Visiting pastor admires our ‘transparent’ governmentBishop John Bofata told members of the Hudson City Council that he admired their “transparent” way of conducting business when he was invited to briefly address the council at its Sept. 21 meeting.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Bishop John Bofata told members of the Hudson City Council that he admired their “transparent” way of conducting business when he was invited to briefly address the council at its Sept. 21 meeting.
“You guys are blessed. You have a very good nation,” said Bofata, a top leader of a denomination of several hundred churches in The Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa.
Bofata has been staying at the home of Council President Lori Bernard and her husband, Peter, for the past month.
The Bernards and Bofata have a relationship that goes back to a chance meeting in Hudson during the Christmas holiday of 2002 when the pastor came to visit former Hudsonite and True Vine Christian store owner Steve Sautbine.
Bofata wound up staying with the Bernards for part of that visit.
They eventually formed a nonprofit organization, Bethesda Relief International, to aid in Bofata’s ministry to orphans in his home city of Kinshasa.
Peter Bernard, along with fellow members of Hudson’s Harvestime Outreach Church, paid a visit to Bofata in Kinshasa in late 2006. Lori was there in the fall of 2008.
Bofata has reason to admire our democracy.
His own country has been plagued by a five-year war that has led to the deaths of millions of people, mostly through starvation and disease.
“Congo has been one of the deadliest places in the world in terms of war,” Bofata said in an interview with the Star-Observer last week. “We have almost five million people killed. The common denominator is mining.”
He said he didn’t care to get into the politics of the struggle.
According to a BBC News Web site, the fighting has been “fueled by the country’s vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources.”
The BBC said the war is possibly the worst emergency to unfold in Africa in recent decades.
Bofata is raising funds and recruiting workers to build the Wisconsin School on the outskirts of Kinshasa, a city of some 12 million people.
The rock and cement foundation for the school is laid, but progress is slow due to the poverty of the nation.
Besides helping lead his denomination, Communaute Evangelique Du Tabernacles De La Bonne Nouvelle Au Congo, Bofata pastors the Bethesda Church of some 300 members and provides care for some 40 orphans.
He said the Bernards have been literal lifesavers by providing money for vitamins, food, clothing and some schooling for starving children.
“I was impressed by the Pledge of Allegiance,” he said, recalling the Hudson City Council meeting. “One nation, under God, with justice for all … I love that statement. Justice for all.”
God also will bless a nation that declares him as its leader, he said.
“No nation in this world can match the United States in terms of supporting missionaries, supporting churches around the world, supporting the needy,” he added.
Donations for Bofata’s work with orphans and construction of the Wisconsin School can be mailed to Bethesda Relief International, 1509 Laurel Ave., Hudson, WI 54016. You can learn more about the organization online at www.bethesdarelief.org.