One special couple we have come to know over the past few years is Gideon and Rachel Mashauri. Their three beautiful little girls enjoy playing with ours. They graduated from Scott before we arrived, but we got to know them through a friend. Now Gideon has recently finished his masters at here at NEGST, and Rachel is finishing up her masters this July, Lord willing. Their story is an amazing testimony of God’s provision and faithfulness in the midst of very difficult circumstances. They are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been a country in terrible conflict for many years. Please pray for them as they have grave concerns for their families back in the DRC and also for their future as they are seeking God’s heart on where to go after Rachel graduates. Below is Gideon’s testimony. Incidentally, the church he mentions at the end is also our church, which we have come to love. Below from left to right are: Rachel, Sarah, Gideon, Deborah, and Abigail.
My name is Gideon Kasereka Mashauri, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, born on 20th October 1978. I am married to Rachel and we are blessed with three daughters, Abigail, Sarah and Deborah. I became a Christian through a spiritual revival in the city of Kiwanja on 24th September, 1993. I began working as a youth counsellor, but my collegues and I came under great persecution from local religious figures who didn’t like the way we taught from the Bible. This was during the time of great instability in Eastern DRC and they told the military that we were actually rebels and sent them to kill us. By God’s grace, one of the soldiers had pity on us and warned us to leave the country. I had to leave behind Rachel, my girldfriend of four years, but we promised that every Friday we would pray and fast for one another. I did not see her again for five years.
I managed to get to Bible College (The International Baptist Seminary of East Africa-The today’s Mount Meru Universiy in Arusha), but couldn’t stay on for more than few months due to lack of funds and because I‘d fled without a Congolese passport. A Tanzanian official there sent me to a refugee camp in Kigoma in Tanzania. There wasn’t enough food in the camp. Five of us men would put our food together to make it stretch further. We’d have a very strong breakfast of porridge, with salt because we couldn’t find sugar. Around 3pm we’d eat Ugali (bread made of corn flour) with bean’s water, which was both lunch and supper. After three difficult months, I met a Congolese lady with her family in the camp who wanted to go to Mozambique. She had money but was crippled, and paid for me to help her with her children in the journey.
Back to the refugee camp
After a long journey, we crossed into Mozambique, where officials and Catholic charity helped us get to the government office in Nampula. The Mozambican government sent us to the Maratane refugee camp, where I spent four years. Life was very hard and most people tried to get ressettled in Canada or the U.S.A., but I would walk far away the bush to meditate and pray, asking God to show me what to do. I wanted to leave the camp and serve Him wherever He might lead me. But God inspired me to start a counselling ministry, assisted by two other Christians, to help the neediest people in the camp. We showed people biblical solutions to their problems. God used me so much to reach those in the camp and I also began to disciple believers and reach out to the Makua people group surrounding the camp. My motto was sharing Christ in both words and deeds. In doing this, I used to divide my monthly food assistance into two, eat half of it and share the half with few identified needy people within the camp and among the makua outside the camp. I got one Christian magazine and found an evangelist from the U.S.A and I wanted to write to him with prayer requests for the refugees. One day I walked about 15 Kms to Nampula city to search for missionaries who would help me post my letters. God helped me to meet missionaries Shawn and Sarah a couple that became great encouragers to me and my ministry. Together we organized seminar for pastors at the refugee camp.
Called to Mission
In an overnight prayer, in 1993, God pointed me to the book of Isaiah as a confirmation of my calling.
Isaiah 55:5, “surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
When Shawn and Sarah went back to the U.S.A., they shared my story to a couple of Christian pyschologists who were touched by God to sponsor my studies at Scott Theological College in Machakos, Kenya. Before starting my theological training, I travelled back to Goma/ Congo for three weeks where after five years apart, Rachel and I were finally married. We then went to Kenya were I earned my undergraduate degree in theology and inter-cultural studies at Scott, and our daughters Abigail and Sarah were born. AIM missionary Georgette Short was my first professor. It was her introduction to Missiology class, and my conversation with her, that made me excited about serving as a missionary.
Before graduation, my wife and I spent six months asking God to lead us where He wanted us to serve Him. In 2011 we talked to my Scott classmate Peter Pharles, a Tanzanian who was leading a new TIMO team to Kondoa- Busi village in Dodoma, in July 2012. He asked if we would serve with them. We felt God had opened this opportunity for us and the TIMO leadership agreed that we should join the team. We spent two and half years serving in a team of two American couples, two American ladies, Peter’s and Ruth, a Tanzanian couple and my family from the DRC. It was a great learning experience for us, learning how to work in unity within diversity. We finished our TIMO contract in December 2014.
My family and I stayed in Arusha and was involved serving with AICT Majengo as we were waiting for the next move.
Back to School at AIU
In 2015, we moved to Kenya where I joined the Africa International University in the Missions Department, where I did my MA in missions (Islamic Emphasis). This being a step of faith, God honored it by supporting my studies until I graduated on 1st July, 2017. My wife who also began her studies by faith in January 2016, is continuing on persuing her MA in Education (Child Development and Family Studies), again by God’s grace she has been in class without interruption. God willing she will graduate in July 2018.
While in Kenya, as students we used to go to Karen Community Church whereby we were just attending the services. I didn’t have any opportunity to minister there. It was in September, 2017, during the missions emphasis month that I began attending Emmanuel Baptist Church which to me is an excellent Church focusing on Christ as the center of all activities.
My local Church in Congo which seconded us to the Africa Inland Church Tanzania (AICT) to serve as missionaries, never communicated with us since that time. Being trained as missionaries we are open to where God is leading us. Our prayer is found in Romans 15: 20, “My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard.”