Joan Busolo, CMS manager in Africa, speaks about her own journey as a disciple of Jesus and how discipleship and peacemaking are intimately linked.
My name is Joan Busolo. I come from a small town in Kenya called Kakamega. My role is manager in Africa for CMS: together with other men and women in Africa who know the value, the worth and the love of Christ coming together to go into these areas of Africa where people do not know about Christ yet, and even those who do have been pulled down by so many other things that they do not even remember that Christ exists and that he loves them.
Isn’t a lot of Africa already Christian?
There is one thing about going to church, and there is the other in living a Christlike life.
So yes, a country like DRC Congo is actually 80 per cent Christian. And you would expect that the love of Christ and the and the lifestyle of the people depicts who Christ is. But that is not the case.
And mainly because of the many challenges that the people in DRC have to contend with. We are looking at conflict, we are looking at poor governance, as some of the core reasons as to why there is a lot of disintegration among the people.
How did you become a disciple of Jesus?
I lived a life in church that was very active but very empty.
A pastor who was just a visiting pastor came to church and we got into a conversation and in the process of my speaking to him, he asked me, “Do you know Christ?”
I said, “Yes, I know Christ.”
And he asked me, “Are you born again?”
I said, “Yeah, I think I am born again.”
“Have you confessed Christ as Lord and Saviour in your life?”
This struck me and I just paused, and I said to myself, “Right, have I really done that?” And so we prayed together.
And he began to tell me a little more about not just doing the routine activities that are about Christ, but taking time to build a relationship. To me, that is what lit the fire. You can just talk to him and listen to him and allow the Spirit of God to grow you into this person that you ought to be.
That began a really exciting, exciting part of the life that I hold on to so dearly today. Nothing can replace it.
What excites you about your new role?
So as I look at the agenda that is ahead with CMS and CMS Africa, I can’t help but think about the book of First Corinthians that talks about the different parts of the body working together each with a responsibility and none greater than the other.
So I’m just excited to begin to see this taking shape in the DRC Congo and in South Sudan, where varied talent, varied understanding, varied levels of expertise put together with high levels of integrity, are just pulling together to each take their position in ensuring that disciples for Christ indeed are sought in the edges.
Tell us about the focus on peacebuilding – and what has that got to do with discipleship?
Now, what CMS is doing when they talk about peacebuilding, they talk about drawing disciples to Christ, to me, answers the command of God that comes to us through Psalm 24, verse 1.
And this says, the Lord, our God tells us that “The Earth is mine. The people in the Earth are mine. The fullness of the Earth is mine.”
And so, in short, he is saying to us, when you live to your fullness, when you are able to do that which honours me, when people are able to look at men and women in DRC, Congo and see a fulfilled people, then this is what glorifies God. This is what honours God.
So God is not honoured by people who are being butchered every other day. God is not honoured by youth who are being forced to carry guns to fight one against the other, just because somebody is commanding them to.
So what then CMS is doing is that it is bringing the consciousness of who God is among the people in DRC and among the people in Africa.
And so when we speak about peacebuilding, peacebuilding is the surface word. But the truth is, it is in this peace that these people will serve God. It is in this peace that these people will honour God. So, yes, the peacebuilding and the actual day to day lifestyle of the people that is fulfilled is God’s command to us about loving one another and loving God.
Why should people support this work?
Any form of giving that will come to us through prayer or any other resource is putting a smile on the face of a child, on the face of a woman, on the face of a man who had totally given up on the worth of living.