27 January 2016 // Articles & Stories

Serving the Church in D.R. Congo

Toni Stenger, serving in Bunia, DR Congo, shares about her work with the Communauté Evangélique au Centre de l’Afrique (CECA) church and the importance of theological training.

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Aids Awareness Programme

Dr. Aimé, Staff Medical Officer at Adi Hospital shares his concerns about treating HIV/Aids in Adi, DR Congo.

In January 2014 the Aids Awareness Programme, here in Adi, organised training to be given by the National Aids Programme of Congo. After this training the hospital in Adi started to offer treatment to people living with HIV. Now, almost two years later, we are treating almost 120 people with antiviral medication (ARV). More should be treated with only with an antibiotic that boosts immunity, but the treatment programme is still not funded so, unfortunately, there are things we cannot offer. Treatment of opportunistic infections is sometimes not possible or at great costs. Tests for HIV are regularly out of stock. The Aids Awareness Programme here helps us with some money to buy these items, although they are not well funded either. Please pray for us, and for funds to become available for both the treatment programme at the hospital and for the Aids Awareness Programme so that our collaboration can continue. Thank you.

Equipping church leaders

Equipping church leaders is not only one of AIM’s core values, but for more than 13 years has been the centre of my ministry. Before then I was involved in primary school teachers’ training and education consultancy where I travelled to almost all the CECA church sections and got to know the workings of CECA well. This was a major asset when I became part of the CECA church community leadership team in Bunia. The CECA vision statement reads: “Recognising the enormous sacrifice of Christ on the cross, CECA is committed to make each believer a living stone in his local church in order to restore the beauty of the bride of Christ”. This desire, to truly become a Christ-centred church, gives us the courage needed to bring about change. Seminars in all of the 59 CECA church sections by the church president, Reverend Kokole, and his team encouraged the local church leaders to make this vision their own and to move towards a Christ-centred church. Within CECA, change can be proposed at the top but not dictated. The implementation happens at ground level, through the local church. We rely on leaders at each level to do their work of equipping and follow-up well so that change and growth become visible where it matters most: in the lives of Christians participating in their local church.

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For the Glory of God

“It’s also a place where I can encourage the leadership to turn to Jesus…”

At the moment I am heavily involved with a group of very capable people to generate change within the theological education of CECA. Our well-established theological training instutions have become stagnant on various levels and so trained pastors are often not up to the needs of today’s church. Our proposed changes with a new curriculum will be presented to the Executive Council and, if accepted, implemented for the next academic year in 2016. Being part of the CECA leadership team is for me the ideal place to focus on the big picture, set vision and challenge the team for new initiatives. It’s also a place where I can encourage the leadership to turn to Jesus in good times and in times of trouble. Too often we have to put out fires and deal with daily matters, but in all of this we remind each other to see Jesus in it all and to work so that the name of God is glorified in all we do and say.

Toni Stenger

CECA 20 is the national church network which AIM founded in DR Congo in 1912 and with which it partners today. I’m involved in encouraging and assisting church leadership in developing vision and ministries.

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