Having lived in Beni, DRC back in the 80's and having prayed for the people there for many years, we are delighted that this university is a light shining bright in what can be a great darkness. Isn't that what God has called us to do? Bring light into the darkness and expose those things in our lives that need to be changed, that we might be transformed! This is exactly what UCBC (Congo Initiative) is doing. There is so much work to be done, to some it may appear impossible, but nothing is impossible with God! We are grateful to Him that we can join Him in supporting an organization that is so positive.
We love the mission and values of CI. We admire the organization's focus on bringing Christ's transformational life and love to the people of the Congo through higher education. It is a very much needed work and it is a joy to be able to partner with CI in their work through giving.
I've been supporting Congo Initiative through their Kipepeo project since 2008. The reason I started was because I wanted to give something back after having been given, debt-free, an excellent education at Wheaton College. Knowing how much Wheaton impacted my life I was inspired by the idea of giving the same opportunity to students in Congo, even though I've never visited that country.
I've faithfully supported Congo Initiative from a distance (I live in Guatemala, Central America). However, what helped me to understand the project deeper was to read Dr David Kasali's biography. I received it in the mail and set it aside One day I just started leafing through, and I couldn't put it down! I read the whole thing and even cried through parts of it because of how real and beautiful God's working has been in the lives of the Kasalis. Thanks to Congo Initiative for being such an innovative, excellent and faith-filled group of people.
I support Congo Initiative as a Kipepeo partner, giving a small amount monthly to help students with their tuition. Having gone to a Christian Liberal Arts college in the US, I know how formative the college years are, and how important it is to have professors who integrate Christian character with good scholarship and social concern. As an American, I have been overwhelmingly blessed with educational opportunities, and one of the small ways I can "give back" is by helping those who, because they live in another country, have not been given the advantages I have. I want these Congolese young people to grow to a holistic understanding of God's goodness and grace for them and for their whole country. This is why I give to the Congo Initiative.
Congo is one of those places that both captures our imaginations and breaks our hearts. It feels like a place where the Light sometimes stands little chance against the dark. So rich in natural resources but so damaged for so long by colonialism and warring factions, Congo’s needs sometimes seem overwhelming.
Then along comes Congo Initiative—offering real hope in the shape of a new generation of leaders and offering people like us an opportunity to make a small but meaningful difference. Founder and Director David Kilgali was once a guest in our home, and he impressed us with his vision and integrity. In addition, a friend of ours believes so much in the work of Congo Initiative that she has given up her career here and moved from the U.S. to Congo to invest her life there. We get regular updates from her about the good, if challenging, work of Congo Initiative. Even without these personal connections, giving to Congo Initiative would have been an easy decision for us because we believe that one of the best ways to achieve lasting change in Congo is through accomplishing CI's mission of raising up new leaders.
Since Congo Initiative was in its early stages, I've been compelled by the authentic partnership and deep compassion at its core. Congo Initiative relies on existing visionary leaders to call forth and empower a new generation of creative, passionate leaders who will work for renewal in Congo and all of East and Central Africa. My own university experience formed my mind and spirit to do the work I love today, and I am honored to be able to make that possible for young leaders like myself in Congo. The Kipepeo Partners program makes that connection possible.
As a monthly donor, I have found that Congo Initiative is a professional and transparent organization. CI clearly communicates with me as a donor and have shown me the direct impact of my donations. Without a doubt, I will continue to support this organization and the great work they are doing on the ground in Eastern Congo.
For my husband and I, it is so exciting to be a small part of rebuilding a nation—almost unbelievable. I remember first hearing about the vision for UCBC in the beginning. It was thrilling and overwhelming. I couldn’t help but shake my head—it seemed impossible, undoubtedly a “God-sized” task. But then, as a friend put it, “God eats impossible for breakfast.” That the Lord is in the business of redemption and restoration everywhere is true. I have heard of and wept for the sorrow and ruin in the DRC, but here is a new thing filled with hope, filled with joy, filled with life!
As soon as I found out about the work of Congo Initiative, I started giving to their programs monthly, and praying for them. While I have never been to the D.R. Congo, it means so much to me that Congo Initiative is working to build up strong and courageous women and men who will lead the D.R. Congo's future generations. I am inspired that Congo Initiative is promoting justice and nation-building on their campus...a campus where women are being respected, valued, and equipped for leadership! And, I am grateful that Congo Initiative is caring for disadvantaged women, and teaching them important skills. I wish I had even more to give. Being a Kipepeo Partner is the least I can do to help.
Masters candidate in International Human Rights Law
The Congo Initiative's UCBC Service Learning Coordinator, Chelsie Noel Frank, is my personal friend. I have known her both state side in the US as well had the privilege to connect with her on a mission trip to the Eastern DRC. In both capacities she has shared the vision of the local Congolese people and the ground swell of their passions to transform their society and their country. The CI and the UCBC are manifestations of such visions. I also had the privilege to get to know UCBC's Academic Dean Honore Bunduki Kwany. His calling and life commitment to the CI and UCBC is filled with hope and compassion for his people and it is contagious. While the CI and UCBC desperately need our help, we in turn need theirs. It is in the true exchange of finances and relationships, that both of us can become something better and beautiful. I encourage anyone called to check it out and give of yourselves, you and they will never be the same.
I had the honor of visiting Beni, Congo with a few pastors and several businessmen prior to the establishment of the school. In addition to spending extensive time with David we visited with numerous pastors, area businessmen and local politicians. I have continued to follow the progress of the school from afar and have both donated to the Congo Initiative and provided some financial assistance to visitors over the past several years. What has been accomplished to date is truly amazing!