Everybody needs a hero. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have a number of heroes. One is Billy Graham. In my estimation, Billy did more for the church in the 20th century than any other person. Not only did he preach the Gospel message to millions, he brought church leaders together and fostered a spirit of unity and ecumenism that continues to this day. Another hero of mine is William Carey. Carey believed in the mission movement in a day when the ultra-Calvinist position in England was that God would reach the unreached unassisted. Carey believed that “means” were necessary to spread the message of God’s love. He sailed with his family to India where he served and had a fruitful missionary career. His act of faith ignited the modern missionary movement of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Our 72 year old Congolese language teacher, Mukulu Muamba, has a hero. The name of his hero is Pastor Daniel Moody Tshisungu. Pastor Tshisungu was born at the turn of the 20th century and died in 1964. He was a prominent Congolese evangelist in the Presbyterian Church of Congo. He is buried behind the church where Kristi and I often worship in Kananga. Tshisungu is known as someone who was full of the Holy Spirit. He was a popular and powerful preacher and teacher. He is remembered for having a strong and true faith.
Let me tell you a story which Mukulu Muamba recently related to us. In 1953/54 there was a terrible famine in the area of the Lubondai Mission Station of West Kasai. It didn’t rain for two years, and people’s crops were being devastated. Missionaries did their best to find food from other regions, but their efforts were not able to quell the food shortage. Word of the famine came to Pastor Tshisungu who was living in Luebo. Tshisungu sent word to the villagers of Lubondai, “Don’t worry. Keep planting.” The villagers were dumbstruck. “Keep planting…there is no rain!” He arrived the following Saturday, greeted by hundreds camped on the grass around the house where he would stay. The next morning in church he exhorted everyone to meet every evening the following week at church to pray. He encouraged them to plant and cultivate during the day, and to come together and pray afterwards in the evening. Following his admonition, they planted during the day and came in the evening. They prayed until 10pm. Some lived long distances away. Yet, they still came to pray and seek God’s face in the midst of their adversity. On the following Sunday, all gathered in church for worship. Pastor Tshisungu said to the congregation, “Don’t worry. God has heard your prayer. The rain will come. The famine is over.” At the end of the service, Pastor Tshisungu prayed. As soon as he closed with the word “Amen,” a torrential downpour fell from the heavens. People stood aghast…in amazement! God had heard their prayers. The following morning Pastor Tshisungu encouraged the praying faithful to give thanks to God for hearing them and answering their cry. He then went back to Luebo. The rains continued, and they enjoyed a bountiful harvest. Their grief turned to joy. Their sadness turned into a season of celebration.
The famous Congolese evangelist, Pastor Daniel Moody Tshisungu, is becoming a hero of mine as well. Thank you LORD, for the ways you use the lives of others to inspire us to greater faith and faithfulness!