Last week, in the middle of the night, Steve and Celestia received an urgent email from our close friend, Katavo, in East Africa. He asked for prayer because armed intruders broke into his father’s home near Beni, Congo, and kidnapped his father. They held him for a huge ransom of $150,000 that the family had no hope to pay.
Katavo and his wife Daphrose are our dear Congolese ministry colleagues who named their youngest daughter after Celestia. They are among our most trusted and influential Congolese partners. Their faithful ministry for Christ is absolutely incredible. Because Katavo is a highly respected church leader, the kidnapping was well-know in the community. In fact, the local police and the UN wanted to try to free his father, but the family asked them not to as that would have most likely resulted in his death.
Days after the kidnapping, we received news that Katavo’s father was just released by the rebels. The ransom was lowered to $50,000, then $3,500, which the family was able to scrape together and borrow (a fortune for them). A brave young man named Charles took the money deep into the forest at dusk. He could easily have been murdered himself.
Katavo’s father is now home. He is not in good health, so your continued prayers for him would be appreciated. Pray also that God would miraculously use this situation for a greater good. We believe God directly answered our prayers. Here is a thank you letter with an update from Katavo for MTS support and prayer:
How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting.
Dearest Dr Steve,
Let our prayer supporters know how we are pleased and grateful to hear how much they have loved us! Praise the precious Name of Jesus Christ!
What happened to my father was a great wrong, of course. He was ill, under a strong treatment for typhoid. He was forced to spend 3 days in the forest, under heavy rains without a shelter, exposed to wild insects and cold, and fast. They were wandering in the forest, even in the dark, fearing being caught. However each day there has been conversations and prayers for my father. We thank God now that he is safe; he are grateful for answered prayers.
We also thank the Lord for the opportunity my father had to exercise his gift of evangelist with boldness over there in the deep forest. Let us pray for the conversion of the aggressors. This week is a day dedicated to community school evangelism at Himbi Institute. Both the students and teachers will be taught the Gospel truths and be challenged to accept the saving grace. Kindly consider uplifting us before the throne of grace.
We covet your prayers also for the deliverance of Daphrose’s 10 students who are harassed by demons. Meanwhile, Daphrose continues to receive short messages from the devils’servants seeking to intimidate her. One of them from a witch doctor says they have been asked to harm Daphrose. So her image is already in their mirror. If she does not want to die she needs to call back and not tell it to anybody. Daphrose needs the Lord’s cover.
On next Saturday, 7 Goma chaplains will meet for training; they will also prepare a 1-week program of teachings for our 1000 local churches and another one for students’s parents’presidents and principals. Let’s pray for receptivity and wisdom.
From June 18 to 23, we have a 6 day training seminar for 80 chaplains in Butembo. Our team of trainers will be led by Jean-Pasteur Katavo. We need spiritual stamina and the Lord’s provision to pass on the vision.