Pastor Israel began the Ark of the Covenant church in a poor, yet growing, area of Kinsasha, Congo. He began with a few children in a group of local Bible clubs. Soon, parents began to come because of the changes they saw in their children.
Pastor Israel’s greatest burden, however, was in the area of church planting. His own church needed a building but he couldn’t bring himself to concentrate all of their resources upon building a church when there was so much need elsewhere. They decided to formalize a balanced strategy of putting their resources towards church planting, bible school training for future pastors of these church plants, and finally towards their own building fund. Pastor Israel felt strongly that if he prioritized church planting and honored God in this way eventually they would have their own proper church building as a place of worship. With that in mind, they added a third service so that they could put their resources towards their first two priorities of church planting and pastoral leadership training. At the same time they saw a need for education in their neighborhood as the quality of education was lacking. Since they had a large enough piece of property they began a school and started building classrooms with the local resources that they had on hand. The school met a need in the community and grew very quickly. Through the efforts of the school many more people in the neighborhood came to Christ.
Today, under Pastor Israel’s leadership, the Ark of the Covenant has grown to approximately 8,000 in weekly attendance and has planted over 40 churches. Many of these churches have also planted other churches. The elementary and secondary school that they started has grown to an enrollment of 1,000 students. In partnership with the missionary team a bible school training program has been established on the property. It has nearly 200 students attending the main campus and approximately 1,000 students enrolled in extension training centers throughout the country.
The success that pastor Israel had did not come without much trial and suffering. On one particular occasion, a general in the army became very jealous of the large piece of property that belonged to the congregation. The general had Pastor Israel arrested and taken away to a secret place for interrogation in an attempt to intimidate him to give away some of the land. On another occasion, the country was in civil war. As the opposition army marched into town Pastor Israel remained in his office to pray. His office was riddled with bullet holes but no serious damage was done to the church or property. They repaired the church office of all its bullet holes but he didn’t repair the door to his office. He prefers to leave those bullet holes there as a daily reminder to him of the faithfulness of God.