Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — A thriving seminary in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been at high risk of shutdown since its library was burned to the ground.
John Lowrey with Christian Resources International says the school was attacked with precisely that intention.
"Muslims came in and specifically targeted the library at the seminary and burnt them out," explains Lowrey. "Their plan was that without those books, they knew that they could not hang onto their accreditation, and that the government would come in and shut down the school."
Congo is by no means a Muslim nation, but stripping accreditation of a seminary is certainly still a blow to the Christian community. If the school loses its accreditation, it will be a long, arduous, legal process to get it back. Their certification is further in jeopardy every day that the library goes un-replenished .
The only way to get the seminary away from this ever nearing edge is to restock its library as soon as possible. That's where CRI comes in.
"We're going to do a cross country road trip. So from Michigan, we will be heading out across the northern states all the way out to Washington and back, collecting books, and Bibles, and bucks as we go," reports Lowrey. "The end result of that road trip will be to try to reestablish the library in the Congo at the seminary."
CRI will make numerous "pit stops" throughout the month of June with their large bus. They'll stop at churches and various ministries to collect as many commentaries, Bibles, Bible handbooks, concordances and other resources as possible.
Of course, that's only stage one. The bulk of the dangers of this endeavor await CRI in Africa. Congo is a notoriously difficult country in which to bring Christian resources, and risk is especially high with the same group of extremists on the loose who burned the library in the first place. CRI will have to go in a "back door" entrance to get resources into the country, crossing at least two international borders and praying that nothing will be attacked.
As a result of such maneuvering, shipping costs will also shoot up. Shipping will cost more initially, Lowrey notes, but in the end it will be cheaper than if CRI tried to barge right into the country and got stopped by government officials or extremists.
The needs here are extreme. If the library does not get restocked, the school will lose its accreditation or even be shut down completely. Any assistance anyone can provide is most welcome.
Send CRI any extra materials you have that may benefit pastors, or call 1-888-CRI-WORD to see if they will be near you during the road trip. Be sure to pack in a few extra dollars to support shipping costs, and if you mail it, designate it for Congo. Materials unsuited for a seminary will still be accepted and distributed elsewhere. Most seminary students speak wonderful English, but any French materials are most welcome as well.