Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission to Split this Summer

Several missionaries serving in the Africa Southeast Area report that the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission will split this summer. In addition to the tremendous demands on the mission president administering to other nations like the Republic of Congo, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea, the mission has also been unable to serve all the needs of the DR Congo itself. Some districts in the interior have had attendance at district conference in the thousands. Several members live in areas without an organized congregation walk up to 200 miles for two weeks to attend Church meetings and gather additional Church literature and scriptures to share with fellow family and friends. Several groups and dependent branches also function throughout the country. Much of this growth occurs without missionaries permanently assigned to these areas. The Africa Southeast Area had over 10,000 convert baptisms in 2009.

A recent trip by the mission president to Burundi revealed hundreds of people meeting in congregations under the Church's name waiting for the reestablishment of the Church in the coming months. The Church had a branch in the 1990s in Bujumbura which was discontinued following many of the leaders emigrating out of the country. The return of the Church's presence will first occur in Bujumbura and in the coming years to unofficial congregations in rural areas. Situations likes these are approached carefully by the Church since the leaders of unofficial congregations of un-baptized members can often be more prone to apostasy. Furthermore conversion is stressed as an individual process and not a collective one. Similar reports have also come from Sudan in the couple years of large groups meeting and awaiting official Church establishment.

A new mission in Lubumbashi appears highly likely. The original DR Congo Kinshasa mission may be divided in three to create a Cameroon Yaounde Mission which could assist in the opening of missionary work in the Central African Republic (which has one branch) and Equatorial Guinea.

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