For over 30 years African Enterprise had done a great work in the English-speaking African countries, but it remained a challenge to operate effectively in the French-speaking countries of Africa. This is why an office was opened in Kinshasa, DRC in 1995. The main purpose of this office was to form a springboard into the French-speaking countries. Phambu-Lelokatunguka Babaka became the first team leader of this much-challenged office in the heart of Africa.
It has always been a huge task for African Enterprise to raise the funds needed to run the offices and organise missions. As early as 1996 Rev Babaka decided to make an attempt at raising funds in his own country. With a background in farming he was well-equipped to start the “Pig Project”, growing pigs for the local meat market. The project was very successful as pork was sold to nearby supermarkets and restaurants, thus generating funds for mission work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sadly, the project came to a sudden end in 2002 when the pigs died of an epidemic pest.
Apart from local fundraising, the African Enterprise team from the DRC also proved to be quite helpful in mission set-up, and was thus used to plan missions outside of their own country. The mission to Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 2002 came about through the assistance of the DRC team, as did the Antananarivo, Madagascar mission in 2005. The DRC team was further of crucial importance in setting up the leadership mission to Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2014 thanks to their ability to speak French.
Big missions within the DRC included the Pan-African missions to Kinshasa in 2003 and 2004. In 2003, the leadership of the city and country were addressed in a Leadership Mission, followed the next year by a citywide mission involving stratified evangelism. More DRC missions can also be found on the timeline.
African Enterprise DRC team leader Leonard Kiswangi shares what it is like working in the DRC: “People sometimes tell us to ‘Hang out there’ as a spin on the expression ‘Hang in there!’ Taxi drivers in Kinshasa will fill their vehicles, but there are always some people who cannot find a seat to their destination. They will hang on to the outside of the vehicle, hoping that a passenger will get out so that they may obtain a seat inside the vehicle. They ‘hang out there.’
“Michael Cassidy often shares how God gave him the possession of difficulties and we can certainly relate to this in the DRC! We have come through risky and tough times as a country and as a team. It is easy to become discouraged when we feel like we don’t get the blessings or resources that we need, but Michael would always remind us to continue fighting the good fight of faith and to ‘Hang out there!’”