The first graduates of École des Disciples (Discipleship School) in Bangui, Central African Republic, had very little time to celebrate before rebels stormed their city in March 2013.
News of the ceremony got lost amid concern for the safety of Back to God Ministries leader Rev. Paul Mpindi and his wife, Charlotte, who were trapped in the city for several days. The Mpindis had participated in the graduation celebration just the day before.
Rev. Mpindi had an opportunity to travel back to Africa to celebrate with a second group of École des Disciples graduates in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. On July 27 a group of 112 students received diplomas following three years of intensive leadership and discipleship training.
“We launched the Discipleship Schools in 2010 in response to the significant need for trained leaders to provide one-on-one discipleship for new believers and seekers,” explains Rev. Mpindi.
“People were hearing our broadcasts and responding to the gospel. In their desire to learn more about the Christian faith, they enrolled in our Bible correspondence course. The number of enrollees became so great that we needed trained leaders to assist with mentoring these students.”
Since the Bible study correspondence program began in 2004, throughout Africa an average of 2,000 students enroll in the studies each month. Most of the students at École des Disciples are those who completed the Bible correspondence course and desired the next level of training so they could help others in the program.
Through support from ministry shares and individual gifts, Back to God Ministries International is able to offer the discipleship training at no cost to the students. They only have to purchase their own study materials.
Pastor Hervé-Claude, one of the first graduates at the Bangui École des Disciples, testified, “It is truly with joy that I write these words to tell of God’s greatness in my life during these three years of training. It has not been easy for me during that time; I have suffered much persecution in all its forms. I have had many difficulties in my home and in the area of finances. At times I regretted signing up for this training. But the Spirit of God has helped me. I have now reached the end and bless the Lord for that.”
Since March, a measure of peace and order has been restored in Bangui. “The 75 graduates of the school in Central African Republic are doing their best to provide mentoring in a difficult context,” reports Rev. Mpindi.