KARAWA, DR CONGO (March 3, 2014) — After many years of little use, Camp Zulu outside of Karawa was re-opened, and the semi-remodeled facilities also inaugurated as a new discipleship center during a six-hour ceremony that attracted 750 people.
Zulu Camp was founded in the 1970’s with funds donated by Dr. Vern and Vangie Dennis, who gave money from their son, Neil’s memorial fund, said Covenant missionary Helen Smith. “The camp played a big part in the Christian formation of many of our present day Congo Covenant Church leaders.”
The camp had not been actively used since before the war in 1996. After visiting the decaying facility in late 2012, missionary Tim Smith caught a vision for combining his passion for discipling and camping ministry by establishing a discipleship center, Helen said.
The vision was in keeping with the vision of Congo Covenant Church (CEUM) President Mboka to be a “discipling church.”
Tim already was discipling Willy and Nadege, a young couple from the Yakoma Church Region. They felt God calling them to be a part of this vision and joined Silas and Edene and their three children from the Karawa Region to become the first to live at the camp in July 2013.
Andre and Marta from Bodokola Region and their two youngest children joined them last December. These families have committed to following the early church’s model, sharing all their resources in common, working together on repairing the facility, cultivating gardens for their food, meeting for worship, prayer and Bible study throughout each day, and learning how to organize and lead camp ministry, Helen said.
The new director, Pasi, was one of Tim’s first disciples when he was a short-term missionary in Bumba in 1985. In January this year a simple adobe brick and tin-roofed home readied for Pasi and his wife, Marie.
The other families currently live in four of the six cabin units but have broken ground on the first of two duplexes they hope to have ready by July, when camping season begins.
Rev. Sabuli Jean-Vieux, head of the CEUM Christian education department, said at the ceremony, “As one of the fruit of the former Zulu camping ministry and a church leader concerned about the quality of the believers in our church today, I am greatly encouraged by this initiative to disciple couples and families in obedience to Christ’s command in Matt. 28.”
Sabuli added, “It’s time for changing our mentality of focus on evangelism to focus on discipleship. My prayer is that God will use this discipleship training to bear fruit not only at the Zulu facility but also in establishing centers at the little-used camping facilities in two of our other church regions.”