Today was the first day of ministry in the bush. It was a preparation trip for June when we’ll spend three days ministering there. As the crow flies, it is just across the lake, maybe 25 miles. But by car it is over 50 miles which doesn’t sound that far until you consider the terrain and it being straight mountains and the road seemingly goat paths. The drive takes around two hours aside from dealing with the provincial officials and their many questions.
We started off the day leaving Goma at 8:00 so that we could have enough time to make it there, dialogue and return before dark. Amethyst had purposed to make it but she wasn’t feeling well in the morning.
Nyangoma is a place very dear to our pastor, translator and key contact Pastor Paul as he was born and grew up here. On my way there Pastor Paul says, “We are going to my home town! There have never been any westerners to visit since maybe even the colonial times. I don’t think a westerner has ever visited.” (As a side note, remember when we were hit by the UN truck last year, it was when we were on our way to Nyangoma.)
While visiting, we inquired of the current situation in the region both spiritually and physically. There are so many needs. One elder spoke, “We have many people who are backsliding, even leaders. Many are hungry and have no means to get food. So they travel from far away and if people are hungry, how can they concentrate on the word of God.”
Another one commented, “The banana trees have a kind of disease that kills the bananas. The cassava plants are infected with a disease that kills those crops. We are having a difficult time.”
Others gave more physical problems that need to be addressed. Then they started to talk about some of the spiritual needs and possible seminars. The elders expressed a need for a meeting with the whole church talking about revival, addressing unity and encouragement. Also, they suggested four types of sessions: youth, couples, women and leaders.
Everyone was very happy to receive us. It felt like a homecoming as it was Pastor Paul’s home village. What blessed me the most though was to see the house that Pastor Paul grew up in, the house he built as a young man and sharing traditional Congolese food with the pastors.
Word’s can’t describe how blessed I was to minister to these desperate people and how excited I am to return but the next time with Amethyst and Samuel (our good friend and great man of God who will join us for the most part of June.)
By the world’s standards, it was just another westerner traveling to a remote area of a war torn country to a place that doesn’t even receive any non-government organizations or aid. But spiritually, it was the laying of a long-term foundation that could’ve never been accomplished without the Holy Spirit working.
I left the main leaders meeting with a statement, “Man is not your provider, it doesn’t matter if they’re Congolese or western, it doesn’t matter! But God is your provider and I will believe with you for God to do a marvelous work!”
Everyone smiled and nodded. I hope today that God smiled and nodded. Not for my own benefit but for the benefit of the Congolese. Please join us together in believing for God to something mighty! I know God wants to release His spirit and meet the physical but more importantly the spiritual needs.