This month, we are excited to have Bibles to sell. People come to our office every day looking for Bibles, and I get the pleasure of sometimes getting to know them a little bit in the process. I thought you might enjoy just a few testimonies of people who have come to buy Bibles from our department this month.
Pastor Nzuala is the pastor of a congregation near Kazumba, about 2 days travel from Kananga. He also oversees 3 “evangelistic circles” (like a church plant) in his vicinity, visiting them each month and supporting the elders or lay-people who are serving those new congregations. He has a Bible, but it is so well-worn that he said he had only half of Genesis, and in the New Testament only Matthew remained. The rest had been lost over the years. He was very excited to finally have a complete Bible in Tshiluba! Pastor Mukenge, our colleague in Mbuji-Mayi, reported a similar situation recently. In the tropical climate and harsh living conditions that people have here, after keeping a Bible for 20-30 years, it is often missing some pages – or big chunks!
Pastor Mande Mukeni serves a thriving new congregation in a village called Tshiela Kalombayi. He was serving as pastor of a church in the mining city of Tshikapa, but then in 2009 felt called to begin a church in a new rural area. He began doing evangelism in the area, and gathered a group together to hold services in the shade of a tree. He said that villagers at first wanted to see ‘ceremonies’ like other churches performed, but he gradually impressed them with the importance of understanding God’s truth and the message of salvation. In 2011 their congregation was recognized as a full-fledged parish and member of the presbytery. They now average about 150 people in worship, including 70-80 kids. He said that he, as the pastor, only had a small New Testament Bible; in fact, NO ONE in the whole church had a whole Bible, just a few scattered New Testaments among the members.
Nkaji is a young woman studying theology at UPRECO, the Protestant University in Kananga. She came to buy a Bible for herself – she said that it has been difficult studying theology and not having her own Bible in her native language of Tshiluba. When I asked why she chose to study theology, she said it was because she really loves the Word of God. She comes from a distant village about 300 km south of Kananga. Her parents own a Bible, but she has never owned one for herself.
Mamu Musuamba is a deacon in her church and a very active leader of the network of women in her presbytery. We have encountered her before in a rural village a full day’s walk from her home, where she traveled just to pay her condolences on the death of the spouse of one of the other women in the presbytery. More than a year ago, thieves broke into her house at night, and stole all the books and clothes, including her Bible and songbook. Since that tragic event, whenever she was called to teach at a woman’s meeting, she had to borrow a Bible from someone. But this week she was very excited to finally be able to buy a new Bible for herself.
A big ‘thank you’ to all the individuals and churches that have helped us to have this privilege of helping people get their own Bibles. The demand for Bibles continues to be huge. If you would like to give towards Bibles in Congo, you can find instructions and a link for online giving on our projects page (see #4). And if you want more details about how and why we subsidize Bibles, we have a recent blog post that explains more.