Church History
Taking the Priesthood to Kikondja

“Taking the Priesthood to Kikondja,” Global Histories: Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020)

“Taking the Priesthood to Kikondja,” Global Histories: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Taking the Priesthood to Kikondja

One rainy Saturday morning in 2014, President Elie K. Monga, a counselor in the mission presidency in Lubumbashi, and Elder Jeffrey Wright, a senior missionary, came to the meetinghouse in Kolwezi early to prepare for a district conference that would be held over the next two days. When they arrived, two haggard-looking men were waiting for them. They introduced themselves as Yumba Muzimba Paul and Muba Wa Umbalo Delphin. They had only a beat-up bicycle with a flat front tire and a parcel wrapped in a torn, dirty plastic bag.

Eight days earlier, Paul and Delphin had left their home in Kikondja with a large group to attend the district conference in Kolwezi, more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the southwest. Although there was no official branch in Kikondja, they reported that more than 60 people were attending the group’s weekly meetings. During the journey, many of the members had become ill and decided to return to their homes. Only Paul and Delphin continued, determined to attend the district conference. They traveled day and night the last three days, walking their bicycle through the pouring rain because it had a flat tire. Now there, they presented their parcel to Wright: the year’s tithing for 33 members of their group. Although Wright had processed large donations before, he recalled, “I have never felt like I had handled such sacred money before.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo:Missionaries

Yumba Muzimba Paul and Muba Wa Umbalo Delphin pose with President Elie Monga and Elder Jeffrey Wright with their broken-down bicycle.

The tithing paid, Paul told Monga and Wright the true reason he was so determined to attend the district conference. In 1975 he and two other men from Kikondja, including Delphin’s father, had written letters to Church headquarters requesting missionaries come to their village. Although Paul’s partners in the endeavor had both died, he had maintained his desire that the Church would one day be established in his village. “I have waited for this event for 38 years,” Paul told them.

Over the next two days, Monga and Wright taught and trained Paul and Delphin in the duties of priesthood holders, including how to administer the sacrament and to use their priesthood to bless the lives of their families and neighbors. Before they left for the return journey, Paul and Delphin were ordained as elders and authorized to bless the sacrament and hold meetings in their homes.