When forced to leave their home in the Congo, many Free Methodists landed in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania.
The Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania has a population of more than 300,000. In the camp, there are more than 50 FM churches. When communities were forced to leave Congo, the church held them together. The worship location had changed, but keeping the church at the center of their lives is what helped them persevere.
In 2020, Valentin Sikitika, an elder in the Free Methodist Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo, relocated with his family from the refugee camp in Tanzania to Stockholm, Sweden. He chose Sweden as a place to live because, as he said, “We were always taught that Europe was a Christian continent.” In Congo, the church was the center of the community. Valentin says, “When we got here, we realized there weren’t any churches, so we began to pray about how to start a church in the Stockholm area.”
Valentin and other leaders began to pray. By 2021 they decided they should start a church and form the Free Methodist Church in Sweden. The FMC of Sweden was launched in the summer of 2021 during the COVID crisis. Area Director Josúe Fajardo and I attended a service that summer in Stockholm where about 50 were in attendance. We spoke with and prayed with their leaders as they shared a five-year plan to plant churches in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
In a recent call with the leadership team in Sweden, I learned they baptized six people and dedicated eight children in Stockholm and four in Linköping. The church in Stockholm now has more than 90 in regular attendance. Their church-planting efforts have also been blessed, and in the fall of 2021, they launched a second church at Linköping with more than 70 regularly attending.
Now they are praying about moving forward with a third church. Leaders continue to step up and follow the call of God. Europe is beginning to reawaken to the gospel’s message through godly people like Valentin Sikitoka, people obedient to the call of kingdom work regardless of their life situation or where God has placed them. Please pray for wisdom as these leaders continue to follow the call to build God’s kingdom.