By Chadrack Tambwe Londe
United Methodist News Service
It will no longer take the Rev. Okamba Katako two hours by foot to get to new church members in his district in Tunda.
With a new bicycle purchased through support from Crosspoint Church, a multi-campus United Methodist congregation in Northwest Florida,
This is Rev. Victoria Dennis, District Superintendent of the Tappita District in northern region of Liberia. She has been on the road for 6 hours attending to 4 charge conferences within her District. This would not have been possible had the Bike and Bible Ministry not blessed her with a motor bike recently at the 186th Annual Session of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church held in Gbarnga, Bong County, from 4-11 February 2019.
A gift of 25 bicycles to the clergy in Abidjan, means they can evangelize in areas with few or no passable roads, and while they are pedaling, they can “meet the faithful” along the way.
These photos are from Zambia Annual Conference (a country south of the Congo, but a part of the Southern Congo Episcopal Area). Notice the bikes loaded on the large truck headed for the Annual Conference meeting.
Equipped with new motorbikes, 10 rural pastors are conducting vital ministries — delivering messages of hope and even medication — during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bikes, donated by church partners and supporters, offer a safer option for clergy who otherwise would be walking long distances or using public transportation to reach members.
Since the Bikes & Bibles program began three years ago in Sierra Leone, churches have been planted in communities that previously were Muslim or practiced traditional African religions.
In Kortumahun, a new congregation of 70 members worship where there were previously no Christians. In Sembehun, a new congregation of 92 has grown out of a community that had only practiced traditional religion. Gbanahun, which was predominantly Muslim and had a few African traditionalists, now has a Christian congregation of 92. The New York Section of rural Bo City, which started with just 10 members, now has a congregation of 145, said the Rev. Francis Charley, Bo district superintendent.
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.
A motorbike means more to an evangelist in rural Sierra Leone than a way to get from one place to another.
For Hindowa Simbo, a United Methodist circuit minister in the remote Mondema Circuit of the Kenema District in eastern Sierra Leone, a motorbike means a revitalized ministry, easier and faster communication with local churches, savings of money and time and more frequent connections with his congregations.
Table with bibles in local language distributed to the district superintendents for delivery to their pastors. Bishop John Innis prays over the bible distribution and the bike distribution. Also, the white packages are boxes of 4 bicycles each to be carried by the district superintendents to rural areas. There is a picture of an assembled bike as an example.