An evangelical Anabaptist “family gathering” of African, North American, and European members working together to become an answer to Jesus’ prayer: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
CEFMC (Mennonite Brethren) and CEM (Evangelical Mennonite) churches in DR Congo are conducting trainings to raise awareness and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ensuring that all congregations have access to good public health information is crucial to the life of the church. AIMM is supporting these churches in this project.
COVID-19 Updates from DR Congo and Burkina Faso
Messages from our partners
By Ron Goertzen (first published by Mennonite Mission Network)
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Ron Goertzen served as a Pax worker in the Republic of Zaïre from 1969 to 1972 and continues to return to the country, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, every other year. He goes as an ambassador of Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson, Nebraska, to support the congregation's ministry, Dayspring. Dayspring supports Congolese Mennonite churches through women's literacy, scholarships, the building of schools and churches, medical work, and pastor training. Dayspring is part of Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission's Congo Collaboration, a group of small innovative initiatives. Here, Goertzen shares excerpts of a letter from Simplice Mbamvu, which he translated from the Chokwe language.
I received this letter from my friend in Kinshasa, Simplice Mbamvu. Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has an estimated population of 12 million people. People live on top of each other and physical distancing is not possible.
Simplice writes about general panic because of COVID-19. In Kinshasa, the search for food is a constant and daily struggle, even in the best of times. Temperatures rise to an average of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day and few homes have access to refrigeration, making food storage impossible. Medical care is at the barest of minimums. On Sunday morning, Simplice was distraught by 30 people suffering from COVID-19 and a death. By the end of the day, there were more than 1,000 cases reported (though not yet confirmed by WHO at the time of writing). Let the following letter be a call to prayer to remember our brothers and sisters around the world.
Life to you, my friend, Ron.
May God's love be with all the members of your family…
My friend, here in Kinshasa we are having great, great troubles because of coronavirus. Today, Sunday, Mar. 22, there is general panic in Kinshasa — 30 people have contracted the coronavirus and one has already died. All things are really troubling and deteriorating. They have closed schools, churches, restaurants, and open-air meeting places. They have shut everything down. Today, all my family worshiped at my house – that's what we will be doing. Markets sell nothing but food.
We don't see how we will live through this crisis. You should pray for us a lot and seriously. God is good all the time. [Several of our Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission brothers from North America would have been here but couldn't come because of borders closing.] We are tormented and in pain because of the coronavirus. I am troubled and have much grief and sorrow because of the precarious situation that is settling in here. May God rescue us. Please, would you pray for us? But I will not forget that, "in everything God always does good and all the time God is good."
May you all stay well with God,
In response to Simplice Mbamvu's urgent request from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rod Hollinger-Janzen offers the following prayer. He and Fred Suter, a member of Congo Collaboration, were planning to be in Congo Mar. 16-Apr. 10 before international borders closed.
We join the lament of our brothers and sisters in Congo, and indeed all the people of our global community, in pouring out our fear and our cries for help. Lord, in your compassion, in your mercy, give to all who call on you the peace that passes understanding. As you multiplied the loaves and fishes, multiply your provision. Carry us through this plague as you carried the people of Israel out of Egypt. Cover us with your protection. We pray in the powerful and healing name of Jesus, Amen.
A message from Pastor Damien Kakhenda, Pastor of Kimia (peace) church in Kinshasa:
All of you who are beloved of God, called to be holy, may grace and peace be granted to you in these critical and traumatic days of a coronavirus pandemic that is raging all over the world. I wanted to say again: THE PEACE OF JESUS-CHRIST AND THE LOVE OF OUR GOD IN YOU AND WITH YOU. For God's love banishes fear.
To the biblical passages that our Brother Rod sent us: Psalms 46 and Romans 8:31,34-39, I add Ecclesiastes 7:14-19 and 2Chronicles 7:14; these can build you up in these moments when we are confined to our homes.
I do not know how states and their leaders at all levels guide you, but I would like to share with you our harrowing news in DR Congo.
The capital city Kinshasa has so far had 53 positive cases, including 5 deaths, and more than 2000 contact cases. Thus the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tshisekedi Felix and the Governor of Kinshasa Ngobila took the decision to confine the city of Kinshasa for 4 weeks.
Let's say until the end of April 2020, Kinshasa is in a state of emergency. It is isolated from other provinces. There will be no flights of aircraft from the outside or from the inside. Or by vehicles no exits, no entries to safeguard the 22 untouched provinces. Because, apart from the province of Ituri and Katanga where there is one case everywhere, the other provinces are so far free from infection.
The brothers and sisters who are in Kikwit, Mukedi, Kandale, Kamayala, Tshikapa, Kalonda, Nyanga, Mutena, Banga, Ndjoko-Punda, Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi are not affected. But the Congolese state authorities are putting the city of Kinshasa and its 12 million inhabitants in quarantine. The big problem is the economic crisis, which results in non-payment of wages, water and electricity cuts and interruptions. People live day to day. Rising food prices...
Meanwhile, schools, higher institutes, academics, shops, bars, churches... are closed until further notice.
To date our Mennonite Communities have not yet registered a case of coronavirus or a suspect. We pray to God to protect and rescue us all, by following the health rules set by WHO.
May our God also keep you, all of you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, scattered throughout the world.
However, we are mourning two Mennonite brothers and sisters who died of a long and painful illness. These are: Rev Pastor Ndala of the CEFMC (the body in the morgue), Former Enos Kangu Swalala who will be buried tomorrow 28/03, and widowed Mother Françoise Kanzenze (aunt of sister Colette Ramm) already buried since yesterday.
Siaka Traore writes from Burkina Faso:
The Ouagadougou airport is closed and no one knows at what point it will reopen. All 10 cities in Burkina Faso which have registered cases of covid-19 are quarantined. Currently I cannot travel to Orodara, and no one from Orodara can come to Bobo Dioulasso. As of Monday (today) the markets in Bobo Dioulasso will be closed, because in our city we have 13 confirmed cases. The world is paralyzed…
Ndjoko Punda Emergency
Planting & Building
Bellarmé Ngalula and his wife Mimie Kanku are planting the new Trois Rivieres CEM (Evangelical Mennonite) congregation in Bandundu Ville, DRC. Meanwhile, they are also working on construction for their first congregation, The Lord’s Reserve. AIMM is supporting this work through the “African Missionary Support” project.
New Africa Journal
Leadership Coaching in Kalonda
The Congo Leadership Coaching Network team recently returned from a transformational seminar at the Kalonda Bible Institute.
The Evangelical Mennonite Church of Congo's celebration of 100 years captured in a music video from Orchestre OEVM
Video footage by David Matala. 8 July 2019
Recent seminars held in May 2019 in Kinshasa and Kananga. Watch this video for a glimpse into these transformative gatherings.