Bringing Church to the Neighborhood

By Corrine Cadinouche

Because of where MAF staff live, God often brings them opportunities to minister to local people outside of the MAF sphere. Here, Corrine Cadinouche with MAF Canada discovers a new mission field during the COVID-19 lockdown in Kinshasa, western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she serves with MAF as a flight operations coordinator.

Mission Aviation Fellowship systems checks and engine running for the PC-12 aircraft during COVID-19 lockdown west DRC.
Corrine Cadinouche is with MAF pilot Nick Frey, left, and staff member Pierre Chama as they conduct systems checks and engine running for the Pilatus PC-12 to make sure it’s ready should a flight request come in. Photo by Corrine Cadinouche.

During our present global pandemic, people back home always ask me, “How are you dealing with solitude and social distancing without a family there, and being alone?” I say, “Well, video messaging my family and friends has been the norm for me for the last nine months, since I moved to the DRC. As for being alone, I am confined with seven families in my compound that love to get together for any and every reason (birthdays, Sunday lunch, workout sessions, and so on). All the kids seem to think that my house is the place to be!”

Although all churches have been shut down for over four months because of COVID-19, we have a little thriving church in our compound. Aaron, a Baptist missionary whose family lives with us, felt called to start a Sunday morning service inviting our neighbours from all over the faith spectrum in our compound to attend. The proprietor, who also lives here, even calls each family to get them out of bed; she makes sure everyone comes to “church.” I was thinking the other day that if I invited my neighbours to church they probably wouldn’t come. But now they are coming each Sunday morning. Through this confinement and churches being closed, we are able to bring church to them.

Neighborhood church during COVID-19 lockdown, western DRC.
Aaron, left, preaches in the neighborhood. Photo by Corrine Cadinouche.

Aaron has become the neighborhood preacher; the local woodworkers even built him a pulpit! We set up 20 chairs outside on the driveway, which is the max we can have (confinement rules); and if it rains, we meet in the small gym surrounded by the exercise equipment.

COVID-19 lockdown and neighborhood church with MAF staff in western DRC.
Neighborhood church in the gym on a rainy Sunday morning. Photo by Corrine Cadinouche.

Each Sunday they come and hear the gospel loud and clear and they are given the opportunity to ask and answer questions, pray, sing and read the Bible. It’s neat because my neighbors that live upstairs are Muslim. The whole family came the first time we had church and now just the husband comes most Sundays. When he attends, he often talks and answers questions. I’ve thought to myself; “I wonder what he believes?” Then, last Sunday, he brought a Bible. I have since learned that he only practices fasting to support his wife and kids during the times of Ramadan.

Palm Sunday was one of my favorite services. We had “Jesus” ride in on a pink bicycle while palm branches and materials were laid on the ground. One of the ladies here said to me last Sunday, “Wouldn’t it be great if Aaron could continue with our Sunday services here even after the confinement is over?” They are all really being touched and learning God’s word.

Children reenact Palm Sunday. Photo by Corrine Cadinouche.

Recently, I have been wondering, “What is my mission field beyond my ministry with MAF?” And God showed me so clearly during this confinement that my mission is now my neighbors in my compound. I have spent more time with them than any other group of people during these last few months. I pray I will always seek to be a good witness for Christ with them.

7 Comments

  • Avatar Orman W Conrad JR says:

    I see how being witnesses never need to stop.

  • Avatar Isabelle Blough says:

    Praise God for these small churches that are happening and all who are hearing God’s word.

  • Thank you for your blog post. It was encouraging to see your ministry there. Keep up the good work!

  • Avatar Katye Freeman says:

    I love the simple ways you’ve found to love your neighbors… so encouraging!!

  • Avatar Esther Wintringham says:

    What a wonderful testimony. It proves to me that the Lord is in all of this even with the confinement that the whole world has had to deal with. When the Lord’s hand is in it things often turn out better than ‘normal’ life.

  • Avatar Ang & Jim Marcy says:

    Touching my needy heart this Saturday morning!! Thanks for serving The Lord Jesus Christ 🎉✝️🎉

  • Avatar Cynthia says:

    Corrine: How wonderful! You are being the church – right where God has placed you – and Hw is working right there “where 2 or 3 are gathered” in His precious Name! Thank you for serving the church this way!

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