Mbuji-Mayi Pastoral Visit
(We did not correct the English.)
Dear in Christ Vladika John,
Christ is Risen!
Please find below the detailed report on the pastoral trip by the Archpriest Chrysostome, Hieromonk Theophile, Fr Martin, father Timothy, Deacon David and the Subdeacon Lazarus in Mbuji Mayi from 27 March (Friday) to Monday the 13 April 2009.
Departed from Kananga by 21 hours on 29 March and Arrived in Mbuji Mayi on Sunday, 29th March by 17 hours. This travel for about a mid day, took us such amount of time because of the bad road and the truck breaking down from time to time.
We travelled by truck (the priests) and by bicycles (the others).
In light of direct observations and preachings (oral and written) transmitted by the Subdeacons Jean andPeter, the Redaers Nestor Kapena and Luse Chrysostome and the Sister in the Lord Mary Okongo thanks to the sermons and other articles (such as calendars, lives of Saints, icons...) they used to receive from Fr Theophile and the Arcpriest Chrysostome - from the Dormition Skete, different souls and local chrestian groups (most of them protestants) have converted themselves to the Orthodox Faith.Among the groups (communauties), the most important are,
1. “L'Eglise de la Foi du Christ dans le monde” (The church of Christ Faith in the World) by the leader Kabeya Ntoka.
2. “La Communauté des Envoyés du Christ dans le Monde” (The Communauty of Christ Sent in the World) by the leader Kamba Londa Yezu.
3. “Le Ministère Charismatique de laParole Divine” (The Charismatic Ministry of the Divine Word) of the Leader KalalaNkumbi Mupiana Diulu.
4. “La Communauté: Mange la Parole du Christ” (The Communuaty: Eat the Word of Christ) of the Leader Kasongo Kana Kumayi
5. “The Cyprianite group (chapel) run by the subdeacon Basile Mukuna
6. The delegation of the Evangelical communauty Ditalala run by Kabalu Mukole. Joseph Ditutu, the secretary general was the head of the delegation.
7. The Christian Union of the churches in Congo run the pastor Theophile Tshipamba.
Generally, these leaders and their people not knowing themselves in the area, had the same purpose that of looking the true path/faith to lead them to the salvation which is in the True Christ.
Monday, 30th March: Warming-up contact and some exchanges and preaching with different souls and groups. After the reciprocal introduction (presentation), we went directly to different questions by the peole interested in our Church, namely the what is the Orthodoxy, why the not living in communion with the other juridictions (The Church in Resistance of Metropolitan Cyprian and the Alexandrian Church)... The day ended up with the appoitment for the holy baptism on the following day.
Tuesday, 31 March: - Continued contacts and preaching to the arriving people, - the baptism took place with 78 souls in all at St James the Brother of the Lord Parish. 44 souls from the heretical Orthodox Churches renounced itand were chrismated.
Wednesday April 1: Meeting and preaching; 72 people were batised on the day and some people were chrismated after their renunciation of their former false beliefs. In the afternoon, the communauty of the “Sent of Christ in the World” was visited. Their main parish was blessed and named after Sts Cosntantine and Helen. Here 76 souls were baptised. Their leader handed down to us all their juridicial papers and the seal. This communanuty has seven parishes throughout the area (Eastern Kasai).
Thursday 2 April: Sporadic contacts and praechibg, elaboration of administrative papers.
Friday 3 April: The visit of the Communuaty of Faith of Christ in the World. It was blessed and dedicated to St Thomas the Apostle. 75 persons were baptised. The communauty has other parishes accross the area.
On the same day, St Peter parish run by the Subdeacon Peter was visited by passing.
Saturday 4 April: we celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St James in the morning and then after visited the communauty of Charismatic Ministry of the Divine Word that we blessed and named after St Gregory Palamas.98 were baptised late in the evening. This also have other parishes (groups) outside Buji Mayi. And from there we wre invited and visited the chapel of 12 Apostles (of Subdeacon Basile) very late in the evening.
Sunday 5 April: Divine Liturgy at St Helen and Constantin. Admonitions and preachings. In the afternoon 24 were batised.
Monday 6th: 27 souls were baptized and three marriages were celebrated. elaboration of some papers for practical purposes.
Tueday 7 April:15 personswere batized, pratical tips given and two marriages celebrated.
Wednesday 8th April: 25 souls baptized, 4 marriages celebrated and exchanges with some members of the Christian Union of churches in Kongo.
Thursday 9th April: 16 people were baptized. Preachings were given
Friday 10th April:Administrative formalities and search for the truck for the return travel
Saturday 11th: Divine Liturgy at St Cosnatntin and Helenn and in the afternoon a meeting was held with the designated responsibles in charge of the created parishes for advice and directives for the goodwalk of the Church life in Buji Mayi during our absence.
Sunday 12 April: Matins and blessing of palm branches and station at the truck departing point, which was postponed late in the evening because of the rain.
Monday 13 April: Early in the morning, we departed from Mbuji mayi for Kanaga where we arrived on Tuesday (14April)in the morning time by God’s grace.
Conclusion: More already-converted souls, even before our arrival, were not baptized because of our very short stay and other souls were absent from the proper Mbuji Mayi in search of life means at this general economic crisis, especially there were theeconomic life depends 95% on diamond market and other mineral materials. The same reason for the marriage. The same reason is why other created and pointed-out parishes were not visited.
Our leaving Mbuji Mayi was a sad news, especially for the newly-baptized who need to partake of the Holy communion and be well initiated in the Orthodoxy. Others were even in trouble, having cast away their false practice, but not knowing how to be/live now in conformity with the new faith embraced. Hence the necessity to urgently plan for a second tripfollowing the Pascha. If not the permanency of priests and deacons for their fair shepherding. Moreover,the great number of the faithful and the geographic space urge/necessitate our petition for the ordination unto the different ranks of priesthood of certain amongst them during your next visit in July.
Among the needs expressed, we just cite a few: church building, social works, icons, books of prayer and Church literature, prayer ropes, crosses... and please calendars insert more calendars in the box to arrive as promised!
Seen the encountred difficulties en route and at the find of the means of transport for travelling, we reiterate our asking from your lovingly fatherhood, for a car Land Cruiser 4X4 that can be purchased here in congo or from there in the USA in order to facilitate our transport.
Your financial assistance there had a great support for our life: we cannot thank you enough for this!
Please mind that it seems we are not correct with the number of the batized as our reporter/notary some days was too weak (sick) for not being able to record every thing. Hope that whenever possible and getting in continued touch the batized groups, we will keep you posted with the exact number. The average of the baptized shouls be 700 souls.
In The Christ the Risen,
Archpriest Chrysostome Batshibasu
P.S Please find attached some pictures of the trip