Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A little history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), formerly Zaïre, is a nation located in Central Africa, with a short Atlantic coastline (37 km). It is the third largest country in Africa by area after Sudan and Algeria and the 12th largest in the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo – with its population of nearly 71 million, – is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country. There are 221 languages spoken in the D.R. Congo.

The D.R.Congo Lubumbashi Mission is the eastern third of the nation. It covers millions of area miles.  The Mission Office is located in the city of Lubumashi which sits in the little pan handle on the bottom right. The D.R.Congo Kinshasa Mission is on the western third of the nation. Their Mission Office sits just inside the panhandle on the left.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be a great blessing to this nation, as it is in any nation that will accept it.  We attend branches and wards each week that are strong.  The members are great scholars. They study their scriptures very seriously! If you saw their ragged and well used scriptures and then watched how quickly they use them and quote them, you would see that they are setting up a legacy for their own families.  They have many children. Their sacrament meetings are taken very seriously even by the children.  Most of the youth, including young women, are planning to be missionaries.

Currently, our mission has been opened for just over 2 months.  We have 58 young native missionaries (4 are sister missionaries). There are only three couples currently serving in this mission.  We have 20 native missionaries coming in 2 weeks, with about 20 more coming in Nov. and then about 20 more in Dec. All of them are going through training in the Ghana MTC.

This nation is often referred to as DR Congo, DROC, DRC, or RDC (from its French abbreviation), or is called Congo-Kinshasa after the capital of Kinshasa (in contrast to Congo-Brazzaville for its neighbor). It also borders the Central African Republic and Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east.  The country enjoys access to the ocean through a 40-kilometre (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly nine-kilometer-wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zaire.

The history of this nation is extremely sad.  They are naturally a very peaceful people, non-aggressive. When other nations found of it's wealth in ores, mining, and diamonds in the early 1900s, they exploited the country in evil ways.  When the Belgians came into the country under Leopold II, huge groups of native Africans were taken and forced, through terrible acts to be "soldiers" for them.  Trust in people generally disintegrated.

Since then, there have been many intertribal wars and they continue.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War". Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. The war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people. 

 Citizens of the DRC are currently among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal GDP per capita.  Yet, they are survivalist!  They recycle like no other people. They are not wasteful.  They use only what they need.  They use it up and wear it out. They love and cherish their families. They are mostly a happy people, especially when they find the gospel of Jesus Christ.


  1. Great information. Thank you.

    Marianne and her family in Omaha will soon be moving here to the Salt Lake area. Her husband Daryl was offered a job by G.E. Health Care housed at the Intermountain Hospital in Murray. They are coming next week to look for a home. He starts work on Sept. 27. We are excited to have them close.

  2. Wow, thank you for the history! I didn't know much about the DRC but now I do! It looks like you are teaching some wonderful people. Love you both!