Laban Ministries International

April 2021

 

Dear Ministry Partners,

This year has been one of unpredictability. All of our lives have been disrupted because of COVID. Experiencing a global pandemic was not on anyone’s to do list but, nevertheless, here we are. It seems living with uncertainty is the new norm.

The Smith family has also personally encountered some other unexpected things as well. In late November my dad had a stroke and, while his prognosis is very positive, it did remind us of how quickly life can change.

Molly and I are so grateful to have been able to minister alongside my parents these last six years and especially grateful to have the opportunity to do more together. God has been so gracious in giving us such a strong position for the future work in Congo. I want to personally thank each of you who have financially supported the ministry and enabled us to achieve succession without any crisis or disruption. This is a huge answer to prayer.

One of the other unexpected items this year is how well Laban is doing financially. We did not know how COVID would affect us, but your generosity has ensured a year of growth and impact. We are ahead on salaries, multiplying our livestock through sustainable giving, making improvements to the home we occupy, seeing our churches become self-supported and healthy, graduating Bible school students, and seeing lives change through evangelism and discipleship. While I am thrilled at the year’s results, I do want to share a new challenge to all of us.

This last year we saw incredible fruit from Radio Glory. Although churches were not allowed to meet, people continued to grow through the broadcasts of our radio station. We did not build Radio Glory because we anticipated a global pandemic. We did it knowing it was the most efficient way of reaching more people with the good news of Jesus in our context. Imagine if my parents had not cast that vision? Imagine if the Board of Directors did not affirm it? And then imagine if you had not invested in that vision becoming a reality? No one forced us all to do it. Yet despite the challenges and spiritual adversity, it’s broadcasting today. This is important to remember going forward. When God leads us, regardless of all the uncertainty, we can be certain that His plans are worth following and bleeding for.

Today I want to share a new piece of our future vision with you.

Over the next few years I, along with my parents and the board, want to implement an online Bible school/ministry resource for pastors and ministers. Roads, especially paved ones, are very hard to come by in Congo, but everyone has a cell phone. We’re convinced that rural villages will have internet before they see a paved road. Because of this, we would like to begin planning an online resource/school that all of Africa could access.

Laban has a very deep and rich history of doing ministry in Congo, and we believe that could act as a very valuable resource to encourage and equip many pastors, churches, and believers over the next 50 years.

I genuinely believe Africa is going to play a major part in the future of Christianity. Believers are bold, Spirit-filled, passionate, and fearless. I saw it firsthand last year at the Pastors’ Conference. One of my favorite parts was sitting down with different pastors and asking them about their stories and how God has used them to impact people‘s lives. These men and women are truly worthy of our continued support, and we believe this online resource/school is a great way to start.

So…will you join us in achieving this dream as you have so faithfully done in the past?  We’re asking for prayer as we seek God for the details needed to ensure this tool would be effective for our Congolese family. As we pray and listen, we will inform you of how God is leading us. Thank you again for being incredible partners!

Very warmly,

Jack Smith

 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 



 

Laban Ministries International

March 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

Imagine what your life would be if your world was one of silence. You live in the bush of Congo, Africa. No social media. No TV. No radio. No cell phone. No communication from the outside world. The only news is that of the chatter of village life, including the latest death, scandal, illness, or crisis. You don’t own a car, not even a bike. Getting to the city of Bulungu or Kikwit requires waiting for a truck for hire passing through your town in all likelihood loaded with produce to sell in one of those towns. Otherwise, a truck may not come by for days or weeks. Your world is as limited as the population of your village.

In the wisdom and provision of the Lord in 2003, a 300’ radio tower shipped in 10’ sections, studio equipment, a powerful 18,000 watt diesel generator, and a capable work team made their way to the interior of Africa. And just like that the hum drum and tedium of daily life there is gloriously interrupted with the hope and promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now millions of Congolese can all hear at the same time this life-changing news—in one sweep! Daily preaching and teaching of the Scriptures, Christian music, church services, choirs rendering beautiful songs, and readings from the chronological Bible make it possible for those who do not own a Bible to hear it entirely word for word in one year’s time. Village after village that may or may not have been evangelized by the Laban team, as remote as they may be, are now reachable through the air waves simply by turning Radio Glory on!  What an amazing follow up program!

So many stories and testimonies have sprung up as a result of this amazing tool.  One in particular is that of a local witch doctor whose life was in shambles and thought that gaining more power as a witch doctor was the answer. So he traveled on foot to a large town 200 miles west of his home to seek the advice of a fellow witch doctor.  

Upon his arrival, the demon-worshiping man in whom he confided and pled to share his spirit powers with admitted that he could not help him. He advised him to go back to the mission that was home to Radio Glory because there were thousands listening to the broadcasts. “I don't have that kind of power. It’s right near you. Consult the missionary and ask him how he put up a tower in the bush that speaks to so many people.” The man seeking more demon power walked the 200 miles back home and met with the pastor in his village who had graduated from Laban Bible Institute. That pastor led him to Christ, and his life was changed.

He then traveled from his village the 12 miles to Radio Glory and shared this news with Jim. Eventually, he gave his testimony on Radio Glory and participated in Laban’s evangelism crusades to share how Christ had turned his life right side up. As a result, other witch doctors hearing about his transformed life have turned to Christ. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature."

Take heart dear ones. God is doing amazing things through Radio Glory! You are a part of marriages being restored, depression being lifted, the Word of God being poured out, and the dead coming to life through the quickening of the Holy Spirit! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in this ministry!  Praise God!!!

 

  • Jim and Nancy Smith

 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above: Pastor Ngunga, Pastor Kilasi, Pastor Richard, and Pastor Mboma on Radio Glory

 



 

Laban Ministries International

February 2021

 

Dear Ministry Partners,

Here we are in February already! Thank you all for your prayers and concern for Jim. He is really doing well, progressing with speech and physical therapy, almost to the end of both.  

All is well at the Mission of Nkara-Ewa in Congo. Our staff continue to maintain Laban Bible Institute, the Women’s Literacy School, our little dispensary as it continues to deliver babies and provide basic medical help to the community, Radio Glory and its outreach, and evangelism. Speaking of evangelism, our team recently visited the nearby village of Mbila. Some of you may remember that Mbila was the location of our largest literacy school for the women in our area in 2010-2013. Over 80 women registered. We traveled there 3 times a week for 3 years and saw amazing things happen. A very special group of women dove into their classes and showed that there are some things that are more caught than taught. Evangelism was one of them. They enthusiastically embraced the Evangelism Explosion Program and went from hut to hut in their own village presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their neighbors. The thrill of seeing other women come to Christ lit a fire in their souls, which led them to beg our Evangelistic Dean to participate in evangelism close by Nkara. And they did!

About mid January, one of our earlier graduates of the Bible institute went to be with the Lord.  Pastor Kisina was associate pastor of the church at Mbila. A large crowd gathered to pay their respect. The evangelism team was asked to turn this occasion into an evangelistic outreach. The result was that many made professions of faith and will be able to look back to Pastor Kisina’s funeral as the day they were introduced to Christ.  

In 2021, it is our hearts’ desire to hold a large evangelism crusade in the Bandundu Province. Plans are underway. Four brand new tires have already been purchased for this encounter. We still need some final repairs on the big MAN truck, diesel fuel, and food to take along as the villagers are just trying to survive themselves and cannot afford to provide meals for our pastors and students who will be participating. Will you please join us in prayer for this wonderful opportunity? 

Thank you for your incredible backing!
 

Jim and Nancy Smith

Servants of Christ

 



 

Laban Ministries International

January 2021

Dear Friends,

How we praise our Jehovah-Jireh for His amazing provision during the year of 2020, when we all felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us in so many ways! Your response to the needs of this ministry have been absolutely amazing, and our level of gratitude is over the top. 

Because of your generosity and heartfelt concern for two of our pastors in Congo, Pastors Isaac and Ngunga, whose motorcycles were just plain worn out, we were able to replace them with brand new ones from the city of Kikwit, 60 miles from our mission, plus give them a new helmet and buy insurance and transportation documents required to travel in Congo. We didn’t mention the need Pastor Mboma also had for a motorcycle to make runs to Radio Glory throughout the week for his broadcasting as well as to check up on our nearby churches on a regular basis, but our hearts were very burdened for him as well. And then it happened! The Lord laid this need on someone’s heart, and as of two weeks ago a new motorbike was purchased for him! Thank you, thank you!

The sustainable giving program continues to grow. Purchases of sewing machines, goats, chickens, and pigs have been made this fall as well. All of the rain barrels have been provided and surplus funds from this provision have resulted in bonuses for our 40 member staff. What a wonderful way to end this inexplicable year

of 2020!

We have news to share with you regarding Jim as well. In early December he suffered a minor stroke and was admitted to Vanderbilt hospital for one day. The great news is that he has no paralysis and a wonderful prognosis. Both his speech and physical therapist say he is doing amazingly well. He is currently under the care of a neurologist, cardiologist and endocrinologist. Your prayers for his recovery are coveted.  

We are gently reminded this time of II Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  

 

With grateful hearts,

Jim and Nancy Smith 

 

 

                                                        Pastor Mboma, Pastor Isaac, and Pastor Ngunga all pictured with their new bikes


 

*IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT*

Due to the pandemic, we are saddened to announce that we are postponing the Benefit Dinner until further notice. We will keep you updated with the new date as soon as we know more!
 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 



 

Laban Ministries International

December 2020

Dear Everyone,

As we await the celebration of the spotless Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world to take away our sins, our thoughts are on our staff in Congo, Africa. Many of these men and women live in mud/stick huts with thatched roofs.  Our pastors/professors live in a simple cement block building with a tin roof, provided by Laban Ministries. Either way they live in humble surroundings. They are a hard-working team of individuals who struggle to make ends meet. Much of their pay goes to educate their children, hopefully all the way through university. Free public education is no option.  

When we came back to the States in 1986, “commuting” to the mission field was practically unheard of. Our oldest daughter was ready for college and my parents were ill. We asked the Lord to give us the best of two worlds by allowing us to minister to our kids in the States, as well as taking on the risk of leaving the work in Congo more and more into the hands of national leadership there. We were told, “It will never work.” And though we have had our ups and downs, highs and lows, heartache and heartbreak, we are so glad we obeyed God’s leading. Now some 34 years later, our national staff, by the grace of God, is in a wonderful place of leadership, display of character, and maintaining the work there, some 7,000 miles away! Their job descriptions include director of operations in Congo, pastors of local churches, professors at Laban Bible Institute, dean of academics, dean of evangelism and worship team, head of procurement and cooks for the Bible institute, teachers in the Women’s Literacy School, Radio Glory broadcasters, midwife and head nurse, lab technician, head of youth outreach, captain of the workforce, mason, and carpenter. These 40 men and women are continuing to plow through for eternity in a country with little or no infrastructure, abject poverty, and no health care whatsoever. Yet, they are some of the most spiritually wealthy and beautiful people anywhere on earth.  

We want to do the best we can for them this Christmas and are asking if you can spare a few extra dollars to make sure that happens? Someday they are going to thank you for investing in their lives and in the souls of Congo, and you are going to hear some of the best stories ever told! Thank you for staying with us, for going the extra mile, and for helping to make Jesus famous in the Bandundu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo!

God bless you.  Merry Christmas.  Glory to God in the highest!

*Exciting update: The need for Pastor Isaac’s motorcycle was met today (11/16/20)!!!  Praise God he can get to the village of Nkara in minutes now instead of walking the 6 miles round trip to preach the Gospel and off the trails that are frequented by vipers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Jim and Nancy Smith
 

Upcoming events

  • Semi Annual Benefit Dinner - April 29, 2021 - 6PM

           @ 242 Community Church - Taylor Campus

            24800 Eureka Rd, Taylor MI 48180

 

Tickets are available for $25 at www.hopeforcongo.com on the calendar page.

 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 



 

Laban Ministries International

November 2020


 "The faithful, fervent prayers of a righteous man avail much.” Where would we be without them?  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

These are some results of your prayers and sacrificial giving in 2020:

  • Faithfulness of our wonderful Congolese staff of 40, our unsung heroes

  • A wonderfully successful Pastors’ Conference in February with 200 graduates attending 

  • Safe arrival, time well spent, and departure of Laban board chairman, Jerry Hubbell, Jack Smith, Jim, and Nancy Smith, visiting Congo in Jan-Feb

  • Radio Glory becoming “the church” for village after village, speaking hope and life to the Bandundu Province during lockdown in Congo

  • Deliverance of our people and general area in our part of the bush and much of Congo from the devastations of COVID-19

  • The reopening of Laban Bible Institute and the Women’s Literacy School in October

  • 40 rain barrels for our Congolese staff

  • 4 brand new tires for our Land Cruiser to make runs back and forth to Kikwit for supplies

  • 4 brand new tires for our big MAN truck for upcoming evangelism outreaches

  • Encouragement and sustainability to a people group you will most likely never meet this side of heaven

You have blessed us beyond our expectations!  

As we approach the Christmas season, we ask you to please consider remembering these unsung heroes of the faith in the remote bush of our part of Africa. Two in particular stand out. They are Pastor Isaac and Pastor Ngunga. Pastor Isaac wears many hats. He is Academic Dean of Laban Bible Institute, Director of Evangelism, preacher and minister on Radio Glory, and pastors the Yangalala (rejoicing) Church at the village of Nkara about 3 miles from our mission. He has been walking 6 miles round trip to minister there most Sundays and Wednesdays for years. Would you pray about the purchase of a motorcycle for him to lessen the travel time to and from Nkara as well as to preserve his strength for preaching and teaching there?  

Pastor Ngunga as well has varied responsibilities of preaching on Radio Glory, heading up the worship team for evangelism, keeping the motorcycles we now have in good repair, and making runs to Kikwit when needed to save wear and tear on the Land Cruiser.

His old motorcycle is worn out and needs to be replaced as well. Would you please join us in prayer for a new one? Cost is between $1200-$1500 for each bike.

Some day in heaven we will sit around the Throne and share the profits of ministering together in Congo. Until then, our hearts are filled with thanksgiving for your partnership.  

 

  • Jim and Nancy Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above: Pastor Isaac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured above: Pastor Ngunga


 

Upcoming events

  • Semi Annual Benefit Dinner - April 29, 2021 - 6PM

           @ 242 Community Church - Taylor Campus

              24800 Eureka Rd, Taylor MI 48180

Tickets are available for $25 at www.hopeforcongo.com on the calendar page.

 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 



 

Laban Ministries International

October 2020


 Dear Friends of Laban Ministries,

Thank you for your incredible response to the rain barrels you purchased for our staff. Every needed barrel was supplied and then some, and the left over funds will provide a small bonus for each staff member at Christmas time. In addition, our white Land Cruiser which we use for runs into Kikwit to get supplies for Laban Bible Institute and the Women’s Literacy School now has 4 brand new tires.   And that’s not all. We have a large truck called the MAN, an ideal vehicle to pack up our students and professors/pastors, food, water, and all supplies needed to take on evangelism outreaches. It still has the original tires on it, but just this week, the Lord spoke through a treasured prayer warrior whose friend honored her late father by purchasing 4 new tires for that truck also!  

Due to COVID-19, we have had to put evangelism on hold and close our Bible institute as well as the Women’s Literacy School for the third trimester last April. On October 10th, both schools will resume classes, and with the new tires for the MAN, we can proceed with plans for a major evangelistic outreach next year!  

Jim and I would love to return to Congo next year. Would you please begin praying about that? How wonderful it would be to be there for the evangelism outreach, watch our third year Bible institute students prepare for graduation, renew our relationship with the women in the literacy school, catch up on our national staff, host breakfasts and dinners with meaningful conversations around the table, hear our people pour out their hearts in prayer, laugh and cry together, and just do everyday life.  Their input and perspective are so valued by us, and you know what? We miss them!

Thank you for sustaining this ministry. Thank you for loving the work the Lord has called us to. Thank you for investing in souls in a far away land. This month we celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Laban Ministries, and you have helped make that possible.  

Our eyes are on you, Lord Jesus.

Servants of the Living God,

Jim and Nancy Smith

 

 

 

Upcoming events

  • Save the Date!!

Semi Annual Benefit Dinner - April 29, 2021 - Taylor Michigan

Tickets are available at www.hopeforcongo.com - calendar page

 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

 

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 


 

Laban Ministries International

September 2020


 Dear Friends,

The following is a recent email from Pastor Mboma:

 

Hello Mr. Jim and Mama Nancy,

God has given this pause time and time to return to Him and to trust Him so that we can be happy to share again greetings with you brothers and sisters in Christ in America. We have just to encourage one another and to remember that God sends both happiness and trouble. No one knows what will happen next.  

We praise God who continues to lead us by showing us His everyday love and graces through Jesus. We are doing well at the mission station, and so are all the families here. We hope that the powerful hand of the Lord is upon you brothers and sisters in America. We pray He is protecting you all in this hard time.   

It is really a new beginning in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the reopening of classes and churches. The celebration and the joy to return to the Lord by church meetings are complete.  Through Radio Glory, we could receive and listen to different denominations, multitudes of people testifying how happy they were to hear that the state had decided to reopen churches.  

Here in Congo, we owe you all respect and thanks for your support for fuel, oil, and money to function the radio station. Our radio has been a powerful church, while other churches were closed, where people could hear preaching everyday.  

Thanks for the money for medicines you sent for our sustainable giving projects. Farmers in the region of Sia lost almost all of their cows due to an unknown epidemic. The needs are ongoing here for the vehicles as well. We need rings, bearings, rod and gasket for the MAN vehicle and new tires for the Land Cruisers and front suspension. 

We praise God that he continues to watch over His created universe and every person He has created in His own image, and we have never ceased to pray for you.  

 

A servant of Jesus Christ,

Pastor Mboma Nicolas  




Your donations to sustainable giving are working! 

 

Praying for 4 new tires for this Congo vehicle.


 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

 

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

 

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 


 

Laban Ministries International

August 2020


Great News Everybody!

Pastor Mboma, Director of Operations for Laban Ministries, reports that everything is back in full swing in Congo. This means that...

Churches are now open in the bush as well as in the cities.

Evangelism will soon be resuming.

Our Sunday School children are returning to their classes.

Our dispensary can now hold prenatal care and deliver babies again plus provide lab services to treat malaria, infections, and test for diabetes and other conditions.

We can welcome our Bible institute students back at Nkara in October to finish their final year before graduation in July 2021.

And women in the literacy school will resume classes in October as well. 

We are thrilled to say the least!

Of course, this means we now need to gear up for the fall, which entails buying more fuel to get the big MAN truck out to the sites where the Gospel will be preached, thus facilitating evangelism.

Purchase food in Kikwit to feed our dorm students at the institute as well as make sure each student is provided with pens, pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies.

Send Pastor Kilasi to Kinshasa to buy the needed lab supplies and medicines which cannot be found in the easier accessed city of Kikwit. And enable our women at the literacy school to continue learning the Word of God by supplying their needed notebooks, pens, pencils, cloth for sewing, and flour, milk, salt, sugar, and oil for cooking classes.

This ministry in Africa has been so empowered by your prayers and provision. The rain barrel funds are coming in weekly! Fuel for Radio Glory outreach was purchased last week. $700 for Bibles has come in. All in all, God’s faithfulness and your generosity has once again been displayed. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for praying about the above needs!  

…”Truly, I tell you in so far as you did it for one of the least {in the estimation of men} of these my brethren, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40

 

Expectantly,

Jim and Nancy Smith


 

                 MAN truck in the background, which we use for evangelism.

 

Students of Laban Bible Institute ready to return this fall.

 

Women’s Literacy School classes will pick back up soon!


 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

 

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

 

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598

 


 

Laban Ministries International

July 2020


 Dear Friends, 

All is well in Congo. Covid-19 continues to remain in Kinshasa at a low level without traveling into the interior, and the latest outbreak of Ebola has officially ended, for which we bow our knees and praise our Mighty God! Our staff can now travel into the large city of Kikwit, 60 miles away to pick up funds and supplies, but they are not traveling to Kinshasa at the present time.

Our thoughts continually wing their way to Congo and among those thoughts are some of the daily hardships our people continue to face. One big one is RUNNING WATER. In fact, WATER PERIOD!  Oftentimes, the water source is up to a mile away. There is a way we can bring the water closer to them, and that is by purchasing each one of our staff a rain barrel to place near their home to catch rainwater. It has been a dream of theirs for a long time now to own such a barrel. So, we’re thinking:  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make that basic necessity a reality by or at Christmas time?  

For $50, you can provide a new barrel to a member of our national work staff.  These barrels can be purchased in Kikwit.  Would you consider doing this? If we start now, we can make this a Christmas goal.  

Thank you for remaining our support base through these trying months. We covet your prayers for the ongoing outreaches of the ministry, including Laban Bible Institute, Radio Glory, Evangelism, Women’s Literacy School, and our small dispensary. May the Lord protect your lives and guard your minds with the Word of God by His grace and mercy.  

 

Gratefully,

Jim and Nancy Smith

 

P. S. The dinner benefit originally planned for Oct 1 has now been put on hold until further notice due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 restrictions in Michigan. August newsletter will bring updated information. 




 

Leaders of Laban Ministries in Congo. Please pray for these unsung heroes of the faith.

A rain barrel for each of our staff in Congo. These can be purchased on our website under "Sustainable.” Cost: $50


 

Laban Ministries International

P.O. Box 1712

Columbia, TN 38402

Phone: (313) 516-4883

www.hopeforcongo.com

FB: @labanministries

Email: labancongo@aol.com

 

Support Laban Ministries while you shop on Amazon!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2974598