Elkhart, Indiana – A quest to learn how Mennonite Church USA congregations and agencies find resources for their ministries brought Macaire Kilambo Kabanga and Roussel Kimakamba, lay leaders in Communauté Mennonite au Congo (Mennonite Church of Congo - CMCO) on a recent month-long tour of the United States.
“Our church is growing,” said Kumakamba, who is a national director of Congo’s social security network. “How will we find the resources to support this growth?” CMCO, a member of Mennonite World Conference, currently has close to 800 churches and 110,000 members.
In their exploratory trip that took them to Indiana, Kansas and Washington, the two Congolese leaders said they were impressed with how individuals give generously and voluntarily to church infrastructure and ministries.
“This sets a beautiful example for our congregations,” Kumakamba said. “However, so many of our members live in poverty that what they give is only sufficient to maintain the most basic infrastructure.”
Kilambo, who owns a trucking business based in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said that if resources were available, CMCO would have more influence to transform lives within the country and in surrounding nations. “We would have grown beyond Congo into neighbouring countries, because Congolese Mennonites have a strong missionary spirit,” he said.
The two men brainstormed about areas of development that could benefit their church: agricultural projects, animal husbandry, fish ponds, public transportation, building construction and the manufacture of furniture from Congo’s bountiful forests. “I’m convinced that if we bring together the innovations of North America and those of Congo, we will end up with good results,” Kilambo said.
Kilambo and Kumakamba paid for their travel expenses to the United States from personal funds. Their visit was hosted by Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission with help from Mennonite Church USA congregations and agencies.
From a Mennonite Mission Network news release by Lynda Hollinger-Janzen