Peace Grows in the Congo

You are making it possible for God’s love to be shared in the DRC

 

By Chris Burgess

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the largest countries in the Africa by both land area and population. This vast country, which is almost as large as the eastern half of the United States, is home to an estimated 242 language groups. With mountains topping 16,000 feet, vast rainforests, and gigantic rivers, this country is beautifully complex.

Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

It has also seen its share of tragedy. COVID-19 is just one of the latest hardships afflicting this nation. Recent years have seen tribal warfare, recurring Ebola outbreaks, and a staggering number of internally displaced people.

Yet hope stubbornly persists amid hardship as the gospel continues to spread.

For decades, MAF has worked with Western missionaries in the DRC, yet in recent years, MAF pilots increasingly find their cabins filled with Congolese pastors and missionaries who are taking the message, hope, and love of Jesus to people in remote parts of this huge nation.

War and instability in the northern parts of the country make passage on the few roads crisscrossing the Ituri rainforest dangerous, but MAF flights can help local pastors bypass these challenges.

Villages burning in the eastern DRC. Photo by Chad Dimon.

Recently a Congolese pastor moved from Bunia to Banda. MAF staff managed to fit all the pastor’s belongings into a Cessna Caravan—huge bags of clothing, cooking equipment, mattresses, jugs of oil, a bike—all items that may not have been able to make the difficult trip by land.

MAF staff loading a Cessna Caravan for a pastor’s move to a remote region of northern DRC. Photo by Chad Dimon.

“One day I found myself taking a team of pastoral leaders to a small riverside village called Dingila, which is about 320 miles away and over 90% of the flight is spent over the jungle. I’d estimate at least a week of travel time was saved. Their mission is to strengthen the local church leaders through extensive Bible training as well as evangelism and strategic church planning seminars,” said Chad Dimon, an MAF pilot in the DRC.

When I step into the airplane and get to take pastors to interior villages so they can strengthen the church and bring others into the kingdom, I cannot describe the sense of fulfillment and impact it brings me.” – Chad Dimon

The pastors arrive at Dingila. Photo by Chad Dimon.

Cory and Annaleis Woodsum serve with MAF at the Nyankunde base in the eastern DRC. Their local church in Nyankunde hosted a youth retreat last summer. During the retreat, a young man asked if it was possible to follow Christ if he had already made a contract with dark forces for a talisman to protect him.

“He soon found that yes, Jesus breaks every chain, as he decided to follow Christ,” wrote Annaleis in a prayer letter.

MAF pilot Cory Woodsum transports village chiefs from Burasi to Komanda, east DRC, for peace talks. Photo by Kazi.

Later that summer, Cory flew a few chiefs and delegates to a round table peace conference, attended by nearly 30 representatives of the chiefdoms within the Irumu territory. At the summit, they identified many practical solutions to foster peace among the different tribes in this area. They focused on intercommunity conflict resolution, the disarmament of several militias, illegal mining solutions, aiding displaced peoples and helping to return them home.

“God has been at work in our province in bringing about unity,” Annaleis wrote.

MAF is able to serve Congolese pastors and the needs of isolated people in this vast country because of the support of people like you. You make it possible for Christ’s love to be shared in places like this around the world.

 

Story appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of FlightWatch. Read the full issue here:

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