one per parish.

Trainees gathered from several churches, including 17ème CECU, Communauté Pentecôtiste Christ Roi, Communauté Evangélique au Kwango, and Arche de l’alliance. Among the participants (10 women and 40 men) were pastors, choir leaders, deacons, ushers, Sunday school teachers, army chaplains, missionaries, youth leaders, church elders, evangelists and community development staff.

From these, 30 were selected for a training of trainers session to be held in the near future.

Rev. Buingo Mateene and Pastor Jeff Sikabwe, joined by Romain Diakou and Martin Mambula, facilitated the sessions. The facilitators reported that the week was “a good opportunity for church leaders to look for new ways through which they could serve their communities to see positive change in lives of their people.”

Small group plans seed action

Participants committed themselves to six seed actions:

  1. Garbage collection at the Mabanza market in Mokali
  2. Mobilizing population to clean Limeté Avenue in Luka
  3. Cleaning gutters on the Djabir roundabout in Matonge division
  4. Filling potholes on Maluku street
  5. Collection and distribution of foodstuffs for poor families in the neighborhoods
  6. Visiting and distributing fruits and soft drinks to patients at King Baudouin Hospital

In addition to these Seed Actions planned during the training, participants committed themselves to do more acts of service in the future. Some of them testified to the impact of the training.

We thank Reach Africa for its concern of seeing the local churches of Congo standing on its feet in each area of their life. We thank God for Harvest and Samaritan Strategy for their efforts in behavior changing of Congolese society through teachings on the holistic ministry. We also thank 17ème CECU/Kinshasa which provided all necessary logistics for success of this conference. This teaching enabled us to have a new vision of the Gospel, one of considering human being in his entirety according to the model of growth and service provided by Jesus in Luke 2:52. We have discovered that we do not need to have a lot of resources to help someone else (street children or beggars) to grow in the image of Christ. … We have the conviction to be well equipped and able to put into practice the lessons learnt for change in our society. Nadine Deco: On behalf of women  

This training helped us to identify many bad practices in use in our cultures which are the root causes of many problems which lead to selfishness, hatred, poverty … We have discovered that we suffer for lack of practical application of the assets and by bad stewardship of what God has given to us. Through this training we have discovered that the human being is the master of his destiny, able to change situations and to help other people to grow holistically by accomplishing small acts of sacrificial service. Reverend Alenge Nabwe Cyrille: 17ème CECU Church

Rev. Selenga receives his participant certificate

We thank Harvest/SSA because they are a source of blessings for us – you have an appropriate message for Africa at this particular time of history. We are convinced that through such messages our church can come out of poverty … now we are informed that we are also able to do something for the change of our current situation. Let’s try putting this message into practice and wait seeing what will happen in our families and communities. Pastor Silas Selenga: Reach Africa

Reverend Buingo Mateene,  Central Africa Cordinator for Samaritan Strategy Africa, summarized the conference:

We thank the congregations and organizations which came to joinHarvest and SSA for the planning of this conference. Truly speaking, we believe that through this partnership the call of standing on our own feet and fight against poverty of mind can reach many African church leaders. … our aim is to equip trainers for spreading this message through many congregations in Congo. 

Churches in Congo Learn to be Salty

How can the church serve its community in order to see positive change?

That question set the framework when 57 participants from eight churches gathered in Idiofa, Democrative Republic of Congo, last June. The event included a Vision Conference and Training of Trainers, all in the effort to multiply wholistic discipleship and equip God’s people for service in their communities.”

Small group session

Delegates included pastors and church leaders, as well as staff from NGOs and community development organizations. During the week they planned 11 Seed Projects to “demonstrate God’s concern to their surrounding communities” including:

  • Painting the blackboards in several primary schools
  • Feeding abandoned children
  • Training young mothers in sewing
  • Assisting marginalized people
  • Building a new source of water
  • Training pupils in  computer skills
  • Cleaning up city streets
  • Training widows to manufacture soaps and food items

In addition to the Vision Conference, 34 trainers were equipped “to spread the vision and oversee activities and Seed Projects” planned during the event.

The conference was organized by a local Baptist church, facilitated by Samaritan Strategy, and led by pastors Byamungu and Martin. Idiofa is 660 kilometers east of the capital, Kinshasa.

Churches represented included: Evangelical, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, New Apostolic, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Church, and Army chaplaincy. Nine NGOs were also in attendance.

The importance of the training was expressed by one participant who spoke of the web of lies that enslaves our villages and cities … lies have subjugated our nation. In such a reality, the truth is powerful for tearing down strongholds.

Another delegate related how God’s love erases one of those lies, related to poverty.

God’s love pushes us to take care of others. Many people use their poverty as pretext to hide their selfishness. We always have something to share with the other.

Other testimonites of the impact of the conference spoke of the role of the local church. When all other structures fail, it remains only the church to give hope in the world.

People must see God’s glory through the church. The Christian is a letter written for the world … the salt and light of the world.