Co-founders of The Congo Initiative, David and Kaswera Kasali, had originally planned to visit Taylor to share about the Congo Initiative, but had a visa conflict. As a result, Lumbemba, who resides in Portland currently, was chosen to come in his place.
“The Congo Initiative educates ethical leaders who have integrity; invests in a sustainable vibrant Congolese society; and develops grassroots initiatives for peace, hope, and justice,” their website says. “Through our mission, we are together—being transformed to transform.”
In chapel, and with other students throughout the day, Lumemba shared her personal experience of living through the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide and rebel forces, and was able to show how that has shaped her faith and view of God.
Lumbemba lost multiple family members as a child due to the conflict in Congo. She has since graduated from the Christian Bilingual University of the Congo (UCBC) with degrees in psychology and counseling. At UCBC, she worked for a year as a chaplain, and then decided to further her education in the United States at the Western Seminary Portland campus.
“While grateful for her experience, Lumbemba felt she did not have the experience truly needed to help those who have suffered so much trauma,” says a feature written about her by Western Seminary. “She wanted to understand the issues deeply so she could integrate good counsling into her theology.”
Lumbemba is pursuing this career to give back to her community, and wants Taylor students to know the story of the Congo and the hope that there is for it.
She says the most helpful thing students can do is learn more about the state of the country.
“The Congo is known for its economic, political and ethnic conflicts and as of the poorest countries,” she said. “However, it is full of resources and when they can be utilized correctly, and there is a lot of opportunities. Student’s visions have been transformed by God’s grace, and there is so much potential in the private and public sectors.”
Lumbemba continues to urge students to urge Taylor to pray for the kingdom to come to Congo, and to know all the ways The Lord is working in both her life and theirs.
She wants students to know of the promises the Lord has for them, and the way he cultivates identity and production in him. She cited Psalm 139:14 and letters from Paul as the most important verses that have pulled her through the hardships she’s faced in life.
“I really thank the Lord for the journey of healing,” she said. “He helped me to not only think about it in my head, but in my heart that I am valued. I am loved, and I have been created for a purpose”
Lumbemba was joined in her chapel message by Kizito Kakule Mayao, a MAHE student from the Christian Bilingual University of the Congo.
“My presence by Taylor is not random, it’s the fruit of hope and faith,” Mayao said during chapel. “I’m from a poor family … even if I were to sell all my properties and collect all my money, I would not be able to reach this country. That’s why I say it is a miracle for me this morning to be here. God works with generations — after 175 years of excellence of Taylor University, the Lord has opened doors so that I can come here, and at the same, God has connected you to other countries … so that we can go and bring light to the world.”
Taylor University and the Christian Bilingual University of the Congo plan to continue to work together for international educational experiences in both the U.S. and the Congo.
To learn more or donate to the Congo Initiative, visit congoinitiative.org.