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In addition to our global partnerships in Hungary, Uganda, Cuba, and El Salvador, one may ask why Myers Park Presbyterian is in partnership in Congo as well. After decades of civil war and political turmoil, the country has been left with a volatile environment. All of this comes on the heels of a recent Ebola outbreak and heated political election season. Put simply: the need in Congo is exceedingly great. Despite all of this strife, the Congolese people are bruised, but not broken, and possess the most significant force for change on their side: hope. For 68 years, MPPC disciples have been called by God have joined with brothers and sisters in Congo to provide support for that hope. Since sending our first mission team to the region in 1950, MPPC has remained active in establishing educational institutions, economic infrastructure, and accessible health care to the Congolese people. However, due to the current political crisis, MPPC disciples have not been able to travel to Congo for some years, but look forward to returning.

Despite this, our congregation’s relationship with the people of Congo continues to flourish. To date, MPPC has been involved in the establishment of six successful schools mostly in the Tshikaji area. In addition to the girls’ school built in Kananga in 2015, MPCC has taken steps to construct another girls’ school in Mbuji-Mayi. The new building, which broke ground this November, is modeled after the Dipa Dia Nzambi school which is self-sustaining and has been highly successful in providing Christian-based education for young women that surpasses the public education currently available. The new girls’ school will serve both primary and secondary school students and provide the same high-quality learning environment.

Additionally, our partners at the Presbyterian University of Congo (UPRECO) are engaged in a project of their own. Rev. Dr. Simon Kabue Mbala, the current Rector of UPRECO, visited MPPC in October to talk about the future of this partnership. UPRECO has continued to be a successful university offering many initiatives and programs, including seminary and law programs, to help students advance in their education. One issue that UPRECO faces is ensuring the safety of its students. Traveling the great distance from home to school on foot is extremely dangerous for the women that attend the school due to the threat of violence, rape, and harassment from men. In response to this crisis, MPPC has committed to partner with UPRECO to help build a new dormitory on the campus, satisfying the need to provide safe housing at the school for nearly thirty women. With a diminished threat of violence, these women can focus on their education and learn in safety.

As a congregation, we are entrusted with extraordinary resources. God calls us to use our gifts faithfully to enact sustainable change in the world. Through a focus on women’s empowerment through education, MPPC and the Congolese Presbyterian Church will support the creation of future leaders in the church, community, and ultimately the nation.

Follow along with construction updates on these two exciting projects by reading our Congo blog in 2019.

Interested in joining the Congo team? Contact Congo Ministry Team Leader Millie Cox at milliedcox@gmail.com.