“Duboo! Duboo!” The people shouted when I walked out of the airport. On my previous mission to the Congo, I illustrated one of my messages by telling the story of an encounter with one of the bears that live in our neighborhood and often invade our backyard – well, actually, we are invading their backyard since they lived on our mountain long before humans settled there. Because I learned the Swahili word for “bear” to use when I told the story, everyone remembered both my illustration and me – resulting in my nickname, “Duboo.”
This warm welcome introduced my team’s five days of ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With me were Julie Mapatano (a former student and a native of the area who had introduced me to the people there), Fred Taylor (another former student who now teaches in a Bible college in California), and Terence Tan (a medical doctor who has a powerful anointing for healing). Our mission assignment was to hold a number of church services on Sunday morning followed by three days of pastors’ conferences and three nights of evangelistic and healing crusades.
The pastor who was in charge of the pastors’ conference extended a compliment by saying, “You are old, but you preach like a young man. Many young men can’t preach like you do.” So, I guess I am remembered in Africa as an old bear.
The conference meetings attracted civic and educational leaders as well as the original six hundred pastors who were invited, and by the end of the three days the attendance maxed out the seven-hundred-seat capacity of the church. Likewise, the crusade meeting totally filled the thousand-seat auditorium where the meetings were held. Additionally, the ministry touched the entire city as all the Sunday services and the evening crusades were broadcast live on the local radio station.
In addition to the teaching at the conference, we also prayed for those who needed healing. At least six of the delegates testifying to having received instantaneous healings. One pastor testified that he had been healed of a hernia as soon as he stood up – even before prayers were offered. Another pastor reported that he had stood in proxy for his wife who was at home. He said that as soon as he arrived at the home that evening, she told him that she had been healed of the skin problem that had persisted for many months. Another of the pastors shared that he felt a warmth that eliminated the pain in his body as soon as he stood and that the growth that had concerned him shrank noticeably by the end of the meeting. As always, Teach All Nations provided a delicious lunch for all the delegates and gave each one a free copy of the book that I taught from – in this case, the Swahili version of So, You Wanna Be A Preacher.
On the first night of the crusade, eleven new converts prayed to receive Christ. The Lord honored our focus on healing during the second night of the crusade with at least twenty-five who testified to being healed on the spot. One blind man said that he could see colors for the first time since he went blind about three years ago. In addition, we also witnessed a deliverance when one girl went into convulsions during a baptism service that preceded the evening crusade. When the demonic manifestation began, Terence and the interpreter quickly moved to her and set her free from a spirit of fear that had oppressed her for many years. Apparently, one of her fears was of drowning and the baptism triggered a reaction. The final night of the crusade, a number of people stood to testify of healings that manifested during the day after the healing service. An additional fifteen individuals responded to the call for salvation in the closing service.
We closed our time in the Congo by sharing a meal with the oldest daughter of the pastor who hosted the crusade meeting in his church. At the end of the evening, she and her husband – who are both attorneys – asked us to pray for them. During the prayer, I had the strange impression that he would someday be the president or vice-president of the country; so, I asked him if he had ever felt that he should be involved in politics. His response was that he had actually been a candidate for their senate but was not currently pursuing an office since he is working on his doctorate degree and also teaching law at the university. He said that he would be back in the next election once he finishes his studies. I then said that I felt that he might be in a position higher than the senate, and he confirmed that the presidency is his aspiration. I’m eager to see how things progress from here.