BID Special: Sandra Gourdet Has Returned Home

BID Special: Sandra Gourdet Has Returned Home

Acts 1: 8. “But the Holy Spirit will descend upon you: you will receive his power and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the world.” The Lord did not leave us orphans; we have the Holy Spirit who acts powerfully in us. His Power cannot leave us motionless. It makes us into dynamic beings. This dynamism consists of announcing Jesus Christ for the salvation of whoever may believe. We also have the task of affirming those who are the brothers and sisters within the Church, beginning with those who are closest to us geographically and culturally, but we must also go to those who are furthest from us geographically and culturally. Such is the recommendation of the Lord, and the reason for the existence of the Power that we receive from the Holy Spirit. If not, why receive that Power?


Rev. Sandra at home in Mbandaka
 Rev. Sandra Gourdet at Bolenge
 Visit to Boyeke an Bikoro
 Trip to Monieka
 Tour of Mbandaka
 7 new servants of God have been ordained

Black skin
I am black.
I was born to blacks
All blacks, be proud of being black.
You also, Mrs. Sandra
Black like us, be proud.
There is nothing that compares to black skin.
You can imitate skin that is white, yellow, etc.
But not black.  If one is white
There is no pharmacy to become black.
Thanks to God for this black skin,
Which I didn’t buy
And which can’t be purchased.
Thanks for this very pretty skin.
Thanks also to the teacher
For having made us aware of the value
And the richness of the black skin.
By black skin we are original.
By black skin we are very different.
By black skin we are without complexes.
By black skin we are always unique.

            Poem dedicated to Mrs. Sandra Gourdet at Monieka


Open Bible

Acts 1: 8. “But the Holy Spirit will descend upon you:  you will receive his power and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the world.”  The Lord did not leave us orphans; we have the Holy Spirit who acts powerfully in us.  His Power cannot leave us motionless.  It makes us into dynamic beings.  This dynamism consists of announcing Jesus Christ for the salvation of whoever may believe.  We also have the task of affirming those who are the brothers and sisters within the Church, beginning with those who are closest to us geographically and culturally, but we must also go to those who are furthest from us geographically and culturally.  Such is the recommendation of the Lord, and the reason for the existence of the Power that we receive from the Holy Spirit.  If not, why receive that Power?


The evangelist, Matthew, ends his story with this promise that Jesus Christ made to his Disciples:  “And lo, I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20b). 

It often happens to Christians, when they are confronted with trials, to become discouraged and to despair.  The Disciples of Congo have had an experience like this, though much deeper.  In fact, the Congolese are coming out of a difficult period.  After the dictatorship, the country entered a period of civil wars which tore at the country, from East to West, from North to South.  The Congolese even feared that the country would be torn apart, that the provinces would reclaim their autonomy through secession.  Fortunately, the country has remained united and the Congolese people again feel as one, united to the point that nobody in Congo would accept secession.

The Community of Disciples, as a microcosm of the Congolese society, has felt the tremors of all the tribulations the country has known, and even more within itself where troubles have arisen in the parishes and in the church posts, as well as in the General Secretariat.  People have closed churches, locked offices, etc.  The church has passed from one process to another, provoked by its own sons.

It was during this period that the partners declared a moratorium against the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo, visits from the Executive Secretaries became rare and when they occurred they stopped only at the level of Mbandaka, in the General Secretariat, and sometimes the Community President or the Administrative Committee was simply invited to meet the Executive Secretary in Kinshasa.  The realities of the church, at its base, were thus ignored or simply relegated to the forgotten.

The visit of the Rev. Sandra Gourdet to the interior of the Community, to the posts of Bolenge, Boyeka and Monieka, passing by Ingende, has contributed to the warming of the partnership at the base.  This reinforcement is seen in the form of the jumelage that the Germans have already experienced, and which is reactivated by visits announced this year, but also with the new sister church relationships that American districts announce, notably Michigan-Kinshasa, and Mbandaka-Indiana.

Yes, Jesus is with the Congolese, but especially with the Disciples of Christ in Congo who are going to receive multiple visits this year.  These visits are important for they permit living the realities on the spot, and pursuing the work of our Lord Jesus Christ forever.

Rev.Eliki Bonanga
Community President and Legal Representative

Rev. Sandra has come home to Congo

Arriving two days late with respect to the established program which planned her arrival for Saturday, Jan. 19, 2007, Rev. Sandra Gourdet was able to arrive at Mbandaka only on Monday, Jan. 21, because of problems in the schedule of the airline which should bring her to Mbandaka; thus missing out on the ordination Saturday at Mbandaka and the worship service Sunday planned at  Bolenge.  From the time of her decent from the airplane, the Executive for Africa of Global Ministries made the decision to carry out the planned program, taking it in course.  So without even getting settled in she went to visit the post of Bolenge with the following sites:  Congo Christian Institute, agro-pastoral farm of Ikengo, Evangelical Hospital of Bolenge, and the Protestant University of the Equator. 

This visit permitted Mrs. Sandra Gourdet to relive her younger years, “It was here I came as a young woman, I married my husband, and I had my children” she said.  She saw not only the houses, roads and forest, but also the faces she had formerly known and that she easily recognized.

The next day, although everyone willingly granted her some hours of rest, Mrs. Gourdet left Mbandaka at 5 a.m. to go to the church post of Boyeka, 180 kilometers of difficult road, in the territory of Bikoro.  It was an opportunity for her to visit the lakeside and tourist site of Bikoro where the CDCC intends to start a new parish.

Returning to Mbandaka, late in the afternoon, Mrs. Gourdet was up again very early to leave Mbandaka at 5:30 a.m. with the destination of Monieka, via Longa/Ingende, this time on the Ruki and  Busira rivers.  Braving the hot sun of the day and the cool wind of the evening, for the first time she made a trip of 15 hours by water in the outboard motorized canoe.  Everywhere, she met and recognized her former students of English who are now  leaders in the Community in the fields of evangelization, education, health, and the Diaconate.  The question remains, was it because she felt at home that she was so

enthusiastic?  We don’t think so because, since the time of Dr. Nelson (Bosemboji), the interior posts of the country has not had an Executive of Global Ministries visit them “at home” and become permeated by their realities.  That’s what Rev. Nkema Bobanga of the post of Monieka said:  “Without any flattery, you are one of the rare Executives of Global Ministries, after the autonomy of our community, to visit our posts in the interior and travel in difficult conditions for the higher interest of the souls of the brothers and sisters in Christ.  This visit strongly reassured the Christians of the Community of the Disciples of Christ in Congo who had felt abandoned.  It fulfills the saying:  “One truly helps only with the heart, and not with hands:

N. Weteto

Rev. Sandra Gourdet at Bolenge

Although the program planned for her participation in the ordination service at Mbandaka of seven pastors, including one woman, fate decreed that the visit of Rev. Sandra Gourdet began with the Church Post of Bolenge, the first mission station of the Disciple of Christ Congo Mission, created April 17, 1899.

The visit began with the Congo Christian Institute of Bolenge.  Rev. Sandra was greeted by a former student of her husband (Daniel Gourdet) who has become the director of studies, Mr. Jose Inano.  The environment of the students at the school impressed Mrs. Gourdet; a visit to the classes of 4th and 5th year Pedagogic and Scientific, a meeting with all the students in the large meeting hall, to the point that she forgot about the idea of precious time in such circumstances.  However, she left a message with the students:  “I encourage you to work, to study a lot in order that the country will beam with happiness tomorrow.”

The visit to the post of Bolenge continued with the agro-pastoral farm of Ikengo.  Rev. Sandra Gourdet first attended the closing ceremony of the training of seven young people from the church posts who followed an apprenticeship of three months in agriculture and livestock management.  The program of agriculture puts particular emphasis on new crops; cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, onions, etc.  For livestock management, the apprentices were involved with raising pigs, and poultry. 

At the end of the closing ceremony, Mrs. Gourdet made a tour of the farm, visiting the porkery (which presently has 140 head) and a chicken pen (newly opened with 1077 baby chicks).  Finally, she visited the new crops which we have mentioned, as well as others common in the region such as pineapple, eggplant, spinach, amaranth, etc.

On every face one could read a certain satisfaction and a hope that tomorrow, surely, Ikengo will be not only be a center of training and promotion, but a source of financing for the Community.

Back at Bolenge, this time to visit the evangelical hospital of Bolenge, or rather what remains after the fire of June 13, 2006, which brought that institution to its knees.  Rev. Sandra noted the loss of patients because of the lack of infrastructure. 

The last part of the visit was the Protestant University of the Equator, an institution which should have three schools:  theology, medicine and agronomy, but which, for lack of operating funds, only functions with the single school of theology.  According to the Rector of the university, Rev. Dr. Mpombo Lokofe, the university founded by the sister Communities of the Disciples of Christ in Congo and the Assembly of the Churches of the Lulonga (CADELU), presently count 53 students, of whom 8 are women,47 are married with 156 children.  The teaching personnel include 5 doctors of whom 2 are visiting, 2 Head of Works (a visitor) and 10 assistants.  The big problem of the UPE remains it financial dependence.  The co-founding communities furnish almost nothing, and all the budget depends on aid accorded by the German mission board (MEU).  Help from Global Ministries would not be too much, he concluded.  In reply Rev. Gourdet announced the willingness of Global Ministries to become involved in the training in the Community of the Disciples of Christ in Congo.  It is precisely in this framework that two or three delegations will come during the year.  She concluded that the trip of warming relationships of the Community President, Rev. Eliki Bonanage to America, had raised much interest, and if a lot of people become interested in the CDCC, then help may become consistent.

N. Weteto

Visit to Boyeka and Bikoro

Affectionately called Mama Sandra, the guest of the 10-CDCC arrived Monday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. and went directly to Bolenge, then Ikengo, having scarcely eight hours of rest before leaving for Boyeka by vehicle the next morning. 

Boyeka is a sample of our posts of the interior not created and built by missionaries.  One of the 23 church posts of the 10-CDCC located in the territory of Bikoro at one or more miles from Mbandaka.  It took three hours to reach the headquarters of the post, and that was thanks to the maintenance of the road by Congolese government services.

Church members and other personalities trained by the servants of God under the supervision of the Regional Pastor, Rev. Wendo, came to greet the strong delegation at the entry to the headquarters with songs, and immediately led them to the church.  Words of exchange and of presentation were followed by a talk from the Community President and Legal Representative of the 10-CDCC who stressed the importance the new team attaches to feeling the pulse of the realities of the base, by also involving our partners there.  He continued to say that it was an occasion for our American partner, not only to see what was done thanks to the financial support following the disaster at the Institute Bakele, but also to observe how the sons and daughters of the 10-CDCC begin to be involved with the local effort in spite of the degrading economic situation on the whole national territory and particularly the Equator province.

Finally it was Rev. Sandra’s turn to thank all those present for the warm welcome and to pray that God would act through prayers in order that those in need be helped while financial difficulties are also present with Global Ministries.

Boyeka center has two schools, one primary and one secondary.  In the field of education, Boyeka mourned the year 2007 by the total destruction of the Bakeke Institute, carried away by the wind.  Non governmental organizations of the United Nations system who paraded through the area have not reacted up to the beginning of this school year.  So Rev. Sandra, touched by the events, was the first to make a gesture serving as the basis for the reconstruction of this Institute.  Rev. Sandra saw the efforts of the leaders of the CDCC to mobilize the church members through Mr. Bolenge and Mr. Mbongo who respectively contributed $1,500 and $500 which served to purchase 80, 3 meter pieces of roofing, as well as their transport to the site.  It was the same for part of the labor.  Our guest saw that determination to do better and, faithful to her style of work, she made no promise as a politician would easily do, but wished that God would act in one way or another for the continuation of the work in order that the children, future leaders of tomorrow, might study under good conditions.  We must note that this institute today has no benches, nor suitable blackboards, nor a library, much less suitable classrooms to permit good teaching. 

At the primary school Itema Nongo, the building constructed is not large and some teachers don’t know how to adapt to the new vision of the 10-CDCC.  In most of the classes the Rev. Sandra resumed her reflexes as teacher to speak with the students and especially encourage them, by means of little questions, to study hard.  We note in passing that many people in positions of responsibility are her former students at the ICC/Bolenge.

The post of Boyeka has seven primary schools, of which six are mechanized, and three secondary schools of which only the Bakele Institute is mechanized.  The others are not mechanized and the parents have the heavy responsibility to take charge of the teachers. 

Pygmy students are numerous at the beginning of each school year, but leave the schools due to lack of financial support.

During the visit, a series of traditional dances were performed, and added to the enjoyment of this visit from Rev. Sandra, accompanied by Rev. Eliki, Rev. Mputu Yonganga, Mr. Anderson Lubaki, Mr. Pekombe Oscar, and Mr. J.R. Kokuwo with JP Boyalobi driving the vehicle.

O. Pekombe

Trip to Monieka

The Monieka odyssey begins early in the morning.  At 5:30 a.m. the motorized canoe leaves Mbandaka for Monieka, by way of Longa and Ingende.  The team, composed of Rev. Sandra Gourdet, Rev. Eliki Bonnga, the Community President, Rev. Mputu Yonganga, Community Vice President and head of the Department of Evangelization, Church Life and Mission, Mr. Oscar Pekombe, Office Manger and assistant to the Community President, and Mr. Jean Robert Likuwo, head of public relations for the CDCC.

The sun was high when watches indicated only 8 o’clock.  A stop at Bokele proved necessary to stretch legs.  The rest of the trip up to Longa, the second mission station of the CDCC, created October 23, 1908, and which celebrates its centenary this year.  A quick visit to the church and the school by Mrs. Gourdet reiterates her message of encouragement to the primary school children.  The trip continued to Ingende for a stop at the headquarters of that post.  Navigation up to Monieka went without problem, the sun giving way to the coolness of evening.  The delegation arrived at 8:30 p.m.  A thousand Christians, most of whom had come on foot from interior parishes as far away as 50 miles, crowded in the darkness of the beach front to see the Executive for Africa of Global Ministries.  Songs and dances of welcome were performed in the semi-darkness of that moonlit night.

Surely carried away by the enthusiasm of those people, Mrs. Sandra declined the offer made to her to skip the rest of the program planned for the evening, a musical soiree.  “I want the program to go off as planned, without omitting anything” she said.

After a little pause the delegation went to the church for the musical program.  Chorales come from parishes as far as 30 to 50 miles sang until 1 a.m.

In that assembly it was noted that the Sector Chief, regional public authority, and the Abbey Priest, of neighboring Catholic parish of Bokote were present. 

The next morning, as she had wished, the program was respected:  a visit to the residences built by the missionaries, a visit to the primary and secondary schools, the hospital, a parade of school children, and a worship service. 

The houses of the missionaries have walls that are still holding in spite of their age, but the floors, made of wood, are practically crumbling.  The school buildings are still in good condition, but the classrooms lack benches and the students are taught sitting on the ground.  School books don’t exist and notebooks and pens are rare.  The hospital exists only thanks to the wisdom of the young Dr. Muguet Kasongo who has put the hospital back in working order, but who is confronted with the big problem of supplying medicines, providing water and electricity.  He told us:  “Sometimes I have to perform a surgical procedure with a kerosene lamp after having sterilized the instruments in an old autoclave.”  And he does that an average of 15 times a month!

In spite of the dark picture of the health and educational fields, we must recognize that the children are there and that patients come, especially women who must travel hundreds of kilometers to give birth at the hospital.  Mama Sandra, as she is called by the Disciples of Congo, has seen these spectacles of desolation before attending the parade organized by the students of Monieka Center and the surrounding area.  This parade was followed by a recital and skits about current life.

The last part of the program was a worship service where Mama Sandra preached.  “I have seen, I have heard, I leave and I make no promises.  I encourage everyone to make the efforts you are making for, the biggest enemy of mankind is not the problems faced, but discouragement.  As Jesus said (Matthew 14:13-14) let us withdraw to pray to God restore ourselves and recharge our batteries in contact with the Father.”  That was the essence of her message. 

The return trip went off without a problem and the delegation left Monieka at 2 p.m., arriving at Mbandaka at midnight.

N. Weteto

A tour of Mbandaka

Rev. Sandra returned from Monieka the night of Thursday, Jan 24 at midnight.  She slept for only a few hours when she was awakened Friday morning by the bad news of the death of Rev. Bompaka in Pretoria, South Africa.  It is in this context that we have accompanied her on her programmed visit of several parishes of the urban post of Mbandaka guided by the Post Superintendant, Rev. Dieudonne Ilumbe Ndjongo, also including the Community President and Vice President.  Rev. Sandra, who is known by the public of Mbandaka, had the first greetings with the little children of the kindergarten.  Mama Itema presented her with a bouquet of flowers.  The kindergarten meets in the buildings of the Mbandaka Girls School.  It doesn’t have adequate facilities, declared the director, who took advantage of the occasion to briefly mention the situation and the program of courses.  As was her custom, Mama Rev. talked with the little children of three to five years of age, and the delegation visited the targeted parishes.  In these parishes, we must note overall that the church members are trying to enlarge the churches by contributions.  That’s the case with the parish of Bongondjo where the work of enlargement is sufficiently advanced and evaluated at first sight at more than $9,000 US.  There remains the work of finishing (plaster, pavement), carpentry (door, ceiling, benches), electricity and other for a cost estimated at more than $8.000 US.  Here Rev. Sandra was very pleased to note that, effectively the 10-CDCC and its leaders take their community in hand, in spite of the socioeconomic difficulties of the people.  She thanked the staff of the parish for their kindness toward her, with gifts including art work and food. 

At the stop at the parish of New City, Rev. Sandra received explanations about the construction of a residence for the pastor with burned brick.  Since this work is in progress she encouraged the pastors to persevere in the mobilization of the members for its completion, even though they raised the difficulty of obtaining roofing materials.  She was also impressed by the kindergarten building construction in collaboration with the program of UNICEF. 

The short stop in a pilot parish of Mbandaka III, requested by the Post Pastor, was the occasion for him to present a special gift in the name of the members of the Post Council and in his own name.  This gift is a work of art by (no name given).  We note that the parish of Mbandaka III is directed by a new exclusively women team consisting of Rev. Likafo and Rev. Jeanine Bondjimbe.

At the stop at Ikongowesa there is also a woman who leads this parish and there is a vast program of enlargement of the church building.  We note, in passing, that the parish of Ikongowasa has two sub-parishes and the assistant pastor also sits in the Provincial Assembly as Provincial Deputy.  Rev. Sandra had some appropriate words to express her approval.

Rev. Sandra arrived at Basoko to note the effort of the parishioners who have worked more than eight years to build the large church for this parish.  The leader of the women’s group emphasized that the project was born and supported by its members, mostly by selling peppers, charcoal and firewood, which is of great importance for the number parishioners continues to grow every month.  Rev. Sandra, as usual, took note of the need for roofing materials without, however, giving any promises as usual.

Also at the 10th City Parish alongside the General Secretariat, the deacons and the elders of this parish took the time to show her the works of enlargement of the church buildings which should accommodate at lest 800 members at the end of their work.  The BID was informed that the first chair was a gift from Mr. Gourdet and that it was recently given, by decision of the parish council, to the river parish of Nganda Nsele.

Finally Mama Sandra visited the work of construction of the store of the Department of Women and Family, financed by Global Ministries.

O. Pekombe

Seven New Servants of God Ordained

The 21st General Assembly of the CDCC, July, 2007, authorized the ordination of several pastors coming from different Church Posts by decision No. 020/2007.  Concerned with carrying out the recommendations of the General Assembly, the Administrative Committee, in its meeting of Thursday, Dec. 21, fixed the date of Jan 19 for the ordination of the pastors of the Church Post of Mbandaka.  This was to coincide with the arrival of the Rev. Sandra at Mbandaka.  On Saturday, Jan. 19, the magnificent temple of Mbandaka III was overflowing with thousands of members of the CDCC, in spite of a heavy rain.  The worship service, rich in color, took about three hours with the presence of a representative of the Provincial Governor and several members of the government of Equator Province.

For the Urban Post of Mbandaka, the candidates were seven in number, namely:

Pastor Bonkaka Bosenge Justin

Born April 22, 1971 at Bofanya in the territory of Boende.  He is married to Nkonyo Bijoux with whom he doesn’t yet have children.  He attended primary school at Lofuta (Boende) from 1979 to 1985 and secondary school at the Institute Lontsinge (Boende).  In 1996 he started university studies at the Protestant University of the Equator in the school of theology where he received his diploma of graduate in 2001.  He didn’t stop there, for in 2007 he obtained his diploma of graduate in Nursing Science at the Higher Institute of Medical Techniques of Mbandaka (ISTM/Mbandaka).  After having worked as Assistant Pastor in the parish of Mbandaka II in 2003, he held the same post in the parish of Mbandaka I from 2003 to 2006.  In April 2006, he went to fill the same function of assistant pastor in the parish of Wangata Bongondjo before being named Pastor of the parish of Air-Congo, where he works at present. 

Pasteur Nkonga Ewasa Louis

Native of the territory of Monkoto in the district of the Tshuapa and son of a former treasurer of the CDCC Mr. Nkonga Ewasa, pastor Nkonga Ewasa was born on July 22, 1965 in Mbandaka.  He obtained his certificate of primary studies in 1979 at the primary school Ekof’Ekema.  In 1988 he received his state diploma from the Institute Boboto at Kinshasa.  In 2005 he earned his graduate diploma in theology at the Protestant University of the Equator/Bolenge.  He worked as assistant Pastor in the parish of Djombo before being transferred to the parish of Besenge, then to Basoko always as assistant Pastor up till now.  He is married to Esperance Itate-Iloko, and has six children (five boys and a girl). 

Pasteur Boango Nkolito Emmanuel

Son of a former entrepreneur of the CDCC, Mr. Boango-bo-Nkolito Stany Silas, pastor Boango Nkolito Emmanuel was born in Mbandaka Feb. 2, 1972.  He obtained his certificate of primary studies in 1988 and in 1993 he received his state diploma.  In 1998 he got the diploma of graduate in theology at the Protestant University of the Equator at Bolenge before going to continue his studies in Kinshasa where he received his diploma in theology in 2003.  After a long period of internship in the large parishes of the CDCC in Mbandaka and Kinshasa, pastor Emmanuel Boango was named Associate Pastor in the parish of Kingabwa in Kinshasa while he continued his studies.  After finishing these he was assigned to the 10th City Parish as second assistant pastor in 2004.  He exercised this function until he was named Administrative Secretary of the Department of Evangelization, Church Life and Mission until today.  This responsibility was essentially administrative.  He was named honorary pastor in the parish of New City so that his pastoral vocation was not swallowed up by the administration.  Pastor Emmanuel Boango is married to Mrs. Nathalie Mboyb Ndjodji with whom he has three children (one daughter and two sons). 

Pasteur Bodjimbe Bofaka Jeannine

Daughter of Mr. Bofaka, pastor Jeannine Bodjimbe was born in Kinshasa in 1974.  She comes from the territory of Ingende.  She did her primary studies at Mbandaka, and in 1987, received her certificate before getting her state diploma at the Mbandaka Girls’ School in 1994.  In 2002, she obtained her diploma of graduate in Theology at Kinshasa, and in 2004 was granted the diploma of License in Theology, also in Kinshasa.  After these studies, Pastor Jeanine Bodjimbe was assigned as Assistant Pastor at the parish of Mbandaka III until the present.  An intellectual of her Community, she teaches the courses of religion and African sociology at the Mbandaka Girls’ School.  Recently married to Benjamin Bakanda, the couple don’t yet have children.  The BID is pleased with her ordination for she lengthens the list of women pastors within the CDCC.

Pasteur Efandja Botutsu Roger

Born July 6, 1962, at Monieka, Pastor Efandja comes from the territory of Bolomba.  He attended primary school before earning his State diploma in 1984.  He received his graduate diploma in theology in 1990 at the Higher Theological Institute of Bolenge.  He worked a lot in the interior of the country as assistant Pastor in the Bokolongo parish of Monieka Post from 1990 to 1992, head Pastor in the Bonsombo parish of Lofoy Post from 1992 to 1996, head Pastor in the Bongindji parish of Lotumbe Post from 1996 to 2000, head pastor in the Belondo paris of Lotumbe Post from 1000 to 2004, head Pastor in the Belondo parish of Bongindji Post from 2004 to 2005.  After this long career in the interior of the country, he was recalled to Mbandaka to be assigned to the parish Air-Congo from 2006 to 2007 as Assistant Pastor before being named Assistant Pastor of the Mbandaka II parish where he still serves. 

Pasteur Okailelehe Sail Jérôme

Coming from Oriental Province, district of Isangi, sector of Yawambe, Pastor Okailelehe was born October 15, 1962, in the village of Yaombole.  After receiving his certificate of secondary studies of five years in pedagogy, he entered the teachers’ school of Bumba, part of the Community of the Churches of Ubangi and Mongala ((51-CEUM), where he received his teacher’s diploma in 1981.  Married to Julienne Banyele Otono, Okailelehe is the father of eight children.  He began his career in the Community of his origin, the 51-CEUM, before being accepted by the 10-CDCC to be assigned as head Pastor in the Lisala Campment in 1987 in the Post of Mbandaka.  In 1997, he was sent as a missionary to Lolonga post to start up a parish of the 10-CDCC, which he accomplished.  After having worked several months in the parish of Basoko, still in the Post of Mbandaka, the Post Council sent him to Mampoko as head Pastor.  In 2005, he was assigned to the Nsele Campment parish as Assistant Pastor before being raised to the title of head Pastor in the same parish where he still serves.

Pasteur Abaya Ewawina

Born at Yalikina December 27, 1944, in the territory of Isangi, distsrict of Tshopo, in Oriental Province, Pastor Abaya received his certificate of primary studies there in 1956.  He went to Yakusu from 1956 to 1959 for the preparatory section before going to Bolenge at the Center of Professional Training (C.F.P.) where he received his certificate of professional aptitude in 1976.  Married to Martha Tombaku, with whom he has eight children, Pastor Abaya worked in the parish of Besenge, Mbandaka Post, as head Pastor from 1976 to 1977, at the Ingende Center parish, Ingende Post, from 1977 to 1978, at the P.L.Z. parish of Boteka, Ingende Post, from 1978 to 1983.  After having worked in the parish of Basoko in Mbandaka, he went as a missionary to plant the parish of Bondo Ikelemba from 1987 to 1988 and the parish of Sanga Ikelemba from 1988 to 1990.  From 1990 to 1992, he was assigned Sector Overseer of Ebale Bolenge.  He left the Post of Mbandaka for Wini where he was the Overseer of Sector Nkae B from 100` to 2005 and from 2005 to 2006 head Pastor of the parish of Ikongo Lotoko still in the Post of Wini.  From 2006 to the present he has come back to the church Post of Mbandaka where he is assigned as Regional Pastor of the Middle Congo Sector.

E. Boango Nkolito

Mme. Nkulo Mpetsi Bambuli is the fourth daughter of the late Rev. Joseph Mpetsi, struck down by lightening in 1964 at Bolenge while he was head Pastor of the Bolenge Center parish.

Having no father from the age of two years she was raised, with her three brothers and a sister, by their mother, a young woman who refused to marry again, declaring that she was made from the rib of Joseph and she belonged to him alone.  The determination of this woman to raise her children in tenderness and strictness makes her worthy of, today, having five university trained children. 

Mamie Nkulo Mpetsi, born December 25, 1952, attended primary school at the school of Congo Christian Institute in Bolenge.  She continued at Congo Christian Institute for her secondary studies and received the State diploma in the pedagogic section.  She immediately entered the Higher Teacher’s Institute and graduated with a degree in history.

On a professional level she began as a history professor at Congo Christian Institute of Bolenge and continued there for 10 years before being called by the Community to assume the position of Head of the Sub-Department of Women and Family.  She did an outstanding job, and her interventions in the framework of civil society in Mbandaka earned her a mandate as National Deputy during the transition of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Now, after her mandate in the National Assembly, she is involved with the training of the wives of students at the Protestant University of the Equator using her own resources.  She has two women models in her life.  One is her own mother who, practically without formal education was able to raise five children alone and make university students of them.  “I have become reckless, as people often say of me,” she told us, “It’s because I’ve always told myself :  if an uneducated women (her mother) could accomplish so much, how can I, a university graduate, not do the same?”

Her second model, Mrs. Antoinette Lokoku Efoloko, present Prefect of Studies at the Mbandaka Girls’ School.  Mamie Nkulo has always asked herself how a woman could direct a school, seeing her model at the Congo Christian Institute Of Bolenge.  A determined mother, and a model leader, these two women made Mama Nkulo what she is today, a determined woman and a leader.  From her passage on the political scene she keeps one “lesson.”  Raised according to a logic that requires honesty, justice and equality, “I went to experience a world without mercy where the pursuit of self-interest, demagoguery, injustice, dictatorship, dishonesty, corruption, and arbitrariness rule the day.  In the beginning, and as a woman, I was a bit frustrated, I thought about what happened to me, but I understood that the result was an experience that I lived through and which enriched me.  I deduced that in spite of all our richness, the Democratic Republic of Congo can only develop when an honest leadership who cares about the people will finally be elected.”

This experience motivated her more, to the point that she never again spares any effort to promote a leadership capable of developing the country.  Speaking of the condition of women and of parity, Mama Nkulo recognized that women must struggle to show their competence instead of thinking that the rise to power is not automatically linked to sex.  Parity is not a gift but a right, and only competent women will be elevated, not to give men the possibility of finding a way to reject the woman.  To make parity real and promote women, it is necessary to protect girls from all forms of violation of their social, economic and political rights.

In conclusion, she invited women to struggle to show, not their femininity but their competences, and to men to get rid of their superiority complex.

N. Weteto