JB Mangamba remembered as a generous man of prayer
By Connie Faber with files from MB Mission
Jean Baptiste Ndjao Mangamba, a Congolese Mennonite Brethren pastor, educator and MB Mission partner who touched the lives of thousands of people around the world with his faith, joy and perseverance, died Oct. 8 following a diagnosis of liver cancer one month prior to his death.
Mangamba, pictured with his wife, Laure, was an assistant pastor at Paroisse Missionaire De Kintambo in DR Congo. In addition to teaching at the University Centre of Missiology, he was involved in various youth leadership programs. Mangamba hosted and cared for many young adults through MB Mission’s TREK and ACTION programs.
Those who knew JB, as many called him, describe Mangamba as a man who shared his dreams, hopes and passions for families, friends, communities and nations, each of which pointed towards building the Kingdom of God. Mangamba was generous with his time, money, wisdom, and prayer—always helping the least reached.
“Jean-Baptiste was a gentle giant, a man with a big heart and a big laugh; a man who loved Jesus and spoke with assurance of his faith,” says Doug Hiebert, pastor at Cornerstone Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Virgil, Ont., who first met Mangamba in 1996. “Six years later, I visited again and spent a day with JB, who then was married and had a daughter. I’ll never forget how he carried his daughter on his shoulders, atypical in that context. It revealed his love for his daughter.
“The last time I saw JB was in 2010, when he was a pastor, a leader in the Congolese MB conference and a liaison with MB Mission,” says Hiebert. “He was ever humble and patient, still a friend. In his passing, we have lost a great leader and a bright light in the Congolese church. More than that, I have lost a friend.”
Mangamba was known as a man of prayer whose petitions provided healing, comfort and strength. Numerous TREK team members were influenced by Mangamba’s commitment to prayer.
“I remember one morning we met up with JB and he had a very tired look on his face. When we asked him why he was so tired, he told us that he had been praying with a member of his church all throughout the night because they were going through hardship,” says TREK alumni Moses Li. “This has always served as an example to me of God's steadfast and enduring love for us.”
Former TREK member Marina Doane has a similar memory of Mangamba. She adds, “His knowledge of God was deep, and he would often say, ‘I know my God, just pray.’ JB loved the Lord; he was a prayer warrior, a bold and courageous leader.”
MB Mission volunteers were also impressed by Mangamba’s love for his family. “His relationship with Laure, and his kids were a blessing to witness,” says Paul Peters, an ACTION and SOAR Heartland team leader, “and something I strive for in my family when I have one.”
Mangamba is survived by his wife, Laure, and their children: Manuella (11), Hanniel (9), Benjamin (7), Johannie (4), Malika (2), and an unborn child that was due in October.
Friends ask for prayers for the family, residents of one of the poorest countries of the world, who now find themselves in greater need with the passing of their husband and father.
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