All you need is trust
“My life was quite simple: everything was exciting,” says André Miku Mpeti, a retired Priest. Born in the Congo, he came to Belgium as a young man and has now been living in Iceland for many years.
He made several new starts in life. As a young man, André Miku Mpeti left his home in the Congo to study in Belgium. When he met his future wife there, a young woman from Iceland, André decided to risk another new start.
Everything went well at first—until their relationship fell apart. This is not a time that he really likes to talk about. All he says is that he felt very isolated and that his faith in God and the fellowship in the divine services were a great support for him—the only support really.
Hooked after the second attempt
“Already at home in the Congo, religion played a big role in my life. I had a Catholic upbringing.” He only came in contact with the New Apostolic Church in Belgium. His cousin happened to lodge a District Elder. After a long discussion, the two cousins were prepared to attend a divine service. But, André says, “It did not touch me.”
Only when the rector of the congregation tried to visit him at home several times, and left his card every time because André was never home, did André finally feel the call: “I asked myself why this man was going through so much trouble to visit me. I thought there had to be something more to this. So I attended my first divine service.” And kept going.
The Priests and Deacons in Belgium practised what they preached from the altar: “They showed me so much love and patience, and never forced me to anything.” The brothers and sisters became a second family for the young student. “Eventually I felt: it is not the ministers who need me, but I who need God.” In 1988 André Miku Mpeti was ordained as a minister: first as a Sub-Deacon and later, in Iceland, as a Priest.
Divine services on request
The New Apostolic Church does not play a big role in Iceland. Whoever wants to attend a divine service of the New Apostolic Church can do so in the capital of Reykjavik. And only there. We do not have our own church on the island: a small chapel is rented for divine services.
A Priest from England lived in Reykjavik and looked after the congregation as rector. In the meantime, he has left the island again. Priest Mpeti continued to celebrate New Apostolic services in Reykjavik on Sundays. Some time after his retirement, Priest Torsten Hilke from Hamburg (Germany) was put in charge of the congregation.
There are no set times for the divine services. In fact, currently there are no more than four or five per year. Anyone wishing to find out more about the New Apostolic Church and divine services in Iceland on the Internet finds the following information: “Divine services on request”.
Experience builds confidence
The Priest who is responsible for the congregation tries to stay in touch with the members by email or telephone as best he can. They also receive pastoral care letters regularly from their Apostle, and are in contact with other New Apostolic Christians in the social networks. Thanks to the Internet they also have the possibility of following divine services online.
When the New Apostolic Christians in Iceland do meet for a divine service every few months on a Sunday in a small chapel in Iceland’s capital, there are rarely more than two or three members. Sometimes, in summer, a few holidaymakers join them.
André Miku Mpeti attends every divine service. How do you keep your faith without it being strengthened regularly through the word of God? The retired Priest smiles and says, “I have experienced God so many times. I will just keep on trusting Him.”
Congo , Iceland, Divine service, International, Congregational life, People/Personalities