Hosanna United Methodist Church has a passionate pastor, enthusiastic members and big plans for the future — even though the church has no walls, floors or roof.
Set in a grassy field in the village of Matete, Hosanna is one of 93 “leaves and sticks” churches in the Kisangani district.
The large district is divided into two areas. The Rev. Litalema Bogega is superintendent of Kisangani 1 and the Rev. Omole Owandjakoy is superintendent of Kisangani 2.
Sitting outside in plastic chairs one evening at Nyota-Makiso United Methodist Church, most of the pastors from both districts gathered to share their stories with visitors from United Methodist Communications.
Buildings are always an issue.
The Rev. Paul Lokolonga, pastor of the church named after him, is paying for the 1,500 bricks needed to repair the mud and thatch school behind the church. The bricks are being made from the mud onsite.
The district has 100 local churches. Four churches are “durable” with roofs, walls and floors; three churches are semi-durable with roofs; and the rest are made from leaves and sticks woven together using the trees and foliage surrounding them.
Transportation is always an obstacle, and the Kisangani districts have only one working motorcycle to share among the district superintendents. A dusty motorcycle that sits in a corner of the office the superintendents share hasn’t worked for 20 years.
The roads are bad and it is difficult to communicate with all the churches.
“The district has many challenges,” Bogega said.
Evangelism is not one.
The Rev. Ndjovu Shakro, pastor of Hosanna United Methodist Church, has 40 members in his church, which was started two years ago. Every week the pastor and members of the church go out into the community to invite people to their church and tell them about Jesus Christ.