Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 30, 2015

Pushing Back the Darkness

Democratic Republic of the Congo | 20 October 2015

I once heard a story about a blind old man who carried a lantern in the dark. A young passerby who saw him laughed at the sight of this blind man carrying a lantern at night. “Are you afraid that you are going to stumble over something,” he mockingly asked the old man. “No,” the old man replied, “I just want to make certain that no one stumbles over me.”

The blind man was right about one thing — it’s easy to stumble over things in the dark. That’s why we need light. Light enables us to see what we otherwise would be unable to see. When Jesus wanted His disciples to understand the significance of His incarnation, He explained that He had come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Him would not remain in darkness (John 12:46).

Kids on Net
I have thought a lot about darkness the past few days as we have walked slowly among the people of the village we are visiting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This war-ravaged nation witnessed incredible loss of human life. During the years of war, missionary efforts in the country were severely hampered. Throughout those years the country was steeped in darkness and unspeakable evils. The Congolese know what it means to “sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79).

Bill Pitching Tent
When we arrived at this village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, the tribal leader gave us permission to set up camp among them. Village kids watched with great interest as we pitched our tents. People of the village walked over to see what was going on and welcomed us with open arms. Our base camp became a hub of fellowship and the laughter of children and some deep conversations with the people about spiritual matters.

Water Carriers
Every morning before venturing into the village, we spent time in prayer as a team. On our first morning, our partner reminded us of why we had come so far. “We are here to push back the darkness,” he said — a sobering reminder that we were indeed in a dark place and among people who had not heard about the light of the world. And so we ventured daily into the village, carrying our lanterns.

Where do you begin a spiritual conversation with people who have not heard about Jesus? We began by laying out a basic infrastructure of the story of redemption using chronological Bible stories. Beginning with the story of creation, we explained God’s interest in and love for the people of the world. We talked about why God eventually had to send His only Son to illuminate our dark world. We had conversations under trees, in the village market and local school, and anywhere we met people who wanted to listen.

Village School
As we shared Bible stories and answered questions, I thought about the words of Psalm 119:130 — “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” We are grateful for every opportunity we had to share about the hope that is found in Jesus. We were even given permission to share in the village school. Our deepest prayer is that the things people heard will indeed enable them to see and understand what they previously had been unable to see. Every person we spoke with thanked us for coming and for helping them to learn about God.

Praying w New Believers
We are also grateful for the dozen men and women who embraced Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Our Safwa partners will mentor these individuals who will remain in this remote place. This is their mission field — they must reach their own neighbors. These new ambassadors of light must now carry their lanterns of God’s light and push back the darkness in this hard place.


  1. Oh, wow! Thanks to God for helping you all in this work, and for the rebirth of those precious souls. I just met a lady yesterday at Kingsland who is from the Congo!

    • Thanks, Kay. We are indeed rejoicing in the decisions made in the DRC. Had a really great time talking about follow-up and arranging for discipleship of these new believers.

  2. Inspiring! This is the good stuff right here. Praying for strong, spiritual leaders in this community. Truly a life changing trip…theirs. Amen.

    • Thanks, Mary. That is our prayer as well.

  3. Praise God for the twelve who received Christ. May they multiply in the Congo. Thank you for your labors in pushing back the darkness.

    • Thanks, Megan. We feel strongly about those who made decisions for Christ. Their tears were genuine. Their resolve is firm. They want to push back the darkness. Thanks for praying for these new believers and also our Safwa partners who will help them to grow in their faith.

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