In this Mission Spotlight story, Gary and Rick reminisce about one of their favorite Global Mission pioneers.
Gary:Rick, we’re thinking about that visit many years ago to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, West Africa. That was quite a trip.
Rick: It was. It was my first time visiting that country, so it was eye-opening.
Gary: In Kinshasa, you’re looking at [a city of] 17 million people, and it’s growing rapidly. It seemed like every one of them was out on the street when we drove in from the airport. Just an active, vibrant, happening city, and there we have Global Mission pioneers through the years who’ve been planting churches.
Rick: Yes, I remember going into the city and seeing lorries, or trucks, filled with people in the back. That was their transportation into the city. And so it was a huge challenge—you’ve got a small number of Global Mission pioneers trying to reach many people.
Gary: We were there for a Global Mission pioneer training, and I’ll never forget the person who really stands out to me—Pastor Jeremiah, a former pioneer who led the singing for the event. He was so enthusiastic and had such a wonderful story that you suggested we take him out on the street so that we could film him in action.
Rick: Yeah, so we went out right in front of the church and set up there. He started playing music, and immediately he had a crowd. His personality is so infectious. He’s just so vibrant and has this life about him that people are just drawn to it, I think, even without the music.
Gary: He had his two little kids with him, Benji and Josie. Josie had been sick. She’d had malaria. She also had ulcers on her leg, so she doesn’t look overly happy in the video, but she sang! They had walked two hours to come to the event, and that evening they were walking another two hours back home.
Rick: I’d forgotten that they had walked two hours, but I think that’s often the case in many areas of the world. What I do remember, though, is all the children that gathered around when he started singing and playing.
Gary: I remember several years later, walking down the corridor at the General Conference, and I heard the same song that we had recorded Pastor Jeremiah playing and singing. I poked my head into Ricky Oliveras’ office—he’s one of our video producers—and he was editing. Sure enough, there was Pastor Jeremiah. . . . We knew him with two kids and a one-month-old baby at home, but now the family had grown, and he was still ministering like he had through the years. It was just wonderful to see!
Rick: What was great about that video was that they had little homemade trumpets.
Gary: That’s right. Beautiful. Well, Global Mission pioneers such as Pastor Jeremiah are working all around the world. Thanks to our donors’ prayers and financial support, they’re planting churches in places we didn’t know we could plant churches, in very difficult circumstances. Whenever I meet a pioneer living on a basic living stipend, I’m humbled because I say, “Lord, I don’t know what sacrifice is.” Please continue to support Global Mission pioneers pioneering the gospel around the world.
Watch this story in action at M360.tv/s2147!
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