Mbuji-Mayi church leaders

Our first visit to Mbuji-Mayi

In March of 2006, Pastor Kalaki, Pastor Musansa, and I flew to Mbuji-Mayi to gather pastors and church leaders from across the province for a leadership conference. We were also evaluating the possibility of establishing a future Bible school extension there that would serve the training needs of the Kasaï-Oriental Province. The trip went well, however, the living conditions in Mbuji-Mayi were deplorable (e.g., no running water, no electricity, very few paved roads). I was really surprised because it was supposed to be the “diamond capital” of DR Congo. The problem is that nobody seems to want to develop the city or build a home there. Anyone who finds a diamond gets out of dodge as fast they can to go live elsewhere. This unrealistic hope of finding a diamond someday has produced some laziness in the local population. The people don’t want to work or study because they think they’re just going to strike it rich one day. What’s the point? The same mentality seems to permeate the Church as well. As a result, in 2006, not one of our churches in Mbuji-Mayi owned a piece of property.

Pastors, evangelists, deacons, and elders came from all over the province. Some came by foot and others by bicycle. It took one pastor so long to get there that he missed the entire conference, arriving at the end of the last session just before we left. Those who came from the interior of the province were determined to get a picture taken with the missionary. At first I didn’t understand, but they explained to me that they needed to show the people back in their villages that the Assemblies of God really did have a foreign missionary working in DRC. I preached from Nehemiah on restoration and rebuilding. It was really difficult because the majority of those attending had no teaching or training. But by the end of the conference, there was a really encouraging response. They said that our visit and the conference were an answer to their prayers. They told us that every year they go up to the top of a mountain outside the city to fast and pray. They said that the messages at the conference really confirmed what the Lord had spoken to them.

Unfortunately, there has never been any ministry training or accessible Bible school in the Kasaï-Oriental Province. As a result, in 2006, there were only a few trained AG pastors in the entire province. The church was incredibly weak and susceptible to the many false doctrines and sects that inundate the province. They were pleading with us to bring Bible school training to their province.