It all began in 1945. After World War II, the Abe and Mary Kroeker left with their family to start “Matende,” a new mission station built in the grassland in the rural area outside the capital city, Kinshasa. Mary began the first school at Matende that same year. Strategically located to serve many surrounding villages, the mission station grew and functioned as a center for many vital services well into the 1960s.

Attacks of 1964

Independence marked the beginning of instability and fighting in this immense country. Near Kikwit, the closest city to Matende, the first rebel attacks took place in the night of December 31, 1963 through the next day, January 1, 1964.

The objective of these attacks was to destroy all that could refer to the authority of the Western culture. The rebels achieved their aim by removing all government workers and Congolese intellectuals, and by plundering infrastructures such as schools and churches. All white people—including the missionaries—were driven out, humiliated or assassinated.

For several decades, this area was forgotten by the ruling authorities and was marked by political or tribal wars.


Two important things changed in the last few years. First, the people testify that they live in peace today in a stable area. In addition, thanks to a strong work ethic that led to the rebuilding of bridges and of Main Road 1, the area is again accessible. The rebuilding can begin.