Reaching Their Own

How MAF is helping one Congolese church leader spread the Gospel

After landing deep in an isolated area of the Bas-Congo region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Salazaku Milukiele exits an MAF airplane and transitions to another mode of transportation: a motorcycle. The vehicle is only temporary though, as it will eventually give way to a canoe, a much more navigable way to travel in the heart of the jungle.

Photo courtesy of Salazaku Milukiele.

Photo courtesy of Salazaku Milukiele.

While Milukiel – or “Pastor Sala” as he is more affectionately known – may not be blazing new trails into the DRC’s dense jungle, he represents a marked shift in the way MAF is helping reach the DRC with the Gospel. Instead of flying mostly western missionaries, MAF is now flying more national church leaders into the interior, helping the new generation of Congolese Christian leaders reach their own.

While national church leaders often express frustration with the number of seminary students who study abroad yet never return home, Pastor Sala is among the growing contingent of Congolese who feel called to serve in DRC.

Pastor Sala began working with MAF in 1985 in Kinshasa, when the MAF base was open between intermittent evacuations due to civil and political unrest. In 1997, Pastor Sala began earning his undergraduate and then master’s degrees in theology and Christian leadership in Kenya. Then, he and his wife Suzanne (who earned a degree in biblical counseling) returned to DRC in 2004 to work with their people. “I kept my word that after my training, I would return to my home country to serve the Lord, despite the pressure from friends to stay in Kenya or go to other western countries because of how I would suffer in DRC,” said Pastor Sala. “Serving the Lord is not always easy—I know.”

Photo courtesy of Salazaku Milukiele.

Photo courtesy of Salazaku Milukiele.

Pastor Sala’s pain is real.When he was 11, his pregnant mother died while being transported to a large hospital. His parents were serving deep in the interior of the country as missionaries, and adequate medical care was not available.

However, Pastor Sala remains steadfast in his calling, as he continues his own mission work with the help of MAF by traveling deep into DRC’s remote regions to share the Gospel.

“We were about to teach and preach … and people came from surrounding villages,” Pastor Sala reported back about his venture. “As a result, we baptized new converts. We also did counseling and prayed for the sick and those who had problems.”

There is little doubt that the church leaders in the DRC are committed to reaching their own people for Christ. It is a blessing for MAF to partner with pastors to help them turn that vision into reality.

 

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