With First Free Rockford’s strong connection to the Congolese church and to Tabitha centers in the capital city of Kinshasa, Christmastime unites us even more.
ReachGlobal missionaries Jim and Ruth Snyder and their family lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1985 to 1996, back when the country was called Zaire. (ReachGlobal is the world mission agency of the Evangelical Free Church of America.) We spoke with Jim via email about his family’s memories of Christmas in the Congo.
From a Nativity play: Herod’s soldiers after receiving the decree from Caesar Augustus. They especially enjoy brandishing the wooden swords. Photos provided by Mike and Julia Anne McCord
Is Christmas a big deal in DRC? It’s a public holiday, right?
Christmas is a VERY big deal. Employers generally give food stuffs (chickens, rice, fish, salt, sugar) to their employees and often have parties in early December which include a meal and the distribution of these. The closer one lives to Kinshasa, the more commercialized it has become. China’s influence (believe it or not) has introduced plastic Christmas trees, lights of all sorts and decorations that are now in many homes and churches. In general, people look forward to the holiday as it affords time off from work and with extended family.