Today’s post contains remarks prepared by Rev. Jacqueline Ngoy Mwayuma for the panel “African Women and Mission” at the Methodist Mission Bicentennial Conference. Rev. Mwayuma is administrative assistant to Bishop Mande Muyombo of the North Katanga Episcopal Area. Rev. Mwayuma’s remarks are translated from French.
“The Lord says a word, and the messengers of good news are a great army.” This text from Psalm 68:11 has often encouraged me as a woman in missionary work in Africa.
In all the history of the world, God needed humans to accomplish his salutary mission for the whole of humanity. The history and mission of The United Methodist Church in Africa is very important to me personally as a clergyperson because I am part of it.
I was called from a young age to serve God, something that is not easy. In this society, the primary roles of women were agriculture, child-care, caring for cattle, and housework. God freed me from this hold through The United Methodist Church in order to be a valuable tool in the primary mission of the Church.
After graduating with my degree in theology in 1984, I served in the following positions:
From 1984 to 1999, the Church entrusted me with a great responsibility at the level of our Episcopal region, that of coordinator of women's work. In that role, I took charge of technical, spiritual and literacy services for women in several ecclesial districts. After two years, the supervised women were able to manage their small businesses. Because they mastered basic concepts of reading and arithmetic, this work was successfully accomplished.
I worked in a newly established parish that had fewer than 60 members. After two years, more than 200 souls were won for Christ. God used me for the healing of a sick woman whose arms could not make any movement. Thanks to prayer, she was healed.
From 2000 to 2005, after having had an accelerated training in the field of basic community healthcare in India, the responsibility for basic community healthcare was entrusted to me.
Several seminars were organized in villages near the city of Kamina on preventive medicine with the motto, “Better to prevent than to heal.” In order to support this work financially, the wife of the missionary Tom Rayder of Kamina gave sewing equipment to upgrade the workshop as a basic community health care production unit.
From 2006 to the present day, several responsibilities have been entrusted to me among others:
I was circuit superintendent, that is to say, the head of several parishes. My duty of visiting them was indispensable to the clergy there. I travelled long distances varying between 50 and 60 kilometers by bicycle to achieve these objectives. A few years later, we planted five churches using the greatest strategy of prayer and door-to-door evangelism. Following this growth, the Bukama circuit became an ecclesial district with a District Superintendent.
As I journeyed in ministry, I did not cease to plant new churches and build new schools (Bukama, Luena, Lubudi, Kabalo) and to urge young people to serve God as clergy. That is how I have ten clergy as my spiritual children, including my current Superintendent in the Kalemie district where I work.
I was appointed superintendent of a rural district destroyed by wars, with responsibility for 11 pastors, 5 local preachers, and 10 heads of establishments (directors and prefects). Nine churches were rehabilitated, and six were built. Five new schools were built, and seven were rehabilitated. The membership statistics in the District of Kabalo increased from 326,540 to 912,693 members.
In view of this experience, the church has entrusted me with another great responsibility, that of being the Assistant to the Bishop.
In short, this mission has had a great impact in my life as a clergyperson and as the second female pastor in the North Katanga episcopal region and the first in our Annual Conference of Tanganyika.