We were glad to talk recently with Jean-Pasteur Katavo and Daphrose Muteho, a married couple who have just launched a new youth magazine in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Jean-Pasteur serves as the Christian Education Program Officer for the Baptist Community of Central Africa denomination. With his colleagues, he is designing faith-incentive materials to help make better disciples. Jean-Pasteur has a heart for media and literature ministry and teaches caregivers, church leaders, and community leaders trauma education.
Daphrose is the Executive Director for Gratia Counseling Ministries, which aims to establish a vibrant counseling center at the heart of each of the 21,000 Protestant schools in DRC. She is also the chaplain for one of the largest secondary schools in Goma, Himbi High School. Both Daphrose and Jean-Pasteur attended our LittWorld 2015 and 2018 conferences in Singapore. The two are parents of four boys and three girls.
Tell us about the youth magazine you are launching.
Since 2002, Daphrose has been a high-school chaplain at Himbi High School. Unfortunately, the chaplain is nothing more than a teacher of Christian Religious Education. This reductionist approach helps neither students nor teachers to know the Lord and grow as disciples.
But in March 2008, Daphrose launched the New Approach Redemptive Transformational (NART), and since that time has witnessed new births and transformations at her high school. She is eager to share the message of hope and the stories of transformation with the youth and educators in other schools around the country.
Through LittWorld 2015 and 2018, Daphrose understood that she could fulfill her vision for her nation by creating a youth magazine and sending training teams around DRC to inspire and empower youth chaplains and school principals.
What is the aim of the magazine?
The quarterly magazine is called Changamoto, a Kiswahili word meaning “challenges.” Changamoto is a magazine for DRC high school chaplaincy and was created for youth between 13-20 years of age. Changamoto helps young adults to feel, think, and act biblically, while also addressing issues that educators, parents, ministers, and unschooled peers face on a regular basis.
What is life like for Christians in the DRC? What are some of the challenges both adults and youth are facing?
DRC is a country of many contrasts. It is the world’s strongbox for minerals and other natural resources whose population lives in extreme poverty. For instance, 63.6 percent live below the poverty line on less than US$1/day and 6.7 million people hunger for food. Also, 23 percent of children under the age of 5 and 14 percent of women are underweight. An additional 46 percent have no access to potable water and only 11 percent to electricity.
DRC has been at war since 1993, and more than 6 million people have perished as a result. With more than 150 armed groups in East DRC (including the Islamist ADFs from Uganda and the genocide-perpetrators FDLRs from Rwanda), criminality is high.
Additionally, although 95 percent of Congolese claim to be Christian, DRC is one of the 20 most corrupt countries of the world.
Seventy percent of Congolese are under the age 35, with 70 percent of them going to school. This is a great privilege, because youth are the blood of the nation. However, this favor comes with its consequence: as the youth rise to leadership positions with no good leadership models to follow, the nation suffers from a leadership crisis.
What are some good things God is up to in DRC?
First, God the Creator gave DRC a fertile and rich land and the basic needs of many are satisfied. Second, through much suffering, the Congolese nation is resilient and very much receptive to the gospel. Finally, in the failed State of DRC, the Lord has strengthened His Church—this one is vibrant and present in the social sector of the national life!
Pray for Daphrose and Jean-Pasteur as they seek to raise up a generation of Christians who go deep in their faith and lead like Jesus.
Pray for the students and adults engaging with Changamoto—that they would feel equipped and inspired to be lights in a darkened world.