A pastoral trip ends fatally

Four dead, two survivors: a boating accident on the Kahamba River leaves a huge void. Many congregations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are deeply saddened. Those killed in the accident were their ministers.

On Monday, 21 June 2021 six ministers from the New Apostolic Church were on their way home from a pastoral trip, when they got caught in a storm on the river.

The accident

They were travelling in a dugout near Kazimiya, in the district of Baraka, which is situated in South Kivu. The boat capsized, throwing the occupants overboard. Not all of them were able to save themselves. Four of the brothers drowned in the choppy river.

Shepherd Lupotea Elias and Deacon Eya, the two survivors, immediately informed a rescue service and their District Apostle Tshitshi Tshisekedi. He arranged for the search and recovery of the missing ministers. Apostle Daniel Massiya Kassongo heard about the accident and asked the brothers and sisters to pray for the victims and also that their bodies might be recovered quickly so that they could be given a dignified burial.

The search

The search lasted several days. The body of Shepherd Andolo Bwenge Norbert was found on Tuesday. He was 57 years old and leaves his wife and eleven children. On Thursday the body of Shepherd Kakile Ferdinand was found. He is survived by his wife and eight children.

Finally, on Friday, the last two missing men were found. District Evangelist Kiza Bajabu Amour, who leaves his wife and eight children, and Priest Elema Saidi, who is survived by his wife and five children.

The District Apostle had four coffins built for the dead ministers and brought to Baraka, where a memorial service took place for them.

The memorial service

Apostle Kimbere Kitaka conducted the memorial service and based it on Revelation 20: 6: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

Afterwards the four men were taken to their home villages for burial.

Comfort and solace

On Sunday, 27 June, New Apostolic congregations across the world prepared for the impending divine service for the departed. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo South-East this service was especially moving on account of the tragedy. For Baraka, a special service was spontaneously organised and conducted by Apostle Kimbere Kitaka. He assigned Priest Mukonge to lead the orphaned district as district rector.

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