Samaritan’s Purse built a new place of worship to replace a church destroyed by wars and rebel attacks in a jungle village in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Graham Aitken is the interim country director for Samaritan’s Purse in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The flight from Bunia to Bangadi is a truly remarkable experience as the plane traverses the vast expanse of Congolese forest beneath.
As we made our way toward Bangadi, I wondered what we would find in this remote part of the country, far from the city context of Bunia. I expected a warm welcome, as this is the Congolese way, but I could not have predicted the scene upon our arrival.
Bangadi is a small jungle village in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Missionaries built the village church in the colonial period, but it fell into disrepair over the years as the community suffered through wars and rebel attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army. Samaritan’s Purse rebuilt the church so the community could have a place to worship in safety.
When we arrived, the celebration of the church opening was already in full swing! Hundreds of people lined the streets singing, dancing, playing instruments, and throwing flowers as we passed by. The beauty of this remote village was breathtaking and reminded me of the truth that God’s kingdom is breaking in at all times and in all places.
Looking into the eyes of the church members who had come to celebrate with us, I felt immense gratitude for the privilege of experiencing firsthand the diversity of the body of Christ. Despite so many obvious differences between us, we were bound by our common faith and could celebrate together as brothers and sisters.
And celebrate we did! We first attended the inaugural service in the new building, which was filled with great music and the preaching of the Word. A highlight was hearing the conversion stories of Congolese army members who had been reached by the ministry of the church. All too often, stories pertaining to the army are void of hope, but on this day, the true hope of Christ was proclaimed over and over again.
After the service, we exchanged gifts and then enjoyed a feast together. I ate far more than I should, which came as no surprise to my wife. Some things stay the same no matter what part of the world you are in.
I am so grateful to have celebrated the work of Samaritan’s Purse in Bangadi, and I pray that God uses the church building to bless the people of the village and bring many more to saving faith in Him.