At home worldwide: to church by boat
Navigating the Congo River by motorboat sounds like an adventurous holiday, but for many ministers in the Congo this is the norm and the only way they can reach congregations to celebrate divine services.
Depending on where you are in the world, the distance to the nearest church varies greatly. While in some parts of South Africa, New Apostolic church buildings are only a few hundred metres apart, members in Australia, Asia, or America often have to travel many hours to the next congregation—by bus, car, or even airplane. Even in Europe distances vary greatly.
Destination: divine service
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the heart of Africa, there are three million New Apostolic members who are looked after by District Apostles Michael Deppner (Congo-West) and Tshitshi Tshisekedi (Congo-South East). This large country has been divided into two District Apostle Areas because of the huge number of members.
There are 18,000 congregations in the Congo and some can only be reached by boat. District Apostle Deppner made a video on his way to the congregation of Kimwabi. It is situated on an island in the Congo River and is surrounded by dense forest.
Out to the Atlantic and then up the river
District Apostle Deppner writes: “We left Muanda (Central Province), headed out into the Atlantic Ocean and then up the Congo River lined by mangrove forests on both sides.” As he drew up to the island in the boat with the Apostles Lambert Matita and Michel Tati and Bishop Buabua, a small choir welcomed them.
There is something special about the beach, District Apostle Deppner says. “It has been built up with tons of oyster shells over the years.” The people smoke oysters and sell them, which is the main economic activity here.
Divine service at the beach
The group spent the evening on the island. The next morning the Apostles celebrated a divine service with approximately 100 brothers and sisters in attendance. The District Apostle conducted the sermon in French, which was translated at the altar into Kikongo and Lingala, two languages that are spoken in this part of the country.
Wherever his next trip is going to take him, if he cannot reach the congregation by boat he might take his motorbike, ignoring the dangers of navigating muddy and narrow tracks.