The day began without electricity and water. A few scoops of water had to replace the usual shower. The coldnesss of the water make you use the fewest possible number of scoops, and it’s surely an efficient waking up device. As usual, we had a traditional Congolese breakfast: boiled eggs, white bread (not my favourite) and tea. Then, we went to Nzadi with Yapeco in his Toyota 4 Wheel Drive Jeep. Jean Clement and Julienne Nyambudi also came along with us. Nzadi is a district of Matadi that is located on top of the hills with a stunning view over the city and the surroundings. Down in the valley you can see the Congo River. To go all the way up to Nzadi, you need a Jeep. Here, a congregation was started in 1986 by 400 members of the Baobab Church. Today, the Nzadi Church has 1.500 members.
This day, the church celebrated its 25th Anniversary with pomp and circumstance. We arrived around 9 am, and the service had already begun. The church was almost half full. The place where we gathered will eventually become a complete church building. Today, it’s only four walls, about 3.5 meters high made of cement bricks. The floor area is about 30 x 40 meters. It has an earthen floor, and the sky for roof. In two years, they believe that the building will have a more conventional floor and roof. The pastor of the congregation, Angelo Mayambula, had counted on us to show up for the Special Anniversary, and when we arrived, we were accompanied onto the podium at the front of the church, where we got a special welcome, me, Bernt, Jean Clement and Julienne. Luckily, there was a roof over the podium; otherwise I and Bernt wouldn’t have managed the heat. Another group of about 100 honorary guests were seated under the roof. Many of the ordinary members had brought parasols.
There were many greetings from near and far, and we Swedes got our own item on the program. We were introduced by Julienne, and I got to say a few words about the activities of MSG. Göran Andreasson was the first pastor of the congregation when it started in 1986. He was invited together with his wife Anneli and their sons Johannes, Josef, Samuel and Martin. Two secretaries from the Swedish Embassy were also there. Göran preached in French, interpreted by pastor Mpanzu Divionkele to monkutuba. When all had arrived, we were around 1000 people who celebrated together. There were all kinds of choir singing. In the church, there are 12 different choirs and a flute orchestra. But today, a brass band from the Kiamvo Church accompanied the singing. There were many contributors and speakers, for instance Tata Endouka who is over 90 years old and has been a member of the church from the start. He had so much to tell that the leader of the service had to shout amen a few times before it dawned on Tata Endouka that he too could say amen. Paul Tekansala gave a speech. He said that the duration of the service should be adjusted to the temperature, but even so, he spoke for quite some time on two occasions.
The offertory was quite voluminous. For instance, it included some roofing and ten sacks of cement. After that, everybody who had been married for ten years or more were invited to the front where they shook hands with the pastors, and were blessed. All those who had been born in 1986, about 40 persons, came to the front for intersession and blessings. When all the 25 items on the program were done, Göran concluded the Anniversary service by saying the Lord’s blessing. By then, the time was 2.30 pm. The service had lasted for almost 6 hours. Thanks to the tempo of the Congolese services, you don’t get bored, but sleep wasn’t far away during some of the longer speeches. Nobody was in any hurry to go home after the service. A Congolese has plenty of time to socialize and chat. This had been a Special Anniversary with many cheers and a lot of joy, a service that made a lasting impression and gave us many great experiences with the Congolese people.