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100 Years after the Gospel’s Arrival

Missionaries return to a Congolese village to build on the legacy of their grandparents—and share the love of Christ.

The greeting at Ipope, western DR Congo.
The greeting at Ipope, western DR Congo.

The singing began even before our Cessna Caravan shut down. A few hundred people had gathered in the middle of nowhere on a small dirt and grass strip to welcome my passengers. I’ve been to Ipope many times but this was the largest amount of villagers I had seen. It’s about a 45-minute walk to the airstrip, so people usually only come if they think a package or letter is waiting for them.

The Grings and Ward families on board the MAF Cessna Caravan.
The Grings and Ward families on board the MAF Cessna Caravan.

But this time was special. Almost 100 years ago, a missionary arrived in this region to share the love of Christ with those who had never heard His name, His values, or what He did for them. The missionary lived in the area for many years, and his children did as well. Even his grandchildren remained in Congo as missionaries; and they were my passengers. This brother and sister returned to the village where they had spent their childhood, and they got to show their kids, and some friends visiting from the States, this memorable place.

Missionary Dan Grings shares God’s Word.
Missionary Dan Grings shares God’s Word.

It was a great four-day trip jam-packed with events like a long jungle walk, Christian movies at night, soccer games, church services, and seminars. An old man who was one of the first believers discipled by the grandfather had travelled for five days to join in the weekend festivities.

One special night was when the people watched the “JESUS” film in their very own heart language, their mother tongue, for the first time. Another interesting evening was when we watched Courageous, in French, with a local pastor translating it into Lingala. Our prayer was that the men in the village would rise to the challenge of being Godly fathers, husbands, and community members.

It was wonderful to be a part of this, and I was humbled by how the missionaries cared for the isolated and least of these.


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