Bishop William Bahemuka works to build the Kingdom of GodJulie Smith
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thousands of people who have been traumatized by war and displaced from their home have fled to the town of Bunia. Their feelings of anxiety, fear, and helplessness are things that Bishop William Bahemuka, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Boga, has also experienced. That’s why he’s determined to bring strength, hope, and love to these Internally Displaced People (IDPs) through the saving power of God and His church.
“I was born and grew up in Boga, which is a very small village in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” says Bishop. “I was the oldest of 13 siblings and suffered from terrible asthma as a child. Since I was so weak and frail, I couldn’t defend myself, so I grew up being a friend to everyone and developing my brain at school so that no one could bully or beat me. I was always the top student in my class, and eventually, in the entire school. That weakness I experienced in childhood developed my natural instinct to survive, which has become a big asset in my life.”
Bishop credits the concern, love, and care he received from his family, especially his father, for making him who is he today. “Child mortality was high at that time, so my father took me to hospitals and gave me all sorts of medication to try and heal me. He also took me to church all the time, and since we had no library, the Bible was the only book we had in our home. Every story amazed me and inspired me to value my life and what comes after. My childhood reflects how important it is for kids to be nurtured and developed by the love and care that starts with family, for the Kingdom of God is theirs.”
In Bunia, Bishop has been moving his church to open its eyes to the current situation of children. “In the midst of war and fighting, I asked, ‘what can we do as a church to end suffering for children and families who can’t get food, education, or health care?’ I appreciate the partnership with GO Project because they support the church. This is so important because children look to God and His church to provide. Father’s Family is our first church-owned program, and we’ve had a good experience with it in Bunia. We plan to move the program to other places within the Diocese.”
In June 2021, the Ituri vice-governor learned about the work of Bishop’s church in serving displaced families. The government leader was so impressed with the church’s humble way of working to create a big impact that he donated $30,000 to further the church’s work in meeting the needs of vulnerable families in the Boga region.
A healthy society in the DRC is needed, and Bishop believes the key to achieving that is with healthy children and families. “I see what God is doing through our work with children. Some have developed their talents and skills and found their calling in life. We have grown from assisting children to families and the whole community. People are coming to hear and see what we are doing. We have a great future and will continue to lift up and empower God’s children to grow.”
We thank God for amazing partners like Bishop William Bahemuka, and we pray that He will bring peace to the country.