Congo Dem Rep
Bicycles and books for Congo
Congolese pastors need bicycles
It was 1913, and CT Studd and Alfred Buxton had entered Congo and were to pass through the territory of a fierce tribe. They were heading hundreds of kilometres west to an area where a large population of many tribes was unreached by the gospel.
"You'll never come through alive," a trader warned them before they left.
CT's reply was, "They'll be too interested in our bicycles to do anything to us."
"Bicycles!" cried the trader, "so you mean to say you are going to bicycle through the jungle?"
"Certainly," said C. T. "We'll get to the other end more quickly. And when they can't carry us we'll carry them."i
And so the gospel came to a large population of north-eastern Congo, first brought by two missionaries on bicycles.
2013, 100 years on
In 2013 Azaseko, an evangelist pastor of the church Studd and Buxton planted, would love to have a bicycle to better reach his people for Jesus. In the twenty years since he graduated from the Ibambi Bible School he has given himself to the work of evangelisation and the oversight of many village chapels. These days he evangelises and supervises churches over an area of 200 km2, travelling hundreds of kilometres through tropical rainforest each year. Last year he saw 150 people come to Christ directly through his ministry. He goes from door to door, preaches in the open air and in church meetings. He reaches out to the Pygmy population as well as his own tribal group. Azaseko does all this on foot. He cannot afford a bicycle.
Now 48 years old, Azaseko is increasingly fatigued. For him a bicycle would relieve his fatigue, allow him to reach more people for Christ and grant him more time at home with his wife and 8 children.
In the WEC related church in the D R Congo (known as CECCA 16) there are 1400 pastoral workers like Azaseko. Some have bicycles; some have bicycles in poor condition. Many are limited to travelling by foot for hundreds of kilometres every year in the course of their ministry.
Since the time of Studd and Buxton there has been a tremendous response to the gospel in north-east Congo. Perhaps nowhere more do the words "The harvest is great" so evidently apply. If church workers had increased mobility in their ministry it would enable more people to be reached with the gospel and more Christians in isolated villages to be taught and encouraged.
This is why this WEC centenary project is directed towards providing 100 bicycles for church workers in Congo. 2013 is both the Centenary of WEC and that of CECCA 16, Congo being the first of WEC's mission fields.
It is estimated that one bicycle delivered and with a repair kit would cost $US200.
Bible Schools lacking books ...... and Bibles!
The other part of the project is to provide 100 books for each of the 6 Bible training schools of CECCA.
These Bible schools lack the most basic reference books, like Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries. The school with the largest number of students (over 110) at the moment, Ibambi Bible School, has only 50 brochure-like books. The teachers prepare their courses from the notes they took when they were trained.
These schools are training those who will pastor church community of over 200,000 people and evangelists who seek to reach many hundreds of thousands more. Yet, when the teachers have meagre access to Bible aids, the level of the training given is going to be limited.
Despite this the books the church is most asking for its Bible colleges are ......... Bibles. There is a tremendous lack of availability of Bibles in Congo Swahili and Lingala in the CECCA area. When they are available, many cannot afford the price.
Ibambi Bible School Director, Pastor Kokyakake, says of his students, "Most of them come to study with Bibles so tattered that they lack covers, and are missing even the first and last chapters.... Some of our Christians are using Jehovah's Witnesses Bibles [which are freely and cheaply available] which leads to teaching that favours heretical interpretations."
For this reason the church is asking that three quarters of the hundred books of the project for Bible schools be Bibles.
The average cost of a book, including all transport, is approximately $US20. The aim is for 600 books.
When C T Studd and Alfred Buxton arrived in north-east Congo in 1913 they came to a population completely unreached by the gospel of Jesus. After many years of hard pioneering work by missionaries and Congolese believers in difficult conditions, through great outpourings of God's Sprit and times of great suffering there is today a huge church community. And the harvest is continuing.
What better way to celebrate WEC's centenary than to foster this harvest by helping pastors and evangelists reach out and by helping the training of pastors and evangelists of the future?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been a place of great harvest for the Kingdom of God. WEC began when C T Studd first went to Congo in 1913. From a vast unevangelised population has come a massive church community in the rainforests and savanna of central Africa.
Estimates of the size of the WEC related church community, known as CECCA 16, have been made as high as 250,000 people.
Contact WEC Congo team
Prayer walk in the Congo
Worship, pray, and hear seminars in the heart of Africa
Join an epic journey in the steps of CT Studd
Celebrate WEC's centenary with the WEC church in Congo
The journey's purposes:
to celebrate the centenary of the church in Congo
to understand and pray for the challenges facing the church today
Two trips are being offered: one occurred in February and there will be another in the Autumn.
- Entebbe – Nebobongo by air,
- Overland visit to Ibambi,
- By air Nebobongo to Isiro,
- Possible overland trips to Nala and Egbita,
- By air Isiro - Entebbe
Motorbiked to the heart of Africa
WEC had been celebrating its centenary with the WEC-founded church in Congo by providing motorbikes for church pastors, whilst learning about and praying for the challenges facing the church today.
What happens if you take seven blokes from 4 different countries, and give them 6 motorbikes in northeast Congo?
Answer: a life-changing experience!
In January and February of this year, these 7 guys biked across some of the worst roads in the world, passing through dense rainforest, meeting, encouraging and being encouraged by the CECCA16 church in that area, and discovering the joys and sorrows that are all part of life in Congo.
Aware of God's protection as they narrowly missed meeting a rebel group on the road, the group journeyed about 700km, sharing life with the church as they passed through different villages and towns en route.
Stephen McGoldrick, heading up the team in Congo, reflected, “on our journey we were reminded of the vast Christian heritage in Congo; at Wamba, we prayed with others at the memorial to the martyrs killed in the Simba Rebellion in the 1960's. Then, in Ibambi, we praised God for the lives of CT Studd, and others who brought the Gospel to this area of Congo”.
Another group member, Adrian, was moved by Congolese brothers and sisters who prayed that, just as the gospel had been brought by a westerner to the heart of Africa, so men and women in the west would once again choose to be part of the good news.
The bikes have been given to the church and have been allocated by the church leadership to ministries throughout the region. One pastor, seen here receiving his bike, is responsible for the pastoral oversight of an area stretching almost 800km, which he previously travelled through by bicycle, and by hitching lifts! The gift of a motorbike will greatly strengthen his ministry.
Congo News August 2009
• Opening of New Building at Ibambi Bible School
• WEC Congo field conference held in UK
• Ndutua death
• Wycliffe families returning to Congo
In Congo you are always confronted by huge numbers. Looking at the CECCA and all its needs and opportunities, the numbers to be reached, helped, taught and discipled are mind boggling. Media can help multiply the message.
Congo is a youthful country. Well over half of the country's population is aged 15 and under. In the villages, towns and cities one is continually struck by the numbers of children and teenagers.
Youth, however, have been sadly neglected in the spiritual ministry of CECCA (the WEC related church). Efforts have been made to provide schooling, and today thousands of children are enrolled in the CECCA system of primary schools and many hundreds in the 3 functioning high schools. Yet the spiritual ministry to these children is minimal.
The unreached of DR Congo
Training in DR Congo
People in Congo give the gospel a hearing. Large numbers come to outdoor evangelistic church services. And not only do people listen; they respond. In a meeting of 1000 people 20, 50 or even 100 or more might come forward at the call to repentance. Each year thousands upon thousands indicate that they want to become Christians.
Sadly there is another side to this encouraging picture.
WEC Congo Goals & Objectives
The Church Community In partnership with the CECCA 16, WEC Congo seeks to promote the development of this church Community both on a spiritual and a material level, so that we might see a spiritually vital church, able to assure its continued development and which reaches out to non-Christian peoples both within and beyond Congo's borders. By "spiritually vital" we mean a church which is operating on biblical principles, led by the Holy Spirit, both evangelising non-Christians and teaching Christians to progress in their walk with the Lord.
WEC-related Church in Congo
CECCA is the name of the WEC-related church in Democratic Republic of Congo. They are the initials, in French, of the Evangelical Community of Christ in the Heart of Africa.
CECCA is located in an area of 100,000 square kilometres (equivalent to the size of South Korea, or South Carolina and nearly as large as England). It is a boomerang shaped area, in the north east corner of the Congo. Its main urban centre is Isiro, although is has churches in the larger centres of Kisangani and Bunia.