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"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."

Our SKMB Pastor In The Congo

For the past several weeks, Susan and I have had the privilege of teaching some enthusiastic students in the Theology Faculty of Shalom University of Bunia, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These are students who will soon be stepping into pastoral ministry in an extremely challenging environment. Congo is potentially very wealthy, yet its riches go to a tiny minority of powerful, well connected politicians and businessmen, while the vast majority of folks struggle to make ends meet. That reality of course affects church life in all kinds of ways. 

The religious context in which these students will be working is challenging as well. In recent years, a large number of independent churches have sprung up, focusing on “deliverance ministry.” People here in Congo are much quicker than Canadians are to interpret their daily experiences in terms of demonic activity. Many of the independent churches play on those fears in ways that often stray from biblical teaching. The students have been exposed to these practices, and have lots of questions about what is or is not consistent with God’s Word.

So as we tackle these issues, both in Cultural Anthropology and especially in a course on Spiritual Warfare, discussions can get very animated! One of my goals is to work toward a broader understanding of spiritual warfare, helping students see it not just as a matter of casting out demons, but also of “putting to death” the sin in our own lives that can give Satan a “foothold” to cause all kinds of trouble (Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 4:26-27). Students need a whole range of tools that they can use in pastoral work as they face the immense challenges of this particular ministry context. [I use our North American proverb: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” And they get it!]

I arrived here in Congo on March 15. Susan joined me a month later, She has been teaching short courses on Health, Women of the Old Testament, and Evangelism to the wives of the students that I have in my classes. She has also had opportunity to pass on some of her experience in palliative care to doctors and nurses at a local church-based hospital. Our time here is coming to a close. On Monday, May 6, we head home with a new store of memories from our time here at Shalom University, and hearts full of gratitude and praise. 

- Tim Stabell, Pastor @ Prairie Winds Church (Moose Jaw).

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