A mama for all
Not only her own large family call her Mama Rose. The members of the Calgary-Chestermere congregation (Canada) also affectionately know her by this name. They appreciate the caring nature and self-sacrificing commitment of Sister Rose Kamwanji Ndumbi (62).
In the divine service that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider held on 9 January 2022 in Calgary, you and your daughter Sharon sang a solo. What did you feel at that moment?
We had really been looking forward to this day. We could hardly wait to see the Chief Apostle. Of course, we had been able to see him in online services and were very happy about that, but this time we were to actually see him in person. All the preparations went very well and we thank God that the Chief Apostle could be with us. It was the first time that we sang a solo in a service by the Chief Apostle. We were very excited, even though we usually do it in regular divine services.
Please tell us about yourself. Where and how did you grow up?
I was born on 12 November 1959 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and raised in a large loving family. I am the first-born in a family of twelve siblings: five boys and seven girls. Already as a young girl, I decided to devote my entire life to Jesus Christ. I decided to put God first. Faithful and fully surrendered to Christ is how I can describe my life as a New Apostolic Christian. My life not been easy. It has not been a walk in the park, but as a believer I know that every hardship I have had to encounter has been allowed by God and that God was with me. I am looking forward to what else my life holds in store for me and how I may still experience God because I know that His plan is good.
What childhood memory has influenced you most?
When I was still young, we had to flee our hometown because of a civil war. We were in great danger. Even today I still sometimes think about all of this. We survived, for which I am very grateful. Luckily, my father had a stable job as a secretary clerk and he did his best to provide a good education for my siblings and me. Unfortunately, not all of us were able to go to university, but by the grace of God we have all been able to lead good lives.
As a student, I was dedicated to excelling in all of my subjects. I was named as a top student in many of my courses, which led the path for me to becoming a nurse. I truly believe that God granted me the spirit of pursuing excellence in my studies and in my passions, and that He blessed me. In the DRC I worked with vulnerable groups, such as orphans and women in need. Now in Canada I work in health care as a nursing attendant.
Your heart obviously continues to beat for the disadvantaged in Congo, even though you are now in Canada yourself...
The love of neighbour has driven me to build an orphanage in Kasaï-Central, a province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Construction began on the orphanage in September 2020. It is to give more than one hundred people a home: children, widows, single mothers, and desperate women. God willing, the construction work can be completed before the end of the year.
What was the catalyst for this?
In June 2019 I went to the DR Congo to bring my husband’s ashes home to his family—in keeping with our traditions. I found lots of orphans in the area. Their parents had been killed during the genocide by Kamuina Nsapu militias in Kasaï-Central. This really touched me, and I had a broken heart full of questions. This is why, when I came back to Canada, I decided to help the orphans. I started by buying school supplies, uniforms, and shoes for them and paying their school fees. As they do not have a permanent place to stay, I started thinking about building an orphanage. I founded a charitable organisation: Fountain of Orphans and Vulnerable Women. Basically, I finance everything myself, out of my own pocket. Maybe in future people can be found who can give us a hand, as there is still a lot to do. This project is very close to my heart and it was born out of a desire to serve the Lord and to thank Him.
In 1994 you left the Congo and relocated to Canada with your whole family. What helped you to settle in your new home country?
At first, it was hard to integrate into Canadian culture. The congregation made it a lot easier. Fortunately, District Evangelist Wynn Sturm and his family kindly welcomed us when we attended our first church service. Many of the brothers and sisters welcomed us and were thrilled that the congregation had grown by 13 members in one fell swoop.
How do you deal with it when something in life does not go the way you would like it to?
I know that the tribulations we face are only temporary. When things go wrong, God will help us in His own time. Challenges make our faith stronger. Praising God means testifying of His powerful work as Creator. This is why we sing: “Glory to God in the Highest”. Let us keep our faith alive. This helps through all life situations.
Back to the Chief Apostle’s divine service in your congregation. What were the effects?
The Chief Apostle’s visit was a special blessing for us. Everybody was very happy. You could read it in the members’ faces after this rich service. At the beginning, the Chief Apostle said that God does not forget anyone and addressed this message primarily to all those who are in need and distress. This touched me deeply. The service of the Chief Apostle answered many of the questions everyone had. I wished it was already the day of the coming of the Lord.