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PC(USA) partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo provide students with hands-on learning


Step by step efforts are being made to eradicate poverty and hunger

September 5, 2023

Young peanut plants grown in modified supermarket bags on a balcony. (Photo by Jose LaMont Jones)

Our denominational response to the Matthew 25 call to aid those less fortunate is lived out through the foci of strengthening worship communities, eradicating systemic poverty and combating racism. An old proverb states that a long journey is made step by step. And so it is that our partners in the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are taking steps to improve formal education systems and provide life options that will lead to a more productive and healthy society.

More than half of the DRC population is at primary/secondary school age. This presents an imperative for effective education reforms to ensure a population prepared to utilize the immense natural resources of the land and capitalize on that human resource for years to come. My role, here in Kinshasa, is to walk alongside the CPK schools in program implementation and teacher training that through education we can collaborate with our partner to eradicate systemic (and generational) poverty and provide hands-on experiences that give opportunities to students to use their classroom knowledge in the real world.

Institut Scientifique Principal Romande Tshilolo, and newly called Église KasaVubu CPK Pastor Mudekereza Nsibula Lamek at the grounds for the KasaVubu Community Eco-garden that begins to be developed. (Photo by Jose LaMont Jones)

Consistent with teaching a person to fish, as opposed to simply giving them a fish, hands-on learning helps students to develop their interests and find ways their skills can be used to earn a living and improve their lives for years to come. A novel collaboration between the Institut Scientifique de KasaVubu and the parish CPK KasaVubu is taking initial steps to teach the science behind the cultivation of food and increasing the community conscience for Creation care and supporting those in need.

As issues of food security and lack of energy access adversely impact the country’s development potential, a concerted effort to understand ways out of poverty is needed. The collaboration will address poverty through entrepreneurial development within the community, water purification, community and home vertical gardens and nutrition education — all ways that are consistent with caring for the environment and working cooperatively to help the needy. And, through its environmental discipleship project, the church in conjunction with the eco-garden collaboration will positively impact life options and environmental awareness for many years to come.

The Rev. Isaac Kalonji Mukendi, president and legal representative of the CPK, has often said to me that this school year must be different and that the parents and community should notice the positive changes in CPK schools as we move into the future. Step by step, the CPK schools have begun a journey toward being modern educational institutions contributing to a more prosperous Congo. You are asked to pray for these efforts, follow our progress and support where possible. Blessings!

José LaMont Jones, Mission Co-Worker, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 3, 2023, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Today’s Focus: PC(USA) partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Heather Leoncini, Mission Specialist, Presbyterian Youth and Triennium, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Kristen Leucht, Church Consultant, Los Angeles, Board of Pensions

Let us pray

God of reconciliation, help us to invite others to the dance floor and to accept whatever invitations come, that we may worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

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