Congo – a vast country with great people. Being the third largest country in Africa with just over 52 million people it comes as somewhat as a surprise to discover that Congo 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 more than 250 other languages and dialects make Congo a very interesting destination to train leaders to plant churches – not just in villages but in various muslim areas. More than 10 % of the country’s population are devoted Muslims.
It is a well known fact that Congo 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 arrive at Lubumbashi airport on a cloudy day. I prepare myself for the worst. To our total amazement we are greeted at the airplane by a church representative of the Church of God. With him a soldier and a VIP official. (Or says the paraphernalia on his bright yellow safety jacket!). “Hand in your passports!” ‘Here we go’, I thought! And then a miracle takes place. We are cordially taken to a VIP lounge. A few minutes later our passports are handed over to us – yes stamped and sealed! Even our suitcases are delivered. “Welcome to DRC Congo – thank you for being a blessing!”
We arrived shellshocked at our destination where 65 of the countries top church planters are together. Looking over the meeting place men were waiting anxiously for our arrival. Greeted by drums and singing we started training at a rapid rate. Pastor Raymond Lombaard shares his passion for practical and relational evangelism as only he can. Leaders are trained and handed practical evangelism material from the heart of man. And then ….. an amazing thing happens …..!
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 here pastors share from their hearts. Time was of the essence. Pastors had only 90 minutes to test their skills. In this limited time and space 1 271 souls were witnessed to and 220 followed Christ for the first time and attended church.
I continued teaching on practical saturated 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 supremely expensive. As we planned for 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 was sufficient to make them jump and leap with joy.
Follow-up training continues in August 2015 by when we hope to have planted 60 churches with the church planters all over in Southern Congo – the area we are targeting at the moment. As quick 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 too small window I realized I had 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!