In December of 2018, Justin, a Congolese man, entered South County Bible Church in St. Louis, MO. He approached the church’s elders with a question: could they help him minister to widows, orphans, and pastors in his home country? Justin had placed over nine thousand orphans from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in homes. Many orphans in the DRC face isolation, poverty, and malnutrition; many of those that Justin served only ate twice a week. When Samuel Fenton heard Justin’s request, Sam sensed the Lord was directing him to serve in the DRC.
One of Sam’s reoccurring prayers was that God would use him to serve overseas during retirement. He began working with Justin and Victor, one of Samuel’s former students from Nigeria, to serve these children in the DRC. To date, they have protected, fed, and sheltered over 4,300 children. The three of them have made over seven trips to the DRC in the last four years. Through their ministry, many people have been brought back from the brink of starvation.
Moreover, through the work of Sam and his team, over 3,500 Congolese have made professions of faith, and eleven churches have been planted. Pastor’s conferences in key cities have stirred this revival. The most receptive people are the Banyamulenge—they have initiated every pastor’s conference. Justin is a Banyamulenge and held in very high regard. The Banyamulenge are also building a Bible Institute, where they have asked Victor and Sam to teach.
However, their ministry work faces challenges. Areas of eastern DRC are often dangerous—troubled by tribal conflict and land contentions. The Banyamulenge are highly persecuted. In Minembwe, many of their homes have been burned, and their cattle have been stolen. Assaults against Banyamulenge women and killings by rival tribes are common. Yet, God has moved among them.
God’s forgiveness has fueled the Banyamulenge to radical forgiveness—150 pastors and 250 women at conferences have asked God’s help to forgive the tribes persecuting, assaulting, and killing them. God’s message of forgiveness has spread from the conferences to over 100,000 people.
In September 2022, the Banyamulenge welcomed thirteen members of an enemy tribe. Instead of retaliating against these enemy members, the Banyamulenge housed them, fed them, and embraced them as brothers and sisters. Justin, Victor, and Sam believe everyone left rejoicing and trusting in Christ.
Now, Sam and his team are planning an evangelistic event in Minembwe. The thirteen who experienced the Banyamulenge’s love are planning to bring hundreds and thousands from their own tribe to hear God’s radical message of forgiveness, hoping that the gospel will bring peace to the area.
Sam and his team have faced considerable challenges and dangers, yet God has provided superabundantly. Sam says, “I owe a great debt of gratitude to the faculty of DTS, not only for the excellent teaching but for their loving, godly lifestyles. I would never have been able to equip Victor or be able to minister to the profound spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of these dear people without the profound impact that DTS faculty had on my life.
Aubrey Malphur’s class on church planting; the evangelistic preaching internship with Larry Moyer; and all the Systematic Theology, Missions, Greek, Hebrew, Bible Exposition, Preaching, and Church History courses helped me in pastoring and are impacting many pastors and people in Congo now. I would deeply appreciate the prayers of fellow alumni. We have a great God who can use us in all our weakness to bring glory to His name. What a GREAT God we have!”