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Leadership Training to Transform Africa

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — In Hebrew, shalom means peace. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Shalom University proclaims the Prince of Peace.

The campus itself became a refuge for more than 1,300 people from different warring tribes when civil war broke out in the late 1990s. “This neutrality in the midst of a conflict zone gave the school [then known as Bunia Theological University] credibility to contribute to the peace and reconciliation process,” says University’s Director of Development Ted Witmer, a Crossworld missionary who also teaches Old Testament at Shalom. “The facilities were used to initiate peace agreements, followed by many peace-building workshops.”

As the Congo continues to heal, Shalom University continues to train young people to bring hope to their communities. One former scholar, Isaac Mbabazi, holds a Bachelor of Theology and a Master of Arts in Biblical Theology — both earned at Shalom.

“As a student, it was the custom of the seminary to send students for internships in different local churches,” Isaac says. “For five years, I was in service in my local church, assuming various duties, including leading church services, preaching, teaching, and going on pastoral visits. I enjoyed each of these ministries, and through them I learned many church leadership skills.”

After graduating, Isaac served as a church elder, a Christian radio announcer, and a lecturer at Shalom. In September 2007, Isaac began doctoral studies at The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. This spring, he completes and presents his Ph.D. thesis, “The Significance of Interpersonal Forgiveness in Matthew’s Gospel.” “This is, indeed, a relevant topic for our context in the Congo,” he notes. “The importance of this subject in Matthew carries significant lessons not only in post-civil war DRC, but for Christians in all contexts.”

Upon completion of his studies in the UK, Isaac will join Shalom’s faculty. It is his prayer that God will use him to make a significant contribution to theological education and church leadership in the Congo. “We are training both men and women who will be able to make all nations disciples, in Africa and beyond.”

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