Welcome to Day 1 of the Echoes International Advent Calendar! Today we visit one of the poorest countries in the world, which has faced much violence and tension over the past few years. This powerful story is told by an Echoes International mission worker who travels regularly to the country.
A few years ago, we were travelling door to door with a local evangelist when we came to the house of a man called Kikunda. He told us that he wasn’t a Christian, but he listened to a short explanation of the gospel and took a gospel leaflet.
The following day we visited him again and he was holding the leaflet when we arrived. He said, ‘This message is troubling me, I want to believe, but I have a problem.’
He then told us that he served Satan and worked as a witchdoctor. After reading the Bible together, Kikunda got down onto his knees and started praying. ‘God, I am an evil man and cannot see the light. But I believe that Jesus died for me, and I’m asking you to come in to the darkness and walk with me into the light.’
Kikunda then brought us a pile of items used for practicing witchcraft, including animal skin, bones, horns and stones. He explained that evil spirits worked through these items and that he was able to heal sickness and divine futures. This was how he made a living. The following day after the gospel service at church, Kikunda burned all of these items as a public testimony that he was turning away from witchcraft.
After this Kikunda had no means of income and struggled to buy food and other essential items for his family. It was in these difficult days that the reality of his faith shone. When he managed to get a small amount of money, the first thing he bought was a Bible.
Months later, we provided fishing nets for him and he now provides for his children by working as a fisherman. The elders at his church speak highly of his spiritual zeal and he is now an active member of a fellowship in Luanza. He has recently led a local man to the Lord.
It was in these difficult days that the reality of his faith shone
One great sadness for Kikunda is that his wife separated from him before he got saved. After months of prayer and waiting on God, in November 2017, his wife Kombe trusted the Lord and came back to him. During their separation she had a baby with another man but Kikunda took them in and is raising the boy as his own. In his own words, ‘I have been forgiven much by Christ and therefore I must forgive much’.
Recently, Kikunda had a major health scare and his family thought he was dying. A group of witchdoctors got together and told him his sickness was a result of forsaking the spirits and pressured him to offer sacrifices to them. From his sick bed Kikunda told them,
‘I would rather die in Christ than live with witchcraft.’
- for Kikunda, his wife Kombe and their children as he serves the Lord
- for peace in the country, following a year of much violence and for the elections scheduled for December, as these could lead to further violence – pray that the elections go ahead and there is a peaceful transition of power
- that Congolese Christians will have increasing access to the Word of God, good Christian literature and sound Bible teaching.