There are 200 bicycles stored here in the UMC airplane hanger in the Congolese city of Lubumbashi located in the Southern Congo Episcopal Area.
Two hundred tribal language bibles plus these 200 bikes will soon be shipped to the five annual conferences across this Episcopal Area, the largest in the UMC with one million members.
The bicycles, purchased locally in the Congo, are 50 pound steel, single speed bikes that are THE “workhorse” bike in the Congo! The bicycles will be assembled at the site of the Annual conference, often by the pastors themselves.
The United Methodist Missionary Pilot, Rukang ChiKomb is one of two Bike and Bible Coordinators helping us in this Episcopal Area. Rue handles the physical logistics. His current challenge is finding a truck, at a reasonable price, to deliver bikes to distant areas with poorly maintained roads. Rue also has purchased 200 hard back bibles in 4 tribal languages from the Congolese Bible Society.
It continues to be hard for local pastors to afford bibles. It is not unusual for a village pastor to divide a bible into separate books for use as a “library” among his congregation.
Dr. Kasap Owan is the other coordinator, ensuring good relationships with the Bishop and District Superintendents in the five annual conferences of this Southern Congo Area. Rev. Dr. Kasap is the president of Katanga Methodist University in Mulungwishi where all four UMC Bishops in the Congo received degrees from the School of Theology.