Congo Evangelist and Dissident Released

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Vano Kalembe Kiboko, a United Methodist lay evangelist, prays in civilian prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He led hundreds of people to Christ while in prison himself. UMNS photo courtesy of the Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko.
By Heather Hahn
May 9, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS)

A political dissident who led a prison revival is now free in his native Democratic Republic of Congo after 16 months behind bars — the past four in a military prison.
Vano Kalembe Kiboko — a United Methodist lay evangelist, businessman and former congressman in Congo — was detained on what the watchdog group Human Rights Watch called “trumped-up charges.”
That all changed May 5, when authorities released Kiboko.  
For his sister — the Rev. J. Kabamba Kiboko, a member of the Texas Conference who also serves on the Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court — his 492 days in prison made her feel like both of them were in a deep pit.
“I felt trapped, but I was in prayer, and that’s where he and I were together, strong together,” she told United Methodist News Service. “I felt when he was low and I could feel it when God was comforting him. God was comforting me, too.”