Bercie Mundedi was one of the first three women ordained by the Mennonite Church of Congo, a Mission Network partner, in 2013 and
thefirst Congolese woman to direct a Mennonite Church of Congo institution. She is part of the Africa Leadership Coaching Network, which brings seminars and workshops to underserved communities in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To go or not to go? This was the question I had been wrestling with. I had just received word that two of my children were ill. My son had been rushed to a hospital in Kenya, where he lives, and my daughter was in a hospital in Muanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where she lives with her husband. My heart wanted to be with my children in their time of crisis more than anything else.
As I prayed about what I was being called to do, Jesus' invitation to share the life-giving message of salvation throughout the whole world grabbed my attention and settled my heart. I was especially comforted by Jesus' words in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV), "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," and his follow-up promise, "I am with you always." Faith and peace welled up in my heart. If I gave myself to Jesus' mission, Jesus would take care of my children. So I decided to join the Africa Leadership Coaching Network coaching team that was traveling to Lunyeka, DRC.
But to be honest, there was one other fear that I had been struggling with: Was I up to exposing myself to a cultural environment that historically gave women very little consideration or value? Overcoming this fear has been a long journey for me, even though I have been an ordained pastor in the Mennonite Church for 10 years. Again, I had to decide to trust Jesus and push through this fear. The Holy Spirit kept reminding me that the opinions men have toward women do not decide my value and they do not decide the value of the women we would be encountering at Lunyeka.
On the way to Lunyeka, we stopped at Katalayi, where we found a Mennonite community gathered and waiting for our arrival. I immediately noticed the crowd of curious children, who were eager to meet our team of six people on three motorbikes. Brother Charles Buller said to me, "Sister, in my opinion, we need to give a message to these dear children." So I addressed the children, telling of God's love for each of them. Then, the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask the girls, "Who among you girls aspires to be a pastor, like me, someday?" A few girls raised their hands. I congratulated them on their courage! Their courage comforted me and reassured me that I would be useful in Lunyeka.
As we journeyed on, we came to a place on a sandy road that had deep ruts. Suddenly my driver took a hard fall and went sprawling. I felt a sharp pain in my rib cage. "Oh no, another health problem, and this time it's me," I thought. We had no choice but to get back on the motorbike and drive on. Fortunately, my injuries were not too serious, although they did prevent me from lifting things and sleeping on my affected side for the remainder of our mission.
In Lunyeka, we presented a seminar, "How to Build a Transformational Team," and a workshop, "How to Cultivate a Transformational Marriage." During our presentations, we worked as a team, with everyone playing a vital role. I noticed that every time I spoke, the people listened attentively. This response was the opposite of what I had feared. While the men seemed interested, the women were ecstatic! Following my Sunday morning sermon, the women spontaneously rose to their feet and moved to the center of the gathering, where they danced and danced. The men joined in from the sidelines.
Through this experience, the Holy Spirit convinced me that the church must take the initiative to go to the people and not wait for the people to come to the church. Following the example of Jesus, we must be willing to go to the dishonest businessmen, prostitutes and people of minority groups. Jesus came to save the sick and the lost. It is up to us to step out of our safe places and confidently bring the love, salvation and peace of Christ to those in need.
Join the Africa Leadership Coaching Network as they minister in Lunyeka, DRC. Videographer: Charles Buller
By God's grace, during our journey to Lunyeka, my two sick children were released from the hospitals where they were patients, and they are now doing much better. I have experienced God's favor over illness and over fear. I want to thank everyone who prayed and contributed to making our journey to Lunyeka possible. Together, let's not allow fear and despair to stop us from reaching out to those in need of Christ's love.