Last time, Amethyst and I visited the pastors and other believers were so happy to see us. They were simply astounded that a missionary has come to greet them. Many thought they were forgotten by society and yes even forgotten by God. Everyone’s spirits were uplifted by our presence. Upon our departure, all of the believers and especially the pastors insisted that we come back soon, but the next time with a church choir.
Brilliant idea! Many of you remember CEPAC Baraka (the church that wrote our official letter of invitation to the DRC) and how much they have been a blessing to us. We have enjoyed spending much time ministering with them. Philip one of our best friends and most faithful translators suggested that Baraka’s choir (which he is a part of) visit on our next visit to Mugunga. Actually, they have been planning to go do a crusade in Mugunga but otherwise lacked the opportunity.
We spent two days in the IDP camp; the first was to reconnect and renew our friendships and make others aware there was to be a crusade. How exciting it was for these pastors and believers to have a crusade! Having a choir visit in Congolese culture is a big deal, especially if you have not had a church to worship in for more than five years and lack even a Bible as a pastor. (These believers have come from the rural bush where the fighting is most intense. Many of them had to flee in the night without even having a chance to grab their Bible in their haste of running.)
Jesus was there. The choir sang a few songs in beautiful Swahili and then Sam and Amethyst sang a few songs in English that the choir so happened to know, namely “I’m Trading My Sorrows.” The choir musicians can play that song very well, obviously with an African twang which basically it’s Darrell Evans gone tribal, especially the baseline parts!
After some more songs from the choir we had introductions where we recognized the IDP admin leaders, church leaders and those from the surrounding community as the crusade was just outside the camp. The IDP ministry leaders were very happy to be recognized. It may have been the first time they were formally recognized before a body of believers since leaving their home villages several years ago.
Over 500 people turned out for the crusade and all eyes and ears were tuned in, listening to the message. I preached a message about enduring through hardship and God has a plan for everyone, the more one goes through, the more they are being raised up for something in the future. The righteous are never forsaken and God never forgets us though we may forget about Him. Jesus started to move on the hearts of everyone there. After the message we gave an alter call where over 70 people gave their lives to Christ (most everyone else was a believer already.) Praise God!
Also, we had an opportunity to bless the ministry leaders in Mugunga with a Bible. Normally we don’t give out Bibles even to those desperately in need but we felt right about this. It would be difficult to find a Bible amongst the IDPs. This was our opportunity to spread the Word of God in a mighty way. These pastors and leaders were so happy, they were ecstatic! Words cannot describe this experience; it was humbling to give the Word of God to people who have been without a Bible for many years. Everyone had a new zeal for the Lord.
Please pray that these leaders would be faithful to teaching the Word and minister with power. Pray that they will be encouraged and read the Bible continually and glean from the wisdom contained within.