Missionary Shares Extraordinary Trip in Eastern Congo in New Book

A United Methodist missionary reflects on a 1,000-kilometer journey via bicycle in the eastern Congo in a new biography released by Dog Ear Publishing.

Plainfield, IN, November 29, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Although missionaries were once common in the remote areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when war broke out in the eastern Congo at the end of the twentieth century, missionaries left the country. Having served as a missionary for the United Methodist Church for just a few months in 1997-98 before all missionaries were evacuated from the DRC, the Rev. Bob Walters independently set out in 2010 to again bring a message of hope to the people there. He details his experience in a new book released by Dog Ear Publishing.

As described in “The Last Missionary,” Walters and a team of four Congolese colleagues traveled to villages in the path of the Pan-African war that led to devastation because of the terror of rape and killing of millions of the region’s people. Instead of a Land Rover like his previous trip, Walters travels only with his sturdy bicycle in remote districts in the eastern part of the DRC, starting with a 1,000-kilometer loop south of Kabalo. The mode of transportation seemed fitting: Bicycles are crucial for pastor circuit riders in the DRC, allowing evangelism, pastoral care and church growth.

The slow pace of their trip allows Walters time to think about his own mission work and that of the greater United Methodist community. Although already committed to using practical theology in his mission works vs. dogmatic theology, the importance of listening is emphasized again and again during his latest mission work – not just with the ears but with body and soul.

Along the way he comes to a surprising realization: “When you spend the time up-front in listening and discipline yourself to holding the answers, once the question is determined, you find that the community has had the answer all along. The people just didn’t know they had the answer.”

Just as important, he writes, is letting them know that. “If you are the giver of answers, then when you leave – and you will leave – you take the answers with you. When the community members discover that they know the answers, those answers never leave.”

Switching back and forth between his current trip and memories of previous time spent in the Congo, Walters’ book shares detailed descriptions of both the breathtaking beauty and the incredible need found in the country as well as reflections of the study of mission systems, known as missiology.

Walters’ adjectives flow easily whether he’s talking about the steep ascent – or harrowing descent – down a mountain or the problems posed by typical missionary and patronage attitudes about Africa. In the end, “The Last Missionary” challenges evangelicals – and progressives – who are missionaries and mission volunteers as well as aid workers without religious affiliation to do more listening and less dictating to the brave residents of this warn-torn land.

The Rev. Bob Walters of the United Methodist Church was one of the last colonial missionaries in the Congo, making more than a dozen trips between 1991 and 2015. Walters, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wife, Teri, live in Plainfield, Ind.

For additional information, please visit www.theLastMissionary.com

The Last Missionary
Bob Walters
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-4974-8 172 pages $15.95 US

Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.

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