Day 2: Vision

On our first day in Beni, we met with several of the leaders of the Congo Initiative and the UCBC and got to see the university for the first time.  What an amazing place it is!  The university is absolutely alive with over 400 students.  We met David Kasali, the founder of the ministry, and his wife Kaswera, and learned from them the vision that God has placed on their hearts to start the Congo Initiative.  David told us a bit of his story and spoke of how he was a slave to his wallet, how he had a dream of getting away and having the American dream, and that he actually succeeded.  When the war broke out in the Congo however, he found that he was being called back to serve his home country of the DRC.  Over time he gathered together a group of several indigenous Christian leaders, and after much delegation and prayer, they came up with what was to be the Congo Initiative.  It has the ultimate goal of raising up educated, indigenous Christian leaders to influence and transform their communities and the country that is the Congo.  It works to accomplish its mission through the work of various centers that aim to educate and influence not only students, but people in the community as well.  Their main energies have been put towards establishing the university, and we can already see the fruits of their work just by walking around the campus and talking to the students.  I recall very clearly something that Mary said to us that day.  She said that the direction that Congo would take in the future was a precedent for what would happen to the world.  Why?  It is because the Congo is the most untouched territory in the world, and also the most rich in untapped resources.  The Congo Initiative wants to claim the Congo and its future for God.

The vision is a big one, and they have a mountain ahead before they will reach their goal of being a full-fletched university campus with significant community participation and outreach.  They are currently constructing a large community center.  We got a tour of the unfinished building and it really was a lesson for me to see how they have to use whatever they have immediately available.  They have to do things like pour their own concrete blocks and weld their own windows and doors.  We heard stories of how students and people in the community are helping to build the center because they know that in the future it will serve their children and grandchildren.  Everyone in the school and community will be able to point at a brick on the building and call it their part.  That is how this vision will come to a reality:  one brick, encouragement, donation, prayer at a time.

Photo by Bob & Eileen Gresham

Photo by Paul Berg

That night we headed home with our minds spinning from all of the information we had gathered that day!  Not only did we take everything in and process it, we also began asking questions about the CI-UCBC’s specific needs, not only immediate, but also what they are imagining for the future.  For our daily devotions we studies Psalm 139.  It is an excellent reminder that God knows us, cares for us, and has a plan and purpose for us.  I am hoping to memorize this verse before I head home.  Sometimes I think we don’t fully register the fact that we are ‘beloved’, and that it is in this love that we can fully extend the love of Christ to others.  I really like a quote that they have here and there on the walls around the existing building of UCBC:  ‘Être transformé pour transformer’, ‘Being transformed to transform’.  Today by getting to know this ministry and the people behind it I got a taste of what true selfless love is.

Photo by Tim Ellis

Photo by Paul Berg

One Comment to “Day 2: Vision”

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing so in-depth Liz (I love the writing and photo-essay btw). These brothers and sisters’ vision for God’s kingdom is so big. It’s inspiring and challenging. Our God can certainly do all things. Been reading Isaiah and realizing that He is in total control. Being transformed to transform, that’s a good one.

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