Odette was walking home through the forest from her mission class in town as she did every day two hours each way She She did not suspect that it would be the last time. She was happy.
Odette was studying cross-cultural missions as her husband Kanyamanda had done before her. Kanyamanda graduated the missions school of Action Missionaries and was then trained to take over the church in Cadeau from his mentor. First, Kanyamanda lived in the rainforest of Cadeau with his mentor as he learned to pastor the new church of about 40 people, mostly Mbuti Pygmies. Then, he moved his family to this remote Pygmy Village.
Kanyamanda and Odette were struggling when they moved into the former pastor’s house and took over the church. Their four children were constantly sick; the new little two-room school there was very poorly equipped and did not have a third or fourth grade. Their very meager salary could not cover all their expenses, even though they also worked very hard planting beans and eggplant among their banana and cocoa trees. Eventually, they had to let their oldest two children attend school and live in town with other pastors.
Kanyamanda had a hard start. Life in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not easy. After so many disappointments in life and business, Kanyamanda accepted his calling as a pastor and was full of joy, even though he was faced with the task of pasturing a Mbuti Pygmy church in the jungle with his wife and four little children.
The church matured, as did Kanyamanda and Odette. Their deep commitment to Christ and the church, despite the hardship of raising a family in the jungle, was obvious. The small church was solid, with some believers walking many hours to attend church or moving their whole families there. Sunday morning services were mostly filled with Mbuti Pygmies who were very happy to have their own church. The church was built for them, on their land, in this remote village.
The area around Cadeau had been quiet for years; but, that was about to change completely. Years earlier, militant Islamists of the ADF-NALU had declared the area to be under “Sharia law.” Over the course of several years in an area north of Cadeau, these Muslim fundamentalist rebels had kidnapped about 800 people and killed or enslaved them in their camps near the mountainous region of Congo’s border with Uganda. They used the men as forced labor, the women as sex slaves, and the children as students of their Islamic schools where they taught karate, judo, weapons and explosive training, and the Islamic faith: the Koran and Sharia law. Their aim was to “get rid of governments led by Christians, establish an Islamic government, make Friday a holiday instead of Sunday, and establish Islam as the state religion.” (Pangatho Samuel Reta)
Over time, these Tabliq militants who started out as rebels against neighboring Uganda became radicalized, associated with Somalia’s Islamist al Shabaab, and prepared for their jihad.
On the night of October 16th, these Muslim terrorists slaughtered 19 people in the neighboring village of Ngade with machetes and then targeted Cadeau, the pastors and the church. Kanyamanda and Odette were asleep in their beds with two of their children when they were warned by Mbuti Pygmies to run.
As men approached their door laughing and acting friendly, however, Kanyamanda innocently opened the door to his murderers. They dragged him from the house and butchered him with machetes, then returned for Odette. Odette hid her two little sleeping children in the house before she was cut to death with machetes and left for her now-orphaned children to find. Before dawn broke over Cadeau, the chief of the village and 13 others in Cadeau had been slaughtered with machetes. Most were members of Kanyamanda and Odette’schurch.
That is how the church was murdered. Cadeau is still a “red zone,” under military control, and only the new chief of the area lives there. The church, school, and pastor’s house are all still closed and being eaten by termites and covered with jungle foliage. A few members managed to miraculously escape the massacre and the injured have since recovered, somewhat. Survivors still mourn the loss of the pastor and his wife, and the 11 members of our church who were also killed. We show our love and respect to one another quietly at whatever church or shop we happen to meet at. Little by little, we are collecting money to build a small house for Kanyamanda and Odette’s four orphan children who now live with their grandmother in another city. If you would like to help build this house for these children whose parents gave their lives for Jesus Christ and their church,
please donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/i4aekk?pc=em_up_2
The Jihad of the ADF-NALU continues to this day with kidnapping, looting, rape, recruitment of child soldiers, and butchering of innocent men, women, and children. To date, over 400 people (at least 65 women and 35 children) have been massacred with knives, machetes, hoes, hammers, and axes. Some children were slammed against walls until they died. Roughly 12,050 households, or 72,300 people, have been displaced by this Muslim terrorist movement called the ADF-NALU.
These atrocities are far more distressing for we who are still hearing the news of massacres. Nineteen more innocent people were killed this week in Tungudu and Maimoya, about 25 kilometres north of Cadeau. We feel the continuous suffering of the families and friends as these massacres continue. Sometimes, we hear someone on our street or at a neighbor’s house wailing as they get news of a loved one massacred in their home village.
The people here have been tempted to form militias to find these rebels and fight them where the army has not. Instead, we have prayed and fasted and obeyed the Lord’s command to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. It has not been easy since October 16th, when our church was murdered.
Who are the best persons to conduct these studies?
Please respond to this email address: [email protected]
Don “Love More”/”Penda Zaidi” Foster
Love Your Neighbor, Africa