Rebel Soldier Ministry In DR Congo Featured In The Baptist Press

The Baptist Press has just featured the work IMFC has sponsored among the rebel soldiers operating in eastern Congo with IMB missionary Rusty Pugh! It is a great story with awesome pictures–except the last one. The one of Rusty. Just kidding!

Rusty and Debbie Pugh have become precious friends of mine. I have the greatest respect for him and feel it an honor to have been able to partner with him in this work. Here’s the link to the story. Click here. I have also copied some of the story below. I think you will enjoy reading it.

As I read the story, I remember when Rusty and I first visited the pastors in Goma. They weren’t thinking of ministering to rebel soldiers, they wanted help to build or repair church buildings and carry on their church ministries. Their focus was inward. They wanted IMFC to help them.

For two days they showed us their churches. We went to over 20 churches in those two days. We meet the people in their churches, had a brief and sometimes not so brief service, and saw their needs. They do have needs. Great needs. Check out my pictures of Goma here.

But IMFC’s ministry is not in building church buildings, providing subsides for pastors, or shoring up church ministries to members. IMFC exist to touch the poor, outcast, oppressed and diseased with the love of Christ, to preach the gospel to them, and to start indigenous churches where they can worship the Lord and be discipled in the faith. This is also the heart of Rusty Pugh and it is why we partner with him.

So, when I met the pastors in Goma, I initially thought IMFC’s time and money had been wasted as I went from church to church and heard the pleas for help. But, as Rusty and I continued to share with the pastors our vision and calling, they came to understand why we were there. That we were not there to minister to their churches but to partner with them in extending the Kingdom of God to the people around them who are spiritually and physically needy. We wanted to help them do the work God has around them. This is when the ministry to the rebel soldiers emerged–and how God has blessed it.

I have many stories on this blog from this ministry. Hopefully, through this past year you have read some or all of them. If not go through the DR Congo section and read the posts. There are amazing stories of God’s grace.

My heart is with the pastors that we have worked with in Goma. They are true heroes of the faith. They went from being inward focused pastors to great evangelist sacrificing for the Kingdom of God! I have huge respect and admiration for these guys. They are the real deal!

Rusty and I trained several pastors in evangelism and church planting but only six were chosen for the work. Here is a video that I shot the last day of training. Rusty interviews each one. Take a look at these men through whom God has accomplished much.

The men in this video put their lives on the line for Christ each time they left their homes and went into the hills to meet with the rebel soldiers. I look up to them and pray for them. They did the work. We had he privilege to stand on the sidelines and cheer them on. The Lord blessed their efforts.

I remember Rusty commenting as we left after the last day of training, “We may have just trained a martyr for Christ.” I am grateful that none meet any harm.

Here is the excerpt from the Baptist Press story that tells the story of what has happened through this ministry. If you want to read the full story and see the pictures, click here.

Congolese pastor Pascal Ndiho coordinates this dangerous ministry. “Without the permission of the commanders, we are not allowed to go and reach the rebel soldiers,” Ndiho says. “We must identify ourselves as servants of God and that we are there to share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ.

“We show them the advantages of being in Christ.”

Their efforts have been striking.

“They have started small groups among the rebels,” Pugh reports, “and because the rebels are always moving, new groups have been formed by the rebels that were trained by the Goma pastors … so the groups are multiplying.”

To date, more than 500 rebels have been baptized.

Eight of these men gather in a small compound to tell their stories. At first their tales are sketchy, almost rehearsed.

“I did bad things,” one says. A second echoes the same line.

They are quiet, then they begin to open up. 

One nervously fidgets with his automatic weapon. “I murdered people and I raped women,” he says, “… and I enjoyed it.”

“I have even killed children,” another says.

Their faces bear evidence to the seriousness of what they have done. Their piercing gazes instill fear. “I really didn’t think about what I was doing,” one says. “I was just doing what I thought I should do….”

The eight soldiers accepted Christ through the efforts of Habimana, Ndiho and the other pastors. Their faces soften when they talk about the change in their lives.

“We try not to think about what we did — to remember — but it is hard,” one confesses. “We know that we have hurt many people and have a lot of sin. But it is very different now.”

“The difference is that before I did not know God,” another says. “What I did, I did for me. Now I know that I committed so many sins, and I feel very guilty. But the pastor said that God can forgive me … now I know I can be forgiven because of Jesus.

“It was the happiest day of my life.”

Simply amazing. God’s grace is truly without bounds!


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