May 2014–Graduation Ceremony

On the last Sunday of April 2014, we held a graduation ceremony for the next batch of students who have completed our Bible Knowledge course. This is the 3rd group who has graduated since we’ve come to Kinshasa, but what makes this group special, is that it is the fruit of the first and second graduation, and an inspiring fulfillment of 2 Timothy 2:2. Gino and I did not personally teach any of these new graduates, but Thierry (2008 graduate) and Olivier (2011 graduate) were the teachers, as well as Maurice (2011 graduate), who had one student who completed the course. Congratulations both to teachers and students for their perseverance to complete this beautiful study, and also for their initiative to spread the Gospel far and wide.

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Thierry, Olivier et Maurice--our 3 Bible teachers

[*Some of these graduates were members of our English Club and we all had fellowship together once a month with everybody, so we got to know most of them on a personal level and minister to them as well. We also work very closely with both Thierry and Olivier, and visit their classes from time to time.]

During the ceremony, Olivier did a great job introducing the mission and the Bible course; and Thierry did a very warm presentation of each graduate, introducing each one by saying something very positive and personal about their relationship with the Lord or the fruit of their witnessing. He also didn’t miss an opportunity to advertise the course and give the many guests present the desire to sign up for it.

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Thierry introducing John

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Olivier introducing the mission

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Praise and worship

We also presented a diaporama showing the various projects Espoir Congo is conducting in Kinshasa, including those initiated and directed by the young Congolese we have trained.

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Guests and graduating students watching a slideshow presenting our mission in Congo

 

Upon receiving their certificate, each graduate shared what the course meant to them, and their vision for the future. We will sum up here what each one said, for your inspiration.

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Giving out certificates

Maxi (now studying in the States, represented by his mother): I’m very happy to be here to receive Maxi’s diploma. I saw the change in him when he started studying this course, and it affected our whole family, so that now we are all following it too, and we are so thankful!

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Maxi's mother

John (graphic design student): The 12 FS course has given me a deeper understanding of the Bible, and has taught me how to practice the gifts of the Spirit, for which I am very thankful, in particular the gift of prophecy. I have already started to share this knowledge with others and I want to continue.

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John

Jacques (international relations student): I am very moved to be receiving this diploma today. I met Espoir Congo two years ago, and ever since I started studying the 12 Foundation Stones Bible Course, I realized I had been heading down the wrong path up till now, and a radical change took place within me. Olivier can testify of it. My pastor also noticed it, and gave me the responsibility of vice president for the evangelization ministry of our church. I also have a vision, as the Bible instructs us to teach what we have learned to other faithful men who shall be able to teach others also, so now that I have graduated, I will be able to start teaching the 12 Foundation Stones in my church.

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Jacques

Joe (engineer student): Before I started taking the 12 Foundation Stones course, I was a total pagan. But this course totally changed me. Before, my family was never in the habit of praying. Last year, when my father faced some very serious problems, he came to me crying one night and asked me to pray for him. It was the first time I had seen my father cry. The Lord answered my prayer and did an absolute miracle that brought about the needed solution to my father’s problem. After that, my father went and bought a Bible and my whole family has been transformed.

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Joe

Sebastien (Pastor of a Lutheran church). This course has totally changed my life. It has changed my church. It has also changed my home. I may already be a pastor, but this course has taught me so much! I am determined to now teach this course and share it with others.

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Sébastien

Patrick (recently graduated from medical school): I am so thankful to those who have so faithfully taught me this course and encouraged me through it, and especially to Gerse who introduced me to Espoir Congo. The 12 Foundation Stones course is absolutely wonderful. The Bible tells us in Mark 16 :15 to go into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature. And in John 13:17, that it’s a responsibility we have as Christians to practice what we have learned. If not, we will be most miserable. Please pray for us that God will use us for His glory.

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Patrick

Jean-Marie: I am so happy to be here today, to hold this microphone, and to be part of this family of believers. Even though I am a theologian and a pastor by training, I want to say that the 12 Foundation Stones course has given me all that I needed. It’s like taking a basket to the market. The basket is faith. And faith is the only thing that pleases God. In the 12 Foundation Stones, I have discovered profound things, and also simple things, easy to comprehend, that help me bring the message to others and teach them how to come to Jesus and how to have the same faith. This course has given me what I was missing from church. I have been a pastor for many years, but never before did I carry out this mission to go in the marketplace, in the streets, in hospitals, to proclaim the Word of God.  But with the 12 Foundation Stones, I understood that I need to go witnessing in all these places, everywhere, and I reap good results in the name of Jesus-Christ.

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Jean-Marie

 

Gerse (recently graduated from medical school): I’d like to tell you how I discovered Espoir Congo. I was studying medicine at the time at the University of Kinshasa and went to the internet cafe as usual to work. I noticed a diploma written in English hanging on the door of the café and was immediately interested. I asked Olivier, who was managing the café at the time, if it would be possible for me to obtain such a diploma. When Olivier said yes, it was enough motivation for me to follow the training of the 12 Foundation Stones course. I just had to have that diploma! Olivier invited me to attend the first session. That is when my motivation started to change, little by little. The prospect of a beautiful diploma in English was no longer what was most important to me, but rather to become a true dispenser of the Word of God. That is when I started to hunger for God’s Word. I cannot say which part of the 12 Foundation Stones I prefer, I love the whole course in its entirety, as each class made me discover something new, even if it dealt with a theme I had already heard about, it presented different facets of it which I found fascinating. One thing that really impressed me with Espoir Congo, was when we started evangelizing and distributing posters in universities. In the beginning, I was hesitant when the idea at first was brought up in our study group. I didn’t think we would be very well received, especially in other universities. But when we went out witnessing, we were able to pull aside small groups of 3 or 4 students and tell them about Jesus, and they were so receptive to the message and wanted to know more and more. This really impressed me, and to this day I continue to witness to my friends, every time I get the chance, and everywhere I go, I no longer hesitate to tell people about Jesus.

As far as what I’m planning to do with this course, like the apostle Paul says in I Corinthian chapter 9 verse 16, woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel. And it’s this same motivation that was anchored in the apostle Paul that I want to appropriate to myself, because everything I have learned is a true treasure, so I feel responsible before God to pass it on to others. I am planning to start a Bible study group in Massina where I live and teach the 12 FS, motivate brothers and sisters to follow this course, so that they can become like me, and so that we can continue to train disciples in the mission Jesus has given us, according to Matthew 28:18-19, to make disciples of all nations.

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Gerse

Crystelle (university graduate in Communication Science): Shalom everyone ! What motivated me to follow the 12 Foundation Stones course, is the mission of going door to door, and especially when you came to the university where I was studying at the time. You came to fulfill the mission Christ had given you, which is to preach the good news from house to house. When I met you for the first time, I learned that there is a Christian school that trains young people in Bible Knowledge. I was already a Christian, but I didn’t really know how to read the Bible, I didn’t know how to meditate on Bible verses. But thanks to this study, I have learned how to meditate on God’s Word, how to memorize it, and also how to share it. That is what motivated me to take up this course, and in order to do so, I was willing to travel many miles, even in the rain, in order to attend Olivier’s classes in another university.

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Crystelle

Esther (Olivier’s wife, who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl): I am so happy to be receiving this certificate. In life, if you don’t have Christ, you are lost. If you are a Christian, but lack the knowledge of God’s Word, you are lost, because life has many problems and difficulties, so you end up just complaining about it, whereas Jesus is right there. Jesus is here, and He is the solution to all problems. That is what made me take up this course. Of course, Olivier is here, but I knew it wasn’t enough, that I needed myself to have a knowledge of God’s Word in order to face life’s problems, because it is not for Olivier to solve all of my problems. [At this point, everybody clapped!] By following the 12 Foundation Stones course, I received a deeper knowledge of God’s Word and I am thrilled. I am a little shy by nature, so this course pushed me to talk to others about Jesus, I started going out witnessing. My practical life has also changed, and like the Bible says, I just have to give to others what I have received. Also, having a baby in this country is not easy, but God stepped in and helped me each step of the way. If I hadn’t studied God’s Word, I would probably have ended just accusing people right and left, but God was with me until the end.

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Esther

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Clotilde with Esther and baby Marie

 

Titus (English teacher): When I first met the Family, I was very touched to see the type of teaching it offered. There are so many churches here who don’t give enough teaching. This course has greatly edified me, and even changed my methodology of praying. I am also planning to become a teacher of the 12 Foundation Stones and evangelize the whole world.

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Tite

Besides a certificate, each graduate was given devotional booklets in French, and a DVD full of goodies to help them in their future ministry. We will be following up with a seminar to go over the ins and outs of becoming teachers of the Bible Course, and each one will receive a Teacher’s Manual and Memory Verse Book.

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Gino, Thierry, Olivier and Clotilde with all graduates

While I am writing these testimonies, several of these newly graduates are witnessing to thousands of refugees who have been expelled from Brazzaville, praying for them and giving them posters and Activated magazines, while we are working on getting some supplies for their basic needs. We are so proud of them.

 

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