Homepage
Home Read stories Africa maps The Project Resources Our Writers News

Daniel Ndoundou
1911 to 1986
Evangelical Church of Congo
Congo (Brazzaville)

Daniel Ndoundou was born on May 11, 1911 at Kindamba, in the region of Madingou, in the French Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). He was born on the Badondo Plateau, which is situated on the border with Zaïre (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). His father, Nsemi Ndoundou, never embraced the Christian faith. His mother, Bouanga, publicly confessed her faith in Christ and became a catechumen. She strove to raise her children in the Christian faith.

Influenced by his mother's faith, young Daniel decided to follow Christ and was baptized on June 6, 1923 in the missionary station of Kingoyi, at the age of twelve.

Daniel studied in the Catholic primary school of Kimbenza (Zaïre, now Democratic Republic of the Congo) from 1922 to 1925 and at the Catholic primary school at Kingoyi (Congo Brazzaville) from 1925 to 1929. To pay for his studies, he worked as a train conductor on the Matadi-Kinshasa railway line in Zaïre. From 1929 to 1930, Daniel attended the Bible school at Mukimbungu (Zaïre).

Daniel heard God's call in 1931 when he was twenty years old. He was persuaded by the Holy Spirit to leave Zaïre where he was working as a train conductor and to go back to his native country (Congo-Brazzaville) to serve the Lord. He started to work as a Bible teacher under the care of the Evangelical Swedish Mission of Ngouedi, going from village to village, and training people in the Christian faith. In that period of his life, he started having dreams and visions in which the Lord asked him to evangelize his people. On November 5, 1931, he had a very important vision in which he saw a throng of people responding to the sound of a bell from heaven. Then the people were divided in two groups, those who were "pure" and those who were "impure." [1]

Ndoundou's spiritual awakening was influenced by the 1921 revival in Zaïre with Simon Kimbangu, which spilled over into Congo Brazzaville between 1922 and 1939. Raymond Buana Kibongui, who later became one of the presidents of the Evangelical Church of Congo, believed that "Daniel Ndoundou is the natural link between 1921 and 1947." [2] Daniel Ndoundou prayed earnestly to God to give him wisdom and prepare him for the task he received in the vision.

From 1933 to 1936, he attended the Undergraduate Bible Seminary of Ngouedi. From 1941 to 1943, he crossed over to Zaïre again to finish his theological training at the Theological Seminary of Kimpese. On June 16, 1945, he was ordained a pastor in Dolisie.

Daniel suffered much misfortune in his family life as he became a widower twice and this brought him much sadness. But he married again in 1954. His wife's name was Mpombo Henriette and she was an elementary school teacher.

In 1947, the charismatic movement in Zaïre was going through hard times with its leader, Simon Kimbangu, in prison. That same year the Swedish Evangelical Mission was experiencing a period of social conflicts between missionaries and Congolese Christians, as well as spiritual dryness. So Swedish missionaries and Congolese seminarians and pastors started to pray for a spiritual revival. On January 19, 1947, God sent an outpouring of his Spirit after a fervent prayer by the seminarian Raymond Buana Kibongui at the Undergraduate Bible Seminary of Ngouedi. Buana had been touched by the Word of God preached by the Swedish pastor John Magnusson from John 3:16. After the sermon, Buana and another person stood up to offer to God an ecstatic prayer. After that prayer, students from different ethnic groups who often despised one another and believed in fetishes, felt compelled to publicly confess their sins and experience the peace and joy of knowing God's forgiveness. While all this was happening, Ndoundou was already serving the church in that area as a pastor.

The spiritual revival which started in Ngouedi spread to other parishes of the Swedish Evangelical Mission throughout the Congo. To prevent a misuse of spiritual gifts and to keep the fire burning, the synod chose Daniel Ndoundou and Raymond Buana Kibongui to be the leaders for the revival. Rapidly, Ndoundou became the most prominent revival leader.

From 1948 on, Ndoundou and three others (André Pandzou, Marie Yengo and Véronique Nsonde) became involved full time in the revival movement. Ndoundou and his team were based in Loutete and Ngouedi. People flocked there from different regions of Congo-Brazzaville and from Zaïre, to seek physical, social, material, and spiritual help. They traveled by foot, train or bus. Ndoundou was widely recognized as a man of God, full of the Holy Spirit. He had a particular gift of pastoral care and he strove to meet people's spiritual and human needs. Daniel Ndoundou exercised the gifts of healing, prophecy, preaching, and speaking in tongues. For example, in 1948, Milandou Simone, whose legs were paralyzed, was healed after Ndoundou prayed for her. [3] He also had a special gift by which he was able to penetrate a person's most secret thoughts.

As an evangelist restlessly seeking the lost for the kingdom of God, Ndoundou preached in almost all the regions of Congo. His programs included the children and the youth for whom he held special sessions. Ndoundou worked ceaselessly for his Lord Jesus Christ, sometimes going without sleep and rest. He was the soul of the revival movement in French Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). His love for Christ and for his fellow human beings pushed him to great sacrifices. Day and night, Daniel Ndoundou received everybody with the same respect, without regards to sex, ethnic group, age or social status. He patiently listened, prayed, and encouraged using God's Word. As Ndoundou always preached unity among Christians from different ethnic groups, he was known by the nickname vukamakanda (unifier of tribes).

In 1955, Ndoundou received an order from God in a vision to invite the Protestant Christians of Congo to a great conference at Kindamba, his birth place, for spiritual edification. The meeting was a great success. From 1955 on, he convened the same conference every two years.

Ndoundou had a clear vision of the country's situation. He prayed for the independence of Congo and for an independent Congolese church, which would nevertheless collaborate with the Swedish churches and missionaries. To prepare Congolese Christians to assume their responsibilities in the church he encouraged agriculture and cattle raising.

Ndoundou used slogans to help the church catch the vision. For example, he used the slogan "Sala-sambila, sambila-sala" (work-pray, pray-work) to encourage people to attain the goal of financial and material autonomy and "Sikama, siama, tatamana, ndungunu" (Wake up, stand firm, persevere, victory) for spiritual revival. Whenever he was speaking he would say the first word of the slogan and the church will recite the rest.

In 1960, he was appointed the national pastor-evangelist of the ECC. He worked as such until his retirement in 1984. In 1961, he became vice president of the ECC.

In 1970, Ndoundou's ministry took an international turn when he traveled to Europe and visited Scandinavian churches. In 1974, The Evangelical Community of Zaïre invited him for an evangelization tour in southern Zaïre .

But Ndoundou had his critics also. Some pastors said that he organized those big meetings out of vanity; others argued that he used religious divination to read people's hearts. However, no matter what motives his opponents may have had, one must recognize that, like any servant of God, Daniel Ndoundou had his own idiosyncrasies and weaknesses.

In 1984, his work took a toll on his health and he had a stroke caused by high blood pressure. His health started declining rapidly. In 1985, he was hospitalized in France at the Hopital de Montferneil (Paris). But on January 6, 1986, he went to be with the Lord.

Daniel Ndoundou was a tremendous tool in God's hand to bring many Congolese to faith in Christ. Though he did not get a graduate degree in theology, Reverend Daniel Ndoundou was a "man after God's own heart." Dr. Efraim Andersson, who was a missionary with the Swedish Evangelical Mission in French Congo from 1929 to 1949 and knew Pastor Ndoundou personally, described him as a man with a "very special gift of touching men's hearts." [4]

In the booklet on the Evangelical Church of Congo published by the youth group of Pointe Noire called Cercle Biblique Evangélique de la Paroisse Tsié-Tsié, Daniel Ndoundou is the only minister portrayed as "a whole symbol of spiritual revival" in the church. [5] He has left a tremendous legacy in the Evangelical Church of Congo.

Médine Moussounga Keener



Notes:

1. Célestin Bissila, Vie du réveil du Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou à la mission de Ngouédi; quel enseignement pour l'Église du 21ème siècle? (Pointe Noire: Éditions LMI, s.d.), 15. 2. Raymond Buana Kibongui, A l'écoute du Saint Esprit (Pointe Noire: Éditions Sueco, 2002), 43. 3. Église Évangélique du Congo, Ngouédi a 60 ans; historique des 90 ans d'évangélisation par la Mission Evangélique Suédoise et l'Église Évangélique du Congo (Pointe Noire: Imprimerie IAD, Congo, 1991), 27. 4. Efraim Andersson, Churches at the Grass-Roots: A Study in Congo-Brazzaville (London: Lutterworth Press, 1968), 75. 5. Église Évangélique du Congo, Connaissances sur l'Église Évangélique du Congo (EEC): de l'arrivée des missionnaires à nos jours, (Pointe Noire: Editions LMI, Congo, 2002), 13.


This article, received in 2005, was researched and written by Dr. Médine Moussounga Keener, adjunct professor at Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.