— Churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo run 145 grade schools
serving 40,000 students. Only about
10-20 percent of the students come from Christian homes, and the government
actually requires that schools provide religious instruction.
"This is just a great harvest
field," said Sam Vinton of Grace Ministries International. "We feel that our focus is going to continue
in this area for quite a while with the number of students we have."
GMI is sending out teams trained
by OneHope to help evangelize students and communities. The teams do outreach in the schools,
distribute tracts with teams of local Christians, and show The GodMan film in
the evenings. So far, 700 students have
made professions of faith, 847 people have professed faith in response to the
tract distribution, and 1,683 have professed faith in response to The GodMan.
"Of course, the biggest prayer
now in my mind is, what kind of follow-up materials need to be prepared, and
training individuals who will follow up with all these students, along with
the pastors and people in our churches," Vinton said.
Logistically, the outreach is
challenging. Many villages cannot be
reached on bicycles or motorcycles. It's
not easy to obtain literature that clearly communicates biblical truth for
40,000 students in the Congo.
"We don't have enough booklets to
carry on that program, so that's what we're trying to develop," Vinton
said. They need " literature that can
be put into the hands of the new converts, regarding prayer and Bible study and
their Christian life. Those type of teachings are very foundational. I would say that's what we really have to
make sure we're providing, and so it just opens up a great responsibility to us…and
a great challenge, but I think an exciting challenge."
Many of the teachers at the Christian
schools are currently unpaid and live on the support of parents in the community. Since people are the most receptive the Gospel
between the ages of 4 and 14 years old, Vinton says it's crucial for Christian ministries
to reach that age group.
the Lord will make this a reality that results in many, many of these young
people coming to
the Lord. They are the future of our ministries."