Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blessings on the Batéké

The geography is daunting. The wild Plateau Batéké is criss-crossed by rivers, escarpments, and swamps. Roads are almost non-existent, and those that do exist are often made impassable by weather conditions. Traveling into the Plateau Batéké would be grueling in the best of circumstances; only hardy souls make the effort.
Evangelists at a preaching point on the Batéké
Among them are three intrepid evangelists trained in ER’s School of Evangelism in Kinshasa. Baudouin Finkole, Jaques Leby and Theophile Mpiambula make regular excursions into the Batéké to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. They haul heavy equipment to show the Jesus film in a two-wheel cart. Sometimes they travel by boat up the Congo River, but the rest of the journey is made on foot. The only power they use is the force of their own legs and backs to make the cart bump along rutted, muddy paths more suitable for animals than humans.

Setting up the projection screen
Why do they dare undertake such a journey? The fields are too white to leave them unharvested!  Regular reports of their efforts are received in ER’s Home office. The most recent report, from 2013, narrated seven times they had set up the equipment and shown the film. 1,045 people viewed it, which is an unusual event in such a remote region. 451 prayed to receive Christ, 251 made re-commitments, and 40 were discipled to become lay leaders. Ongoing efforts are taking place to disciple Christian leaders from among the indigenous people, and Portable Bible Schools are a primary method for doing so. 310 were engaged in Bible studies. Their statement of praise?  “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

Along the way, there are opportunities as well for the men to pray and minister with people whose access to medical help is sparse at best. One person was instantly healed from crippling back pain. He then repented of his sins and prayed to receive Christ! The team also prays with people who have witnessed first-hand the power of evil. One family was terrorized nearly every night by demonic forces. Every morning when they awoke there would be blood spattered in the foyer of their home.  The evangelists prayed, the house was cleansed of evil spirits, and the family committed their lives to Jesus. They rejoiced in being set free!
Viewing the Jesus film
This team of three was trained by a man who is no longer able to accompany them. Joseph Mongo, an SOE graduate, has been afflicted with serious physical disabilities, including a heart condition that makes the trip too grueling. In 2012, the team’s return to Kinshasa was seriously delayed beyond when they were expected. Concern and prayers mounted day by day. They finally emerged from the Batéké, reporting that their delay had been caused by Mongo’s illness. Though he cannot go himself, he continues to inspire and motivate others to go, while he continues his impactful ministry in local prisons in Kinshasa.

Years ago, when Willys and Thelma Braun were at the helm of Evangelism Resources, their hearts were burdened for the people of the Batéké. That concern remains the heartbeat of the men trained through their efforts, and there is today a light still shining to reach those precious people with the gospel. Will you pray for these evangelists?  Ask, with us, for the Lord to protect and enable them for the demanding ministry they have undertaken for the sake of the Kingdom.

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