Congo (MNN) — The dream began in
"Baba Vi," as he came to be known, carved a
mission station out of the equatorial forest with the hope of launching a
ministry that would make Christ's name central. Eventually it became Grace Ministries International.
Mama Vi arrived
in the Congo a year later, and after Sam, Sr. (Baba Vi) completed medical training in
Belgium, they were married on April 17, 1932 and began building a legacy.
GMI's Jim Molencamp says, "He actually stayed out
there for 76 years, and we believe that's a record for a Protestant missionary
at one place serving in the mission field."
As a result,
76 years later, Molencamp says, "We have hundreds of churches, hundreds of
schools. There are so many fruits of his ministry. He started a maternity ward.
He was concerned about the whole person, and whatever needed to be done, he did
Churches in Congo are at a special conference at Kama this week. "The churches wanted to get together
and honor Sam and Marie Vinton. They wanted to celebrate that with seminars and
a conference where people could come from all over the Congo and celebrate
continuing mission is to send missionaries out to preach the Gospel,
plant new churches and train up new leaders. It's simple and effective. Molencamp says, "For the last couple of years, we've had a special
emphasis to get to all the high schools in the are and present the Gospel to
all of these kids in these schools. We've had thousands come to know the Lord."
Despite civil wars, unrest and other
disruption, GMI has remained faithful to its calling. Four missionaries work with the Grace
Church in Congo in the areas of evangelism, church planting, education,
literature, medical work, and community development projects.
A large medical center with two Congolese doctors is
functioning in a Muslim area where there is a focus on planting churches in the
surrounding unreached people groups. Keep praying for the team. "Our Congolese brothers have been faithful,
but it's still a very difficult life. We
are still there trying to help and trying to train the Congolese to train
Mama Vi went home to be with the Lord in 1983. Baba Vi followed in 2005.
The world has changed in 76
years. Bible translation has accelerated
exponentially. Communications have improved so it takes little time to send and
receive messages. It's easier to get teams
and supplies in and out of the rural areas.
The one thing that hasn't changed
for GMI is the focus on the Gospel. They're involved with outreach in 13 other countries, including Australia,
Bolivia, Cameroon, Congo, Costa Rica, Curacao, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Zambia. There's more here.