Ilunga Family | Democratic Republic of Congo

 

Allan M. Ilunga Testimony

I was born in a small village in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) during the ruthless reign of Dictator Mobutu who ruled the country for 32 years. Because of endless wars and frequent civil unrest, I was forced to flee the country in 1989, fearing for my life after voicing my indignation over the Mobutu regime. I found safety in the neighboring country of Zambia, and was later transferred to Botswana as a refugee. Two years later, I was sponsored out the refugee camp by the Catholic Charities of Maine and resettled to the United States.  I became a naturalized America citizen in 1998. I am married and have four sons by the grace of God.

My life before salvation was a simple one. My early childhood was shaped not only by the warmth, love, and discipline from my God-fearing parents, but also by the godly examples of missionaries who lived on a mission station near my village.  Since I was a little boy in my village, my life was so deeply marked by the selfless lives of missionaries that I remember promising my parents that I would become a missionary for Jesus Christ when I grew older.  

Raised in this atmosphere, my heart was very receptive to the life transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I was made aware of my sinfulness and need for the Savior at a very young age, but it would take years for this reality to sink in.  For many years I was arrogant, proud and confident in the fact that since I was raised by God-fearing parents and knew a lot of stuff about God and the Christian life I was on my way to heaven. But I was simply wrong because I did not realize that no one can be saved by being born in a certain environment, by being good, or doing good. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness.

The turning point came about when; on September 1, 1991 I heard a clear Gospel presentation from the third chapter of John.  Although I knew the storyline before, I was struck by the fact that if someone as important as Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews and a teacher of Israel, needed to be saved, who was I to think that I could have it easy by being born in a good environment or by adopting a certain lifestyle? That day I repented of sinful, arrogant ways and invited Christ in to be my Savior and Lord.

From that moment on, I began the process maturing in the things of the Lord by studying and meditating upon His Word, seeking fellowship with other believers, and being involved in life of the local church.  I thank God always for sparing me from the life of trouble and regrets, and for the one thing I desire.

 

Delphine Ilunga’s Testimony

A native of Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Delphine was raised in a polygamous and abusive home.  Her father was married to three women who bore him 18 children.  As a child, Delphine remembers many instances of abuse endured by her mother from the father who was a drunkard.  Life at home was not easy for Delphine, but God had good plans for her life.  One of her older sisters married a godly man who accepted to take Delphine in and raise her as her own daughter.  She would spend much of her teenage and young adult life under the guardianship, love, and care of this godly man and her sister.

It was in this environment that after years of teaching and admonition in the ways of the Lord Delphine called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and invited Him in her heart as her only Savior and Lord.  The year was 1995, and she 16 years old when this took place.  By the grace of God, she was able to complete her high school education in 1998.  Upon completing high school, she pursued her dream of become a nurse by enrolling in the college of nursing at the local university.  She was two years along when I came to town and proposed marriage, and her dream was put on hold.

We were married in May of 2002 and began the process of bringing her to the United States, which would take 3 long years!  She finally arrived on the US soil in May of 2005 and we lived happily ever after.  After 13 years of marriage the Lord has blessed us with four precious little boys whom we love very much.  Delphine demonstrated a spirit of love, sacrifice and obedience when she agreed to forsake comfort, security, and opportunities the Unites States of America offer and move back to Africa for the sake of the God’s kingdom.

Delphine is currently a stay-home mom, committed to loving her husband, raising up godly children and discipling young girls, especially orphans, and influencing them to know the Lord and have a chance in life.  She enjoys baking, gardening, spending time with her husband, and the company of other godly women from our local church, and she has not given up on her dream of becoming a nurse.

Delphine’s earnest prayer is for God to use her life as a witness for Jesus Christ to her brothers who have followed in the footsteps of their father by drinking and carrying many marital and extra-marital affairs without realizing how many people they are hurting in the process.  She was filled with joy when, only after a few months after we arrived back in Africa, her father sought forgiveness and confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, without knowing that he would die the following day.  Please pray for Delphine to have the courage to confront her proud brothers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Call to Ministry

Since allowing Jesus Christ to be my Lord in 1991, I have always felt the desire and burden to serve Him, my fellow believers, and the lost.  I have always felt the need to worship Him and follow His commands, to love and be of service to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and to be a witness for Christ to my lost friends and neighbors.  I have always been involved in the life of the local church by teaching Sunday school, leading adult Bible studies and faithfully contributing my time and resources for God’s work to be done and for the local church to fulfill its mission.

But the call to full-time ministry came about in the year 2000. Although I did not have a “burning bush” or “Damascus Road” type of experience, I felt the hand of God heavy upon my shoulders bidding me “follow Him”. I was then employed by the Social Security Administration and stationed in Rockland, Maine. By anyone’s assessment, this was a good job, which gave me a sense of security and guaranteed a good retirement plan and future. The truth is it took me away from total dependence on God as I became more and more self-reliant. Backed up by the number in military service under my belt, I was bound to retire while still young and enjoy the rest of my life as I pleased.  But God has other plans for my life.

            After many years in exile, I returned to my native Congo in May of 2000 to reconnect with my family. Things I saw, heard, and witnessed disturbed me greatly. Like Moses when he witnessed the ill-treatment inflicted on his Hebrew brethren was moved to act in their defense, I was deeply moved and wanted to intervene. Matthew 9:36 came to mind as I saw people “harassed and helpless, like sheep without shepherd, and I became deeply convicted and felt the hand of God upon my life to consider full-time ministry and even possibly return to Africa as a missionary. Upon returning to United States, I shared the burden with my local church pastor, who encouraged greatly.  After consulting with the church leadership team and later bringing it to the attention of the entire congregation, the decision was unanimous that I should pursue God’s calling upon my life.  The first step was to consider theological education in order to be equipped to serve.

The Lord confirmed this was the right move because that fall (2000) I accepted as a student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts and a scholarship was set up and agreed upon by the church leadership and members of the Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church congregation. On September 1st, 2000, I knelt before the congregation; they laid hands upon me, prayed, and sent me off to seminary.

While in seminary, I was mentored by Dr. Tim Tennent, a pastor at heart and a passionate advocate for missions. His zeal and passion for evangelism, discipleship, and missions brushed off on me.  With his guidance I began seeking ways to be involved in training pastors and church leaders who would train others to do the same until Christ returns.  I tapped into a10 course Bible training curriculum put forth by a ministry called “Bible Training Center for Pastors (BTCP), which is designed for training pastors and church leaders in places where there is no easy access to theological education.  In May of 2006 I travelled back to Africa to explore ways of adopting this curriculum and implementing it in Congo and Zambia.  With the blessing from friends and from my local church I went back in May of 2007 and launched the first class with 50 students, most of whom were local church pastors who had little to no theological training.  49 of these students completed the required 520 hours of training, and the number doubled the following year.

In 2010, after much prayer and consideration, my wife, our 3 small children and I boarded a one-way ticket plane headed for Zambia where we are now settled as missionaries for the Lord Jesus Christ.  My main ministry focus is training pastors who can reproduce themselves by training others, but the Lord has brought other like-minded co-laborers along the way and has created other opportunities of serving in the mission field.  Today, in addition to recruiting and training pastors, I am also a faculty member at Central Africa Baptist College and Seminary, and a missionary pastor at Faith Baptist Church of Riverside in Kitwe, Zambia.          

We are grateful to God for the way he has lead us thus far and we are eagerly look forward to how he is going to use us to fulfill his Great Commission on the African continent.

To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise, amen!

Support Allan and Delphine and the Disciple Making Ministry in DRCongo