Congo (MNN) — For years, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo has been plagued by
suffering and unrest. The weakest
members of society are the victims of massive human rights abuses and cannot
access resources to fulfill their most basic needs.
"You think of all the suffering that's going on, people
being displaced over and over again," said Sam Vinton, president of Grace
Ministries International. "There's a
calm there at this time, but the people who are inciting the problems or having
the rebellion are still there, so it's always something hanging over the
A recent report by the United Nations has accused Rwanda of supporting Tutsi rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"People in Congo
are very, very concerned about the way Rwanda, they feel, is helping,"
Vinton said. "Whether this is completely
true or not, we do not know."
Despite the situation, the ministry continues to go
forward. GMI is launching an initiative
in partnership with Book of Hope to reach every child in its over-200
Congolese schools with the Book of Hope and the GodMan film.
"If we waited for things to come down to 100% peace in Congo, I think
we would have left many years ago," Vinton said. "But we really feel the Lord has put these
40,000 students especially right where we can reach them."
Grace Ministries International trains leaders for over 500 churches in
and the national church operates 75 high schools and 145 grade schools. Many of the schools are in remote locations,
and they are very difficult to reach.
"The biggest focus that we have set for next year
is how do we reach into those villages where you cannot get in by car, most of
them maybe a motorcycle, but people [are] walking through there taking the
Gospel out to those areas," Vinton said.
Grace Ministries plans to use a small plane to deliver the
materials from Book of Hope, which has already shipped 30,000 Books of Hope —
20,000 in Swahili and 10,000 in French — from Argentina. The books should arrive in Bukavu, Congo
by January of 2009.
"They developed a 16-page, very colorful booklet called the
Book of Hope, which deals with not only the Scriptures…but issues that they
deal with," Vinton explained. "Everything
from AIDS, to marriage, and so on that will affect them in one way or another."
Book of Hope also sent equipment for showing the GodMan film
to the students. In October, missionary
Bill Vinton trained 50 school administrators, 20 evangelists, and nine
leaders for the evangelistic thrust.
"I think our prayer, first, is for the literature to arrive
there safely and for the production of other materials," Vinton said. "And #2, for those men and women who have
committed themselves; they've set a goal that they want to see at least a
thousand students come to Christ in the next year. So that is what I think we need to pray for,
that God will really work in the ministries of these leaders as they reach out
to our young people."