Congo-Brazzaville (MNN) — Over six months ago, evangelist
Sammy Tippit was planning to travel to the Republic of Congo. However, because
of travel difficulties, he was forced to delay his trip until the end of June.
Finally able to make the trip, two days before he arrived,
the nation was struck with tragedy when a train crashed on its way to the
capital of Brazzaville from Pointe Noire, the country's economic center.
Tippit explained the crash: "There was a derailment of
four train cars that went over into a ravine … Nearly 100 people were killed,
and over 700 were injured. It just shook the whole country."
The government declared a weekend of mourning from June
26-28–the same weekend Tippit had evangelistic meetings scheduled in Pointe
Noire. Television and radio stations asked him to deliver words of comfort to
the grieving nation.
On the first day of mourning, Tippit preached to
thousands in an open field: "One of the greatest things that happened was
to be there at the right time, at the right place with a message of hope for
people whose hearts were hurting so desperately."
And the response was overwhelming. Hundreds of people made
decisions for Christ, and Tippit said these responses were not just hasty
choices of people looking for quick relief from their pain: "The message,
I sense, went deeper. You can tell when you're speaking to large
audience … and you're in the open outdoors, and it's really easy for people to
get distracted and to look around. But people didn't move; there was an
attentiveness. It was like they were soaking in everything I was saying."
Tippitt continues to rejoice in God's timing: "Jesus always comes
to the hungry, the needy, the hurting."
This trip was originally planned at the request of Christians
in Angola, where Tippitt has had similar meetings in past years. Prior to his visit,
a church-planting seminar took place for the Congolese people.
Now, as hundreds of new believers are in search of spiritual
food, these newly-trained church planters can establish churches and begin to
Pray for a solid foundation for these churches and for the growth of
the new believers. Pray for the seeds Tippit planted during his message to go
deep and take root, sprout and cast seeds into the lives of even more
Congolese. Also, pray that this tragedy and God's message of hope will spark a revival
across the nation.