How the Christian Youth Development Program is bearing fruit in the Democratic Republic of Congo…
In January 2017, 5 young people from the Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) in Lubumbashi joined the Christian Youth Development Program, usually referred to as CYDP, which is hosted in South Africa by the Brunstad Christian Church South Africa. For the period of 6 months, while they participated on the CYDP, they underwent on-the-job-training in the building and construction industry, as well as in affiliated industries; learning not only practical skills, but project management, good work ethics and team building as well.
When these young people returned to the DRC, they were well equipped to be of tremendous help with the construction of a church venue. A place where the members of BCC in Lubumbashi could gather for church services and other church related activities.
Retracing the development of the church in Lubumbashi will put things into perspective as to how the involvement of their youth in the CYPD has been life changing, not only for the participants on the CYDP, but for the entire church in Lubumbashi. This congregation has a history dating back to 2001, when the church was in its infancy and gatherings took place in the home of one of the members. As numbers grew over the years, space became very limited and accommodating all the congregants for church services became a challenge. Opportunities for them to gather and enjoy fellowship after services were limited and more especially, there was no space for activities for the growing number of children and youth, who needed outdoor space as well. It became necessary to find places elsewhere for the active children and youth to expend their energy and participate in the activities organized for them. Finding suitable places was not an easy task and the urgency of having a place of their own became very apparent.
A piece of land just large enough to accommodate a church hall with very little outdoor space, had been initially purchased by church members in 2013, and in 2015 work commenced on the construction of a hall. This work was done on a voluntary basis and although progress was slow, by the time the CYDP participants returned to Lubumbashi from South Africa in July 2017, approximately 80% of the foundations and 50% of the walls had been completed. With the more experienced team of young people now driving the building project, it gained great momentum and opened up opportunities of employment for several of the youth. Others, along with many of the older members of the church, continued to work voluntarily. Some help was also received from South Africa with specific and specialized installations, and several young people from BCC Cameroon, experienced in building and construction, contributed significantly to the project. The high standard of work resulted in a very well built church venue, which the members of the church are extremely thankful for.
In 2018 a property adjacent to the hall was bought and this provided the space for outdoor activities which was so sorely needed for the children and youth. An old house on this property is currently under renovation and will be used for Sunday school as well as youth and children’s activities.
The inauguration of the church venue took place in August 2018 and a representative from the South African High Commission, Ms Maguban, and the Mayor, Mr Ecrick Twite Lwamba, and his entourage were in attendance. It was a joyous occasion for the members of BCC Congo, who had so willingly and enthusiastically been part of this life giving project!
In an area where the supply of electricity and water is unreliable, the facility now has a good water supply from a borehole, a reliable electricity supply via solar power and high speed internet for watching BrunstadTV. The maintenance of the facility also provides employment for several of the young people. The members now have a haven where they can gather and thrive together with a vibrant, active group of youth and children.
Nonnie Noge, a member of the church, sums up the sentiments of the congregants:
“The assembly is so grateful to God who allowed this construction project to see the light of day and also be completed by our young people.”