A different kind of “Congo Fever”

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – a vast country with great people. Being the third largest country in Africa with just over 52 million people, it comes as somewhat of a surprise to discover that the DRC is one of the richest countries in the world with huge deposits of diamonds, copper, cobalt and other precious minerals. With French as official language and with more than 250 other languages and dialects, the DRC is a very interesting country to train leaders to plant churches – not just in villages but in various muslim areas. More than 10 % of the country’s population are devout Muslims.

AIRPORT VIP’s

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City life ….. the centre of Lubumbashi, DRC

It is a well-known fact that the DRC is one of those countries where getting into an airport is extremely difficult. Getting out is even more difficult. With all of this in mind we arrived at Lubumbashi airport on a cloudy day. I prepared myself for the worst. To our total amazement we were greeted at the airplane by a church representative of the Church of God. With him were a soldier and a VIP official. We were told to hand in our passports. “Here we go”, I thought! And then a miracle took place. We were cordially taken to a VIP lounge. A few minutes later our passports were handed over to us – yes stamped and sealed! Even our suitcases were delivered. “Welcome to DRC Congo – thank you for being a blessing!”, we were told.

The first training session about to get underway in the Church of God church.

The first training session about to get underway in the Church of God church.

We arrived shell shocked at our destination where 65 of the country’s top church planters were gathered. Looking over the meeting place we saw that men were waiting anxiously for our arrival. We were greeted by drums and singing we started training. Pastor Raymond Lombard shared his passion for practical and relational evangelism as only he can do it. Leaders were trained and the Heart of Man evangelism material was handed out. And then ….. an amazing thing happened …..!

 

GOD’S MATHEMATICS: 90 MINUTES = 1 271/220

As 65 men were sent out to the villages to test their practical evangelism skills it was amazing to see people run from streets to look at the Heart of Man charts and hear pastors share from their hearts. Time was of the essence. Pastors only had 90 minutes to use the Heart of Man charts. In this limited time and space 1 271 souls were witnessed to and 220 received Christ as their Saviour for the first time.

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The Heart of Man evangelism presentation in the villages. People ran from everywhere to hear the good news. Men on motorcycles came to a standstill to hear the Gospel.

I continued teaching on practical saturation church planting methods again, providing the pastors and leaders with practical tools and materials to plant churches. In the meantime we rushed through Lubumbashi city centre to find 130 French Bibles to make sure that pastors could hand over new Bibles to every new church planter. To our amazement we found Bibles but they were supremely expensive. As we had planned on paying R80 a Bible we could only buy 65 at R200 a Bible. Even my carefully executed negotiation skills were not enough to persuade the salesman to hand over more Bibles. Although somewhat depressed the joy of the pastors made up for my mood. Even the 65 French Bibles were sufficient to make them jump and leap with joy.

Follow-up training continues in August 2015 by which time we hope to have planted 60 churches with the church planters all over Southern Congo – the area we are targeting at the moment.

We found out with a shock that the price per Bible increased to R200 a Bible. I am seriously trying to convince the book store owner to show us some grace. Ok … he gave me R5 per Bible discount … have to give him credit. We had to cut our order by 50 %. A very happy pastor receiving his Bibles. I noted that he was quietly standing in the corner to pray as we negotiated terms.

We found out with a shock that the price per Bible increased to R200 a Bible. I am seriously trying to convince the book store owner to show us some grace. Ok … he gave me R5 per Bible discount … have to give him credit. We had to cut our order by 50 %. A very happy pastor receiving his Bibles. I noted that he was quietly standing in the corner to pray as we negotiated terms.

Personally my greatest moment of the day! Every pastor and leader trained, equipped and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Personally my greatest moment of the day! Every pastor and leader trained, equipped and filled with the Holy Spirit.

As quickly as the training started … it ended. Again we were treated with VIP treatment – and sitting on the SA Express airplane with Congo disappearing from my view through the to small window I realized I had a severe attack of Congo fever – but a different kind of Congo fever – it was the people and their passion for Christ that moved me! We will be back!

(Written by Francois Rauch. Edited by Ray Lombard)