Baba Vi goes home.

By January 4, 2005

USA (MNN) — A man with an evangelistic vision for the Congolese has gone home to be with his Lord.

Grace Ministries International’s Sam Vinton says at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 2, Baba Vi (Sam Vinton, Sr.) went to be with the Lord. He died peacefully at the hospital after being in a coma the last three days of his life.

Vinton Jr., says, “He’s gone, but his legacy remains with us, is how I look at it right now. He had a very, very big vision that encompassed not only the people of his church that he worked with, but basically, the government and other religious organizations and people in the country.”

Baba Vi began his work in 1928 starting with a powerful evangelistic vision. However, once there, he saw things he needed to address. One of those was the medical need. He launched a hospital.

He also went out to preach and plant churches, but people couldn’t read, so he started literacy programs and schools.

In the years that followed, there came sanitation projects and pastoral training institutes. Vinton says his father laid the groundwork; for the continued building, it’s a matter of prayer. “To have people who say that, ‘this is where God has called me, and no matter how difficult it might be, this is where I’m going.’ I think that’s the kind of thing that we need to pray for–that we will get, especially, our younger generation to catch a vision that serving God is the most wonderful thing that you can do.”

Today, the Congo ministry has branched out to include five missionaries who work with the national church organization in the areas of evangelism, church planting, education, medical work, and community development projects.

Church leaders are trained in the Bible college, Pastors’ School, and sixteen Bible institutes. A large medical center has recently been built in a Muslim area where the first church has been planted in an unreached people group.

One teacher training college, 27 high schools, and 130 grade schools are run by the national church. More than 400 churches have been planted in this country.

GMI also has work in Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India, Puerto Rico, Tanzania and Zambia. They also have missionaries involved in literature ministries and related education programs.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday morning, January 8, at 9 a.m. at Boser-Minich Funeral Home in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, where he will be buried in the family plot. Information will be forthcoming regarding a memorial fund that will be established for a special project in the Congo. A special memorial service is being planned later this month in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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