God has been doing some wonderful things in the two Congo countries through the ministries supported by Living Hope. Here are a few highlights.
Soul Winners Are Planting House Churches
In the Republic of the Congo, a group of courageous individuals volunteered last fall to be sent out into various places in this country for a year-long commitment to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in a program entitled “Enter the Ark”. Their mission is to win souls for the Lord and to plant house churches in the communities where they have been sent. These saints have not wasted any time. Because of their faithfulness to serve Jesus Christ, they have already planted 5 new house churches – 4 in the large capital city of Brazzaville, and one in a remote town of Oyo.
Reverend Armel Ngo, who oversees the ministries there, recently visited the church in Oyo, along with the church in the neighboring town of Ollembo. These 2 churches are working together and are growing in numbers.
Although 2014 was a challenging year, Armel reports, “People have tried to bury us this past year. However they did not realize that we were the seeds. Our Almighty God has helped us and gave us the victory.”
Political Violence Shuts Down the Internet
Across the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), there has been some serious political unrest, as the unpopular leader of that country announced his plan to run for a third term in office, which is against their constitution. This has spurred many protests in the capital city of Kinshasa, where Reverend Kennedy Kutukwa oversees the ministries for that country. Many of these protests have turned ugly with shootings, much looting, riots in the street, and burning of buildings and vehicles.
In an effort for the present regime to maintain control, the government shut off the internet service to the entire country for a period lasting almost a month. While this has made it difficult to communicate with the saints there, we were able to receive word concerning the saints there from Armel, who had recently been visiting that country.
God is Not Limited by the Government
Armel had traveled to Kinshasa just prior to these events to visit Kennedy. Before the violence that erupted and the internet shutdown, these 2 men worked hand-in-hand to conduct a week-long class on Christian Foundations – based on the books of 1st and 2nd Peter. The government clamp-down jeopardized Armel’s chances to return to his own country across the river; however, God was gracious, and Armel managed to get back to Brazzaville without any serious delays.
Recently, the internet service was restored. Kennedy reported that the class that they had run was indeed very successful and that many saints were able to attend.
In his words, “Finally we are in contact with the link-up of the internet, in spite of some disruptions, but God be praised!! We are all healthy, and no believer has been hurt or impacted by the killing. We thank God also because our activities including courses on Christian foundations, special lessons, and the return of Reverend Armel were not disturbed by the riots.”
He would appreciate your prayers for the political situation to be resolved peacefully and for the continued protection of the believers there.
Schools Closed but Now Reopened
Civil unrest affects everyone, even the children. These events forced the closing of many of the schools, disrupting their education and causing issues that affected many families. Thankfully, schools have reopened.
57 Children Being Sponsored in Schools This Year
This year, a total of 57 children in Kennedy’s fellowships, all from very poor homes, are able to attend school because of the love and generosity of saints in the US who have taken it upon themselves to pay the mandatory educational expenses for one or more of these kids. Because there is no reliable public schooling in the DRC, children must attend a private school and pay tuition or else not attend school at all. Many of the families in these fellowships simply cannot afford this expense, about $480 per year, or else they have to make serious sacrifices of basic needs in order to do so.
Living Hope’s Congo Child School Sponsorship program was initiated in 2008 to give saints in the US the privilege and opportunity to pay the tuition anonymously for one of these kids. The cost for one child is $480 per year, which included tuition, a few supplies and books, and a school uniform. (Yes –they all wear uniforms over there. A uniform gives poor children some dignity and allows them to be seen in school in something other than his or her worn-out or used clothing.)
Perhaps Christ is stirring your heart to help His body in this way. If so, you can learn more about this program on the LHIM website, or you can contact me or one of the leaders at Living Hope International Ministries.