Childhood Mission Dream Fulfilled

Source: United Methodist News

Rev. César Lodiha Akoka had dreamed since childhood of starting the first Volunteers in Mission club in his home of Kinshasa, Congo. 

One of nine children, Akoka’s parents were active members of their local United Methodist Church where he developed a passion for missions.

As a child, he reflected feeling “passionate about this work [start a Volunteers in Mission club] since it is the only way that we can put love into action.” 

Not feeling a sense of vocational calling to ministry, upon completing high school, Akoka enrolled at the local technical school where he studied general electricity. Active in his local church, Akoka served as youth president, local church secretary and vice president in the East Kinshasa District of the West Congo Conference.

In 2013, he was asked by his pastor to preach a youth Sunday message for the church. Akoka said, “After preaching, I was told that I have God’s calling into pastoral ministry, but I did not want to be a pastor.”

However, fate was pulling Akoka in closer and closer towards vocational ministry. This became especially evident when retired bishop of the Congo Central Conference David Yemba became chancellor of Africa University and informed Akoka he wanted him to study with him at the school located in Mutare, Zimbabwe to become a United Methodist.

“I was speechless. I told my parents and they said if it is really God’s calling, then you go,” Akoka said.

With the support of the West Congo Annual Conference in 2015, Akoka began his studies. “I could not get pocket money from home and I could not afford soap, toothpaste and the basics,” he said. “I was crying and praying in the chapel, asking God why I had all these things in my life.”

Soon afterward, he learned that the university offered assistance to help meet students’ essential needs through the International Grants and Scholarship Program (GRASP) from the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry which he qualified.

Blessed through the program, Akoka made it his mission to help other students learn about the scholarship opportunities through International Grants and Scholarship Program (GRASP).

Joining the university’s Volunteers in Mission club, Akoka was able to connect with students from similar backgrounds to not only help them find assistance but also meet a community of fellow believers.

After graduating, Akoka returned to Kinshasa and formed a Volunteers In Mission Club motivated by his childhood dream and his collegiate experiences. Working with 20 youth and 37 Africa University students,the Volunteers in Mission club coordinates missions programing to orphans, widows and other marginalized people in the community. 

Akoka feels that he has come full circle and is grateful for the opportunities God has afforded him to be able to fulfill his dream.

Source: United Methodist News