Key points :
- Unda said the gift is “a mark of recognition of the activities of The United Methodist Church.”
- The vehicle will help the episcopal area build on its efforts to evangelize in rural parts of East Congo.
- Affani Idrissa Mangala, acting governor of the province of Maniema, praised the church’s social, health and education ministries.
In recognition of The United Methodist Church’s work in rural parts of East Congo, the president of the country gifted a Nissan 4x4 vehicle to Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda.
The Rev. Théodore Tshilumba, a senior advisor to the president, presented the new car to the bishop during a ceremony in September.
Tshilumba read a message from Congolese President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo during the handover ceremony. It read, “The United Methodist Church remains a partner for the Congolese state. I am aware of and happy with the work that The United Methodist Church is doing throughout the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Tshilumba noted the difficulties the church faces in reaching some areas.
“My joy is immense to bring this gift,” he said. “The man of God has a heavy responsibility to arrive in several areas of his episcopal region.”
Unda noted that in the 10 years that the East Congo Episcopal Area has existed, “this is the first time that a DRC president has given a vehicle to a United Methodist bishop.
“I think this is just the beginning of the harvest of what we have all sown under the slogan, ‘Rise up and build with Christ,’” Unda said. “This gift is a mark of recognition of the activities of The United Methodist Church.”
Participating in the ceremony, Affani Idrissa Mangala, acting governor of the province of Maniema, praised the church’s social, health and education ministries.
“I witness the work of The United Methodist Church,” he said, “especially in the province of Maniema in terms of education and health.
“Beyond the construction of churches and schools, I witnessed the inauguration of this large hospital that the church built in Tunda with the support of its partners in the USA. It is really impressive as a work of the church for the population of Tunda and Maniema, in particular, and of East Congo in general.”
The Rev. Antoine Kalema, South Kindu District superintendent, expressed gratitude for the vehicle.
“I convey our thanks to the head of state for this beautiful gift, which in a particular way thought of the first pastor of The United Methodist Church in East Congo, Bishop Gabriel Unda Yemba,” he said. “This jeep supports the evangelization work of the man of God.”
Unda recalled that the church provided his vehicle that is now 10 years old. “I have traveled several kilometers from the province of Maniema in pastoral visits,” he said, “while the church was thinking about its replacement. Here today the chief from the Congolese state comes to the aid of the community by granting a new jeep for the continuation of the work of God in the Eastern Congo.”
Furaha Francisca, president of the women’s organization for the East Congo Conference, celebrated the president’s gift and the church’s outreach.
“We are extremely happy today for The United Methodist Church. … We are together with the president of the republic who recognizes the work of The United Methodist Church in East Congo.”
Osongo is the communications director of The United Methodist Church in East Congo.
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