by Cal Kierum
This Sunday, Elim is hosting the President of the Congolese Free Church, President Bosokpale. He is speaking at both services. Following the second service, we will host a potluck in his honor where we will have a Q&A time.
Who is this man God has placed in charge of leading His church in the Congo? What follows is a brief biography and his call as God’s man for this hour.
Bosokpale Langbe Pitiago Gratien had finished high school with an emphasis on teaching and was working on his father’s plantation when a friend invited him to an evangelistic rally in a nearby city. An evangelist had come from the US and was holding meetings in English that were being translated into Lingala by a missionary. The message from John 3:16 spoke to him that evening and he gave his life to Christ. Shortly thereafter, he was baptized in a local church.
One day he was introduced to a seminary student and was asked whether he might be interested in attending seminary. Months before, having received a New Testament from his younger brother, the passage in Matthew 19, of giving up everything to follow Jesus and the promise of receiving far more than what he would give up, brought him to the point, following this encounter, to realize that God was in fact calling him into ministry. His father, being both a wealthy politician and large plantation owner however, had other plans and insisted that he not become a pastor. The day following this interaction, his father became severely ill and was taken to Tandala Hospital. After being examined by the doctor and finding that there was nothing wrong with him, he agreed to meet with the hospital chaplain. It became clear to him that God had healed him and soon thereafter he encouraged Bosokpale to attend seminary.
His application was sent in and he was one of four students accepted to attend the seminary in Bangui, Central African Republic. When it came time for them to leave for school however, he received a letter saying that they wanted him to remain at Tandala to be evaluated over the course of the next year because of his recent conversion and non-Christian family background. It was during that year that he met his wife-to-be, Jeanette, and they were married. So, for the next year he taught elementary school at a village near Tandala.
The following year, he reapplied to attend the seminary in Bangui, but again was not accepted. He appealed the decision and even applied at another seminary but was refused there as well. Finally, he was accepted at a seminary in Kinshasa where both he and Nubako Selenga attended as first-year students. He finished seminary in 1991 and returned to work as an assistant pastor and a pastor for 4 years, as a District Superintendent for 18 years, and in 2008 was voted President of the Evangelical Free Church work in Congo.
President Bosokpale gives oversight to the second largest Evangelical Free Church denomination in the world, which currently consists of over 900 churches. He and his wife, Jeanette, have 7 children, with the oldest in college in Kinshasa and the youngest in 2nd grade. This is his first trip to the U.S.A.