A Congolese couple’s dream of coming to Briercrest College and Seminary is finally a reality.
Ludovick and Violet Musendeka discovered Briercrest over a decade ago when Violet was researching schools from their home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The couple was looking to leave the Congo for the safety of another country.
“(There was) turmoil in the Congo,” Ludovick explained. “It was difficult and painful, but at certain times a decision has to be made. Sometimes for security you have to.”
The Musendeka’s educational goals were put on hold when the couple migrated to Ontario in 2006, where Ludovick served as worship pastor for The Redeemed Christian Church of God in St. Catharines.
Serving in music at the church in St. Catharines was a natural fit for Ludovick.
“From my background in the Congo, music just flows,” he said. “We like singing and we like playing instruments.”
Violet played an important role as well.
“She used to be like my monitor,” Ludovick explained. “Every time after a service she’d be like, ‘That was good, honey,’ or ‘Oh, that was not so good.’ But then one day we went home and she was like, ‘Yeah, honey I think you are doing your job well, but I think it’s better that you just go to school.’”
Ludovick understood that this was to sharpen his skills in an area where he was naturally gifted. He could see similar examples in the Bible.
“David was anointed,” he said. “But God needed to train him to give him the skill. It helped David to go in the presence of kings.”
Violet encouraged Ludovick to consider Briercrest’s music program. He applied and was accepted for the 2011 school year beginning in September. The couple arrived in Caronport in July when Violet was almost eight months pregnant with their first child.
In September Violet gave birth to a healthy baby girl – on Briercrest’s registration day.
“She came after 10 years of trying,” Violet beamed. “She was a great breakthrough.”
Even though many of the transitions were happy ones, the newly arrived students found that so many changes at once was a lot to handle.
“The only people we had around were me and my wife,” Ludovick said as he described adjusting to their newborn in a new community. “It was a challenge – getting to know the people around. School came, the baby came. How do I divide myself? I’d been out of school since 2001.”
With his first semester at Briercrest successfully completed, Ludovick says the experience has already been very valuable.
“I have been transformed,” he exclaimed. “The studies I’ve gone through here – just going to chapel relates back to my spiritual life. I’ve been challenged in a lot of things both in school and out of school. It’s just a great community to live in – great people to have around.”
The music major has plans for how he will use his training.
“I definitely want to continue ministry,” he explained. “I’m also looking at empowering other people (musically). I want to be able to teach back or give back to my community . . . be able to reproduce myself musically.”
Although they don’t have plans to permanently return to the Congo, the Musendekas hope to find ways to use their music training to bless and empower people in their homeland.
“The lifestyle of the people in our country – a lot of kids are affected,” Violet said referring to the children who are often conscripted as soldiers in the Congo. “If given the opportunity it would be a chance to offer and empower them with the gift of music or just an instrument.”
Ludovick knows how important a helping hand can be. Since he grew up in a broken home, his grandmother played a big role in his life.
“My grandma used to take me everywhere,” he said. “She was a strong believer. When she passed I was, ‘Okay, who is going to take me to conference? No one. Who is going to teach me to pray? No one.’ At that time when she passed I went back into the world because I didn’t have any foundation. I didn’t have anybody to be like my anchor.”
Years later when he was at university, his little cousin invited him to go to church with her. He went so that she would stop asking.
“As God would have it, the message on that day was totally on me,” he said. “The pastor was hammer on the nail. He didn’t miss it. So I went home and I was like ‘I think God is talking to me.’”
A friend’s repeating dream of Ludovick’s funeral helped him to fully recommit his life to God.
“That really shook me,” he said. “I went to a pastor and they prayed for me. That’s why I’m here today.”
As the Musendeka’s settle into several years in Caronport for training, they are also accomplishing some personal landmarks. This last December marked the couple’s fifth Christmas away from home and family.
“After spending five years away from family at Christmas this is a special Christmas for us,” Ludovick said as he cradled his three month old daughter. “Because we are family.”