We are honored to support Nicolas and Lephare-Bukavu in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Please keep Nicolas in your prayers.
What is the name of your church and roughly how many attendees do you currently have?
Our Church is called Lephare Bukavu (le phare is a translation of lighthouse in French). We have two services: French and English. The French service meets in the mornings and averages 100 people (70 adults and 30 children) while the English service meets in the evening averaging 30 adults. We have 14 mid-week bible study groups (ten in French and four in English). We are planning, God willing, to plant a second church in our city by the second half of 2018.
Where are you originally from and where is your current church located?
Our church is located in the city of Bukavu, eastern of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). I was born and grew up in that city. I then went to do my university studies in South Africa (Johannesburg) where I spent ten years before coming back to Bukavu again.
Tell us the story of how God called you to plant churches and why you chose the current location for your church plant.
I became a Christian when I was in South Africa. I had the privilege and grace to come to Christ through the student ministry of a Bible-Gospel-centered church. Over time it became clear to me and to the leadership of the church that God had gifted me to lead his people and had put in my heart a great concern for my people.
What is the spiritual temperature in your community/country? How does this reflect your church’s mission and focus?
My community is very religious. Most people claim to be Christians but have not been encouraged and challenged to be disciples of Jesus. Over 60% of those who claim to be Christians are Catholics. Less than 5% of the Christian group is evangelical.
Tell us one of the most difficult situations you have faced during your years as a church planter. How did God work through that particular situation?
There has been many difficulties along the way, but God has been good to us. One of the hard one has been the lack of stable and suitable venue we could rent for our meetings. In October 2016 we were evicted without notice from the venue we were renting because of some ownership conflict within the family of the people we were renting from. We were without a venue for over four months. Then God provided for us a better venue, bigger and at a more affordable price than the one we had lost. That was again a sign to all of us of God’s had and favor upon his work.
How are you seeing God work?
We are seeing God’s hand in ways words cannot easily explain. People join our church (or small group) and are radically transformed by the Gospel as it is preached and lived out in the community. Patient is one of those stories that remind us again of the power and beauty of the Gospel. Patient was a young man full of guilt and uncertainty. He was never sure if he was right with God. He would have periods in his life where he will try to be good and do church then he would go through a season of total rebellion followed by a season of guilt and remorse over his actions and choices. He was angry and bitter with God over how his dad had left the home and gone to marry elsewhere. By God’s providence Patient found his way into our community. He heard the Gospel and trusted in Jesus. He has been with us for over 18 months now, growing and finding peace, joy and security in Jesus.
Please list any prayer requests we can share with our SRC family.
- Me, Rachel, Benaiah and Ronnelle that we may be able to do effectively the work God has called us to do in Bukavu.
- For our small groups to be “harbors” of light within their neighborhood and shine the “light of the knowledge of Christ”. Please pray for their leaders. I have started meeting with them (a total of 24) as well as some potential small group leader on Wednesday evening for training. We hope to start six new small groups by the end of the year and some of these leaders will be leading them.
- That God will help us make and strengthen disciples of Jesus in our midst. We plan to do more training of leaders with the aim of doubling our small groups’ numbers.
- For our work in local universities, that God will use these groups to bring many to a personal knowledge of Jesus.
- For our country and region; we are in a turbulent period, the rest of 2017 seems very obscure to most of us. Please pray that things did not get to a civil war scenario. Please pray that peace will continue to prevail and that the political landscape will be clearer each day.
- That God may continue to give us-as church- opportunities daily to reach out to people and to talk about Jesus.
- For finances to be able to sustain the growth that we see actually in our midst and particularly as we ready ourselves for the new church plant in 2018.
- That God shall send the right people to join the new church and He will use them to grow His work in Bukavu.
If you would like to reach out to Nicolas, you can visit the church's website at http://lepharebukavu.org/.