Fresno School of Mission

The future of world mission

” … And teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always,
to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
A constant transformation of the hearts of women and men by the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of
the most amazing events that the Holy Spirit is doing among Mennonite Brethren in Democratic
Republic of Congo. In 1920 eight Congolese heard the Good News of Christ and became Christians.
DJIMBO Timothy and SENZELE Luke were among these early Mennonite Brethren Disciples of Christ
in Congo. Conversion to Christ meant understanding the scriptures, confessing their sins /
receiving the forgiveness and abandoning fetish (cultural value). This radical conversion meant
(means): reconciliation with Jesus and embracing people of different ethnic groups. The Holy
Spirit enabled the early Congolese converts to imitate Christ in leaving their village (Kafumba
Area) and sharing the Gospel with others. More then eight decade later, the Lord keeps
transforming the hearts of Congolese women and men through faith in Jesus. The national
Conference has grown from Eight people to Ninety-one Thousand members, from rural to urban
settings, from one ethnic to a mosaic community of Christ; from a receiving Conference to a
receiving /sending Body. Men and women are being sent into the tropical forest to reach out the
Batwa people. Within the capital city, Kinshasa, a cross-cultural training school is equipping local
Christians for world mission and interfaith dialogues.
Most Congolese Mennonite Brethren members perceive the future of world mission in hopeful and
positive tem1S. It is God’s gift and task (Jeremiah 29: 11; Romans 15: 13). Since the 90′ s, a yearly
December Mission Conference is held in Kinshasa for action and reflection. Delegates from local
churches gather to receive reports of cross-cultural church mission activities. They pray and
reflect on new interactions in the world.
Out of about a thousand cross-cultural Congolese missionaries in the world, thirty are from the
Melillonite Brethren Church. Their hope is to see God’s Kingdom advance in tropical forest and
world mega cities such as Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Bangui (Central African Republic)
Durban (South Africa), Luanda (Republic of Angola), Montreal (Canada) and Paris (France).
The future of world mission is bright and hopeful because of God’s p

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” Because God’s children are human beings, made of blood and flesh, Jesus also became flesh
and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by
dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way
could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying”
(Hebrews 2:14-15).
In June 2001 I traveled in the Democratic Republic of Congo to participate in mission training
consultation including Evangelical Mennonites, Mennonites and Mennonite Brethren leaders
from Angola, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and France. Many delegates asked me to
pass their greetings to Christian sisters and brothers in North America. May the Lord give you
His peace!
I thank the conference for granting me this opportunity to address the’issue of spiritual power
conflict from a Mennonite Brethren Congolese mission perspective. It will shed light on the
experiential understanding of deliverance on the African mission field. It will Highlight the
African worldview as one of the key factors in the interpretation of daily spiritual power
confrontation in the central region of Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, power
confrontation is relational. It is incarnated in very concrete forms: people driven by evil,
institutions, and discriminatory societal patterns. The recent war that has killed more than
two million five hundred thousand people illustrates the influence of spiritual demonic powers
on the Congo. Evangelism helps the new converts to follow Christ and make a difference in
caring for one another across ethnic lines.
The three following cases will help us become aware of ways through which some local
Christians are dealing with demonic confrontation and healing.
In 1969, a Congolese Mennonite Brethren family from Kikwit struggled desperately with a sick
son named Gidilu. He was seized by powers that threw him on the ground and shook him
violently until the boy became unconscious. His family brought him to local medical
practitioners. Unfortunately, health specialists were unable to help Gidilu. They sent him
home with no hope. In their despair, Gidilu’s parents invited Tata Mushima, one of their local
pastors to come and pray for deliverance.
Once at the site, Tata Mushima made his way through a large crowd surrounding Gidilu. The
pastor was told that Gidilu was under the attack of “bafokolu, bandoki and banganga”, meaning
spiritual powers, ancestors, and with doctors. Gidilu was left speechless and foaming at the
mouth. His mother and relatives were crying. They were begging the Lord to heal their son.
The pastor calmed the crowd. He read the scriptures, explaining that Christ came to free
sinners from spiritual oppression. At the cross, Christ defeated Satan and his work. In today’s
struggle, faith in Christ brings deliverance. The pastor broke into praises to Christ. He was
joined by a number of Christians present among the crowd. After a while, the pastor prayed
for healing. He praised the Lord for bringing to Himself many unbelievers through both the
spiritual and physical deliverance of Gidilu, if so was the Father’s will. At the end of this
prayer, Tata Mushila exorcised Gidilu and asked him to be free in the name of Jesus Christ. He
called Gidilu by his name and ordered him to stand up free from all agitation. Gidilu obeyed.
The pastor asked him to pronounce the name of Jesus Christ. Gidilu responded positively and
was given back to his parents. The power of Christ seen through His faithful servants
convinced them to trust in Christ.

You are not alone. Agony out of Africa

Reflections on war and terror in the Congo by Nzash Lumeya
THE KUDILA family prayed for a taxi-mini bus.
They led a mission committee in a local Mennonite Brethren church in Kinshasa. the capital city of
seven million in Congo. They bought a VW mini-bus from Belgium and drove it to my house. They
wanted to praise the Lord for it and beg him to protect it. They had decided to give monthly support to
God’s mission out of the income generated through their endeavor. Together. we asked the Lord to be
their helper.
That was before August 1998. before the war broke out. In the early days of the war, Kudila’s children
were killed and the mini-bus was destroyed. I had the radio on that day. International radio broadcasts
invited millions of Kinshasa’s population to cross the Congo river to reach safe camps prepared by the
UN. These announcements troubled the whole city. In need of comforting news, I turned my radio to the
local station. They gave more details confirming that Kinshasa was indeed being terrorized. Foreign
sol-diers shelled the city. The invaders tried to take and control the airport by force, but they were
fought back.
During this heavy battle in and around Kinshasa, Kudila’s house was destroyed. His VW mini-bus was
con-fiscated and his children killed. While Kudila escaped death, he is traumatized and still asks many
Where was God- Why did he let that happen? Is he listening to the voices of his people in Congo who
live in the midst of war and cry out for peace?
A land of war
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the third largest African country-home to the largest Mennonite
Brethren and the second largest Mennonite population in the world. Since 1990, the Congolese MB
Conference has increased its cross-cultural evangelists from four to 20 people. Pygmy MBs are the
newcomers in this family of God. Kinshasha is home to the 8,000 Mennonite Brethren of the
Kimbanseke MB district, who worship in 20 local churches in Lingala, French and Arabic.
But Congo is unjustly crippled. We are intimate with war, contlict and exploitation. We have endured it
for over a century. Since 1885, Congolese people had no input in their economical and political destiny.
The price of our resources-rubber, diamonds, gold, tea and cot: fee-is marked by the customer rather
than the seller.
In 1885, the major European powers carved up Africa and created the Congo Free State, one of the
most brutal and exploitative of all African colonial regimes. Congo remained a Belgian colony until June
1960, when the region gained independence and was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But the country collapsed into disorder a few months after gaining independence, and Moburu Sese
Seko seized power in a military coup, naming himself president in 1965. In 1971, MobutLI changed the
name of the region to Zaire, and for the next two decades he ruled as a dictator. During that time, Zaire
was a pawn in the Cold War. Mobutu was supported by Western powers, who saw him as a
counterbalance to the Soviet influence in the region. But under Mobutu’s rule, the economy
disintegrated as public funds were diverted into his private bank accounts.
(n 1994, 1.3 million refugees fled to camps in east· ern Zaire after war broke out in neighboring Rwanda.
In 1996, a wider anti-Mobutu opposition took over the country. A year later, Laurent-Desire Kabila the
inside out.
Imagine what would happen if we all took seri-ously God’s call to peace. Each of the six African
countries with armies in the Congo is more than 70 percent Christian. Congo is more than 95 percent
Christian. If each Christian citizen of these seven countries took the great commandment seriously-to
love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul and mind and love one’s neighbor as oneself-the Mennonite
Brethren family of Kudila could reap the result of love in Christ. Christian oneness not only could have
saved Kudila’s VW mini-bus from destruction but saved his children from unnecessary death.
• Prayer and advocacy are needed on behalf of Congo in order to further God’s Kingdom in Congo and
abroad. Inter-dependency in God’s mis-sion remains the core of our obedience as members of the global
body of Christ in this third millennium.
You are not alone
As a global family, we have the blessing of sharing our struggles with each other. Sept. 11 was felt in
Congo. African Mennonites Brethren are in sympa-thy with you. Days and nights have been offered in
prayers for guidance and discernment. Our prayer for you is that you would know “the Father of
com-passion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1: 3b-4) .•
At the time this was written Nzash Lumeya was an associate professor in world missions at the MB
Biblical Seminary in Fresno, Calif., and a missi-ologist consultant with MBMS Interna-tional, the global
mission agency of North American MB churches.
A letter from the Congo by Mesach Krisetya and Larry Miller
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We greet each of you in the name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of the worldwide family of faith. Before
leaving the Democratic RepUblic of the Congo, where we are now on a pastoral visit to Mennonite
World Conference member churches, we received messages of condo-lence and concern for your
welfare from various parts of the world. In every place we visit, the first questions asked are about you
and your faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
The letter to the Hebrew~_ speaks of “a great cloud of witnesses.” As we write this letter, we are
surrounded by members and leaders of the Mennonite churches of the Congo. Together with ‘,hem, we
bear witness to you that you, too, are surrounded by a great cloud of brothers and sisters.
From the moment of the first news of the tragic events of Sept. 11 and during the dif-ficult weeks since
then, the worldwide family of faith has been holding you up in heart-felt prayer. We traveled through
restricted areas in the Congo, where Mennonites and their compatriots have been suffering under the
love and fervent prayers.
More than 84,000 MBs and their families, including these children, live in the Congo. In Angola, there
are 4,600 more.
These same sisters and brothers also ask If you are keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. From their
own life situation, they know you effects of war, economic collapse, political crisis and more than two
million deaths. Expressions of grief and soli-darity with Americans and with you In particular are
prominent In nearly every meeting and worship service. Those we meet ask us to assure you of their
fraternal now face heavy pressure and high obstacles as you seek to follow and bear witness to the
Savior, who loves ene-mies. They believe a warlike response to the Sept. II vio-lence will harm many
people and Impede Christian wit-ness around the world, directly or Indirectly, Including here in Africa.
They encourage you to seek a message from God amidst the present events and to seize this
opportunity to reinforce your proclama-tion of the gospel of peace, as they have tried to do dur-ing the
war years in the Congo. We have reported that you are focusing on the Prince of Peace and that you are
searching for ways to pro-mote his ways. They will con-tinue to follow your decisions and actions,
surrounding you continually with prayer.
May God give you the strength to run with perse­verance the race marked out for you. Keep the faith! •
Mesach Krisetya, presi-dent of Mennonite World Con-ference, Iives in Indonesia. Larry Miller, executive
secre-tary of Mennonite World Con-ference, lives in France. Adapted from a letter to members and
heads of U.S. Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches written from the Congo, Oct. 7, 2001.