It was early evening in the village of Mashala in the Dimbelenge Territory (West Kasai Province, DRC). . The sun was just going down and we were sitting in a circle, enjoying conversation, laughter, and fellowship. My colleague, Pastor Mukenge, was selling Bibles and songbooks and other Christian literature. One youth came to him wanting to buy a songbook, but he only had a chicken. I thought about it for a moment, and decided that I would buy the chicken for two thousand francs in exchange for the songbook he earnestly sought. I did not have a great need for a chicken, but I wanted to help this young man get a songbook. Pastor Mukenge then bought a giant rooster from another inquirer for two Bibles!
That night as I was going to bed, I could hear my colleague negotiating deep into the night with youth about buying Bibles and songbooks, often in exchange for chickens. Early the following morning youth came again to visit us. We would continue to negotiate Bibles for chickens. Later that morning I bought a handsome white rooster from an elder so that he could buy a Bible. We weren’t always able to help (one can only go back to Kananga with so many chickens!), but folks were grateful in cases where we could.
The main purpose of our Bible Subsidy program is to dramatically reduce cost to help church members and leaders have Bibles and songbooks. Village folks often don’t have much cash, but they do have chickens and other things of value which they are willing to sell in exchange for the privilege of having God’s written word in their grasp. I am grateful for our trip to Mashala and seeing the deep desire of God’s people to lay hold of God’s Word. May this program continue to flourish and take whatever creative turns will best serve the Congolese people. We extend our gratitude to all the churches and individuals who have generously given to make this program possible. “Tuasakadila!” (thank you!).