Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3
In the first century, the apostle Paul gives the church in Ephesus instructions on how they can grow in maturity. Among the first things he emphasizes is a call to avoid division. For Paul, unity was essential among the body of Christ in order not only for churches to grow in the faith but for them to be a light in a dark world.
In spite of this, conflict and division has arisen in congregations from churches in first-century Ephesus to America to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Recently the unity of local Christians in the Kole Mission Church in the DRC had been severely threatened. So MAF flew members of Centres Bibliques—a Congolese ministry whose vision is to help God’s people grow through roots in the Bible—from the city of Kinshasa to several smaller towns throughout the Kasai Province, in order to lead conferences in which 126 churches were represented.
The teachings emphasized placing Christ first in one’s personal, family, and church life. Over 1600 people participated in five locations across the country. So hungry were they for this spiritual nourishment that many went to great lengths to come to the conference, some traveling as far as 75 miles by foot, 100 miles by bike, or up to 320 miles by motorcycle. MAF opened the doors for the the Centres Bibliques team to reach the remote areas of this vast country.
“Members who had been divided, were reconciled during the conference,” said Pierre-Etienne Pfister with Centres Bibliques. “Uneasiness about the administrative sides of the work was relieved through a heartfelt and renewed commitment to unity among these pastors and church leaders. This conference firmly planted the Christian life in the heart of many participants. Their individual testimonies reflected their new positions as children of God.”
Paul goes on to tell the Ephesian Christians that by “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” The same message is just as powerful two millennia later and is changing the hearts of these Congolese Christians.
The Centres Bibliques team arrived to an enthusiastic welcome in Tshikapa via an MAF flight from Kananga.
MAF getting ready to transfer the team in the Caravan from Kabinda to Kinshasa.
Local Christians gather for the conference at Kabinda.
Meeting at Mbuji Mayi conference on the theme “Christ first in my personal, family and church life.”
The Tshikapa conference continued the theme of placing Christ first.
The Pilatus, flown by MAF pilot Garth Pederson, delivered the team for the last conference at Kole.