Daniel Ndoundou was born on May 1, 1911 in the small town of Kiama, in the district of Mfouati, the department of Bouenza, located on the border between Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo. His father, Nsemi Mboko, was not a Christian. His mother, Bouanga Bua Mboukou, on the other hand, had publicly declared her faith in Jesus Christ and raised her children in the Christian faith. Ndoundou was also very close to his paternal uncle Nsemi Noé, an SMF evangelist, whom he accompanied on his tours. Young Daniel made the decision to follow Jesus Christ and was baptized June 6, 1923 at the Kingoyi mission station, at the age of twelve. It was during this same year that he lost his mother.
Although born in Congo Brazzaville, Ndoundou received his elementary education and pastoral training in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo). This allowed him to know well the French and Belgian colonial policies. Daniel began his studies at the Catholic primary school in Kimbenza from 1922 to 1925, and from 1925 to 1928 at the Catholic primary school in Kingoyi. He then worked as a train controller on the Matadi-Kinshasa railway line (in Zaire). From 1929 to 1930, Daniel studied at the Mukimbungu Bible School in Zaire.
In 1931, when he was twenty years old, Ndoundou Daniel received God’s call. He was convinced by the Holy Spirit to abandon his well-paid job in the Belgian Congo and return to his native region to serve as an evangelist. Back in his own country, he married Charlotte Nsouka who had been baptized the same day with him.
So, he began working as a Bible teacher with the Swedish Evangelical Mission in Ngouédi, going from village to village and teaching the Christian faith. At this time in his life, Ndoundou began to have dreams and visions in which God asked him to evangelize his people. One of his important visions took place November 15, 1931 in Kinzaba. Ndoundou saw a multitude of people responding to the sound of a bell coming from the sky. Then the people were divided into two groups: those who were “clean”; and those who were “unclean.” Here is an excerpt from Ndoundou’s autobiographical notes, quoted by Bertil Ahman:
“In my vision, I saw how the Lord Jesus took my hand, lifted me up, and placed me in the midst of the assembled crowd. When he had placed me there, he said to me: From today, I give you a mission to show people their sins and the path they must take. Look if they choose to go right or left, tell them to choose for themselves the path they want to take. When the Lord told me this, I was able to open my mouth and start talking and showing people how they should prepare for the path they wanted to take.”
From 1933 to 1936, Ndoundou trained as an evangelist at the Seminary of Ngouédi. After his training, Ndoundou continued to work as an evangelist in Ngouédi. He was responsible for 23 villages and was considered a Mvungi (shepherd).
In the midst of his responsibilities, Ndoundou had the joy of becoming the father of a little boy (Alphonse Bondza) in November 1935 and the great sadness of losing his wife in childbirth in 1937. He remarried 3 years later with Nsungi Mickaelle, also from his region. Nsungi had studied at the girls’ school in Kingoyi and was very committed to God’s work with her husband.
From 1941 to 1943, Ndoundou, accompanied by his wife, and Jean Yayaka were sent to Zaire for pastoral training with the School of Pastors and Teachers of Kimpese. Back in Ngouedi, Ndoundou continued his ministry with more responsibilities.
On June 16, 1946, Ndoundou and Yayaka were ordained pastors of the Evangelical Church of Congo in Dolisie. They were part of the second class of pastors of the SFM.
In 1947, the charismatic movement in Zaire was going through a difficult period, especially with the imprisonment of its leader, Simon Kimbangu. During the same year, the Swedish Evangelical Mission faced tensions between foreign missionaries and Congolese Christians, which became a cause of spiritual drought for a time. As a result, Congolese seminarians and Swedish missionaries began to pray for spiritual revival.
On January 19, 1947, God sent his revival at the Seminary of Ngouédi, after the fervent prayer of the student Raymond Buana Kibongui who was touched by the passage of John 3:16, on which the Swedish pastor John Magnusson preached. After the sermon, Buana was the second person to pray. His prayer was followed by sincere repentance; many confessed their sins, abandoned fetishes, and experienced peace and joy that are the results of a personal relationship with God.
The year these events took place at the Ngouédi Seminary, Ndoundou served as a pastor in the region. When Buana Kibongi received a scholarship to Cameroon, and later to France, Ndoundou became “the central figure of the revival.”
The spiritual awakening in Congo Brazzaville with Daniel Ndoundou was like the continuation of the Zairian spiritual awakening of 1921 with Simon Kimbangu. Raymond Bwana Kibongui, who later became one of the presidents of the Evangelical Church of Congo, stated that “Daniel Ndoundou is the normal link between 1921 and 1947.”
The spiritual revival that began in Ngouédi spread to other parishes of the Swedish Evangelical Mission throughout the Congo. From 1947 to 1965, Ndoundou was a member of the Synodal Council. In this role, he was “a link or a bridge” between the missionary work established before the church’s independence, later the Evangelical Church of Congo, and the revival.
From 1948, Daniel Ndoundou, André Pandzou, Marie Yengo and Véronique Nsondé, became full-time workers in the revival movement. Ndoundou and his team made Ngouédi, then Loutété their workplace. People came from different parts of Congo and Zaire for physical, social, material and spiritual help. They traveled on foot, by train or by bus. Ndoundou gained a reputation as a great servant of God, filled with the Holy Spirit. In particular, he moved in the gifts of prophecy, healing, preaching, and tongues. He could also see a person’s most secret thoughts. In 1948, for example, Milandou Simone, paralyzed in both legs, was healed after Pastor Ndoundou prayed for her.
Mbama Eugene is another example to illustrate the power of God through Ndoundou’s ministry. Mbama and his wife had frequent miscarriages. One day, he confided in Pastor Ndoundou, saying, “Dad, I just lost another one of my children.” Ndoundou invited Nsemi Noé, Mbama and his wife for a moment of prayer.
After praying with them, Ndoundou told them that they were going to have five children and he told them they will be named: “Kiminu, Matondo, Zola, Lenvo, and the fifth you will give the name yourself.” Because of the many miscarriages, Mbama’s family and his wife’s family were pushing them to divorce. In fact, the French doctor, Mr. Bourgeois, who had examined his wife at the time, told him that she had a hereditary genetic defect and that he had to divorce her if he wanted to have children. When Mbama told him that he trusted Ndoundou’s prophecy, the doctor laughed at him. This prophecy was fulfilled: over the years, Mbama and his wife had 5 children and they gave them the names that Ndoundou gave them. Mbama concludes his testimony by saying “They are all with me…and none of my children is crippled.”
Ndoundou preached in almost all regions of the Congo. During his spiritual retreats, children and youth were included, as he had special sessions for them. Ndoundou worked non-stop for the Lord Jesus Christ, to the point where sometimes he did not take time for rest. He was the soul of the awakening movement in Congo Brazzaville; he represented its essential unifying force. He received each person with the same respect, without discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnic group, age or social status. He patiently listened to grievances, prayed and encouraged his visitors through the word of God.
In 1951, his second wife, Mickaelle Nsungi, died while Ndoundou was on a pastoral tour. After three years of widowhood, Ndoundou married Henriette Mpombo who was much younger than him.
In 1955, Ndoundou received, in a vision, the divine order to organize a conference for spiritual edification in Kindamba (his birthplace), to which all Congolese Protestant Christians would be invited. The meeting, which lasted a week, was a great success. From that year on, he organized the same conference every two years. Efraim Anderson recounts the 1959 spiritual retreat as follows:
“In 1959 about 12000 participants were counted; they arrived in special trains, in lorries, and on foot… the purpose of the conference is spiritual edification… with the same object in view, special conferences were organized for children and young people, and for bringing Christianity into the life of the family and of the society as a whole.”
The 1963 spiritual retreat of Kindamba, was exceptional because the first president of the independent Republic of Congo, Fulbert Youlou participated. His gracious financial gift fed many participants. During one of the sessions of the retreat, Fulbert Youlou received the following prophetic message, publicly proclaimed by Ndoundou that “his days as president were numbered. A few months later, Youlou was removed from office and exiled.”
Ndoundou was the spiritual advisor for President Massamba-Débat, who traveled from Brazzaville to Ngouedi by car for private conversations with him.
In 1963, Ndoundou was decorated with the Medal of the Congolese Knight of Merit. His education, his various positions within the SMF and the Evangelical Church of Congo (ECC), and his ministry, allowed Ndoundou to have a clear vision of the socio-political, economic and spiritual situation of the country. Already in the 50s and early 60s, he prayed for the independence of Congo and for an independent Congolese church that would continue to collaborate with missionaries and Swedish churches. He encouraged the practice of growing crops and raising livestock among Congolese Christians in order to prepare them to assume their responsibilities for the future independent church.
In 1960, he was appointed the national pastor-evangelist of the Evangelical Church of Congo. He held this position until his retirement in 1984. In 1961 when the ECC was founded, he became its vice-president until 1965. He was increasingly sought after as a preacher in evangelistic campaigns.
Ndoundou established slogans to help the church grasp the vision. For example, he used the slogan “Sala-sambila, sambila-sala” (work-pray, pray-work) to encourage Christians to achieve financial and material autonomy, without neglecting their relationship with the Lord. The slogan “sikama, siama, tatamana, ndungunu” (Wake up! Take courage! Persevere! Victory!) was a call to persevere constantly in their walk with Christ.
Each time he spoke, Ndoundou would say aloud the first word of the slogan and the church would chant the rest.
Ndoundou insisted that the awakening must remain within the ECC; he had no intention of creating a new church, despite internal tensions. His position was supported by a dream in which he saw Simon Kimbangu complain that his disciples did not put Jesus Christ at the center of their movement and that it was a mistake to have founded a church in his name.
In 1970, Ndoundou and his family moved to the town of Loutété where there was a railway station. They lived in the parish compound where Ndoundou received the crowds that arrived constantly. His authority was recognized at the church and national level. He was often consulted for negotiations between different parties. For example, in 1970 in Pointe noire, when young people wanted to use electric guitars in worship, the elders of the parish refused. It took Ndoundou’s intervention for the parish to give permission to the young people to play this kind of music.
He was called “vukamanda”, the reconciler (or unifier) of tribes, because his role as a mediator of conflicts was well known and respected. Ndoundou also preached unity among Christians from different ethnic groups.
Ndoundou’s ministry took an international turn when he traveled to Europe and visited Scandinavian churches (Sweden, Norway and Finland) in 1970. In 1974, the Evangelical Community of Zaire invited him on an evangelization tour to Lower Zaire.
Ndoundou had his critics. One of them was Raymond Buana Kibongui, who was the first to be touched by the spiritual awakening. While Buana was president of the seminary, and Ndoundou the evangelist pastor the following incident took place:
“From the pulpit, Buana said something that Ndoundou could not accept. The informants cannot say exactly what it was, but Ndoundou got up from his bench and the two men approached each other with a threatening attitude. Buana then lost self-control and ran out of the temple. He continued to run in all directions on the trails in the area. Little by little, he calmed down, and in the afternoon, everyone gathered to celebrate a new closing service. At that moment, an act of reconciliation took place and the celebration ended after all in dignity.”
Whatever the motivations behind these criticisms, Ndoundou was a man devoted to the Lord and the people he served, while having his weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.
In 1984, Ndoundou’s health deteriorated following a stroke caused by high blood pressure. In 1985, he went to France for medical care at the Montfermeil Hospital in Paris. But on January 6, 1986, he fell asleep in the Lord.
Ndoundou was a remarkable instrument in God’s hands to bring many Congolese to faith in Christ. Although he did not have a higher theological education, Pastor Daniel Ndoundou was a “man after God’s heart.” Dr. Efraim Andersson, a missionary with the Swedish Evangelical Mission in the French Congo from 1929 to 1949, and who knew Ndoundou personally, describes him as having a very special gift for touching the hearts of men. He says:
“Pastor Ndoundou…possesses a very special gift for pastoral care. In a manner all his own, he can lead men to repentance, to confess their sins, to become converted. In a manner all his own, he can also comfort them and set them on their feet again. Men say that he possesses a gift by which he can penetrate into a man’s most secret purposes. When faced by him, it is better to speak the truth.”
Bertil Ahman summed up Ndoundou’s ministry as follows:
“In his role as pastor and leader of the Revival with his special gifts, he was a builder of bridges between different traditions, different beliefs and different values.”
In the brochure published by the youth group “Cercle Biblique Evangélique de la paroisse Tié-Tsié” in Pointe Noire, on the Evangelical Church of Congo, Daniel Ndoundou is described as being “a symbol of spiritual revival” in the church.
Pastor Daniel Ndoundou has blessed the Evangelical Church of Congo with an impressive spiritual legacy.
Médine Moussounga Keener
- Svenska Missions Förbundet; Swedish Evangelical Mission.
- Bertil Ahman: Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou dirigeant de réveil dans l’église évangélique du Congo, p. 78.
- 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.
- Bertil Ahman : Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou dirigeant de réveil dans l’église évangélique du Congo, p. 80.
- Bertil Ahman : Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou dirigeant de réveil dans l’église évangélique du Congo, p. 85.
- Ibid. p. 85.
- Ibid. p. 85.
- Eglise Évangélique du Congo, Ngouabi 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.
- Interview with Mbama Eugene on Mont Ngouedi TV, under the title “_Révélations chocs : Qui était le Révérend Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou ?””on YouTube, August 18, 2018.
- Efraim Anderson: Churches at the Grass-Roots; A Study in Congo-Brazzaville; Lutterworth Press, 1968, p. 77
- Ibid. p. 77.
- Bertil Ahman: Pastor Daniel Ndoundou, revival leader in the Evangelical Church of Congo, p. 92.
- Ibid. p. 90.
- Bertil Ahman: Pastor Daniel Ndoundou, revival leader in the Evangelical Church of Congo, p. 99.
- Ibid. p. 96.
- Efraim Anderson: Churches at the Grass-Roots; A Study in Congo-Brazzaville; Lutterworth Press, 1968, p. 77.
- Bertil Ahman: Pasteur Daniel Ndoundou dirigeant de réveil dans l’église évangélique du Congo, p. 245.
- Eglise 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), p. 13.
This article, received in 2023, was researched and written by Dr. Médine Moussounga Keener, adjunct professor at Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.