I am a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a member of the Jerusalem Francophone Church in Lubumbashi in the South Congo Annual Conference. I was born at Mwajinga, a United Methodist mission, where my parents worked as teachers for more than 40 years until early this year—some months ago.
My elementary and secondary education was accomplished at Mwajinga Methodist Mission, as was my early leadership training in the church. I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and a Master of Science degree in crop production from Africa University, a United Methodist institution, in Mutare, Zimbabwe. In 2010, I became the founding dean of the School of Agriculture at Katanga Methodist University in the DRC, where I served three years before moving to my current place of assignment—Senegal, where I am serving as a missionary.
Why did you decide to attend seminary and Garrett-Evangelical in particular?
My vocational journey as far as theological training in preparation of ordination is concerned has been long. First, in the late 1990’s two things were in my mind—either becoming an ordained minister/pastor or going into the military.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
These two professions seemed incompatible to many people in the context of my country then—these were two people behaving differently at extremes. But I was convinced that they were not as different as many people thought when one day, I heard a kind of a smooth voice saying that both military and pastoral services are sacrificial services—much about helping other people, which was correct in the context of my country.
In the early 2000’s, the only option left was to get some theological training in preparation of ordination. Since then, I tried for many years to get enrolled in seminary, but I never had an opportunity—I never was admitted. At some point, I was discouraged, and I decided to no longer apply for admission at any seminary, but rather to continue serving as a lay person. As a missionary currently serving in a predominantly Muslim country (Senegal) and my church—The United Methodist being still young—the expectation is high. I came to the point where I felt that I have given all what I knew/had as a non-theologian, and the need of joining a seminary was almost a must. So, I had to reconsider my decision of no longer applying for seminary admission. Therefore, I decided to make the last try. Thank God, I got admitted at Garrett-Evangelical last November.
What challenges and opportunities have you found with the fall semester being online?
The challenge was this new way of learning—Zoom classes—night classes, sometimes 12:30-3:30 a.m. This was challenging at the beginning. As for the opportunity, regardless of the pandemic, we are able to study.
How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue your theological education?
I should simply say that, without my scholarship, my dream was not going to be fulfilled—I wouldn’t be able to pursue my theological education.
Where do you see Christ leading you after seminary?
After graduation, I am looking forward to my ordination and then to serve as an ordained clergy within The United Methodist Church. As a Global Ministries Missionary currently serving in Senegal-West Africa, I may be reassigned to serve in my current place of assignment—Senegal, or somewhere else after graduation. However, in either case—in Senegal or a new place of assignment—I will be serving as a pastor/clergy in a local parish that is still growing.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary website, Evanston, IL
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Ministerial Education Fund is at the heart of preparing people for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The 13 United Methodist seminaries help students to discover their calling through the challenging curriculum. The fund enables the church to increase financial support for recruiting and educating ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip annual conferences to meet increased demands. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment at 100 percent.