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Not since the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 China had so many missionaries been killed in a single year as in the Simba Rebellion of 1964 and 1965 in Africa. The terror unleashed on innocent Congolese Christians and western missionaries left thousands dead and even more to suffer from physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives.*
Nineteen men, women and children representing UFM (now Crossworld) lost their lives in the Congo. As the country continued to struggle for its independence from Belgium, rebellions surfaced everywhere, including the city of Stanleyville (now Kisangani). There, missionaries from various organizations were caught between warring factions trying to bring reformation to the country. When the “Simbas” reached KM 8, outside Stanleyville, the missionaries were defenseless hostages against the wrath of anti-foreign sentiment.
Although 19 of our finest lost their lives, many were rescued in Stanleyville, including UFM team leader Al Larson. (He later served as Crossworld’s president for 25 years.) The rescuing team was a CIA-trained unit of Cubans who had escaped Castro’s rule. They were credited with the rescue in November 1964, but only in late September, 2011, in Miami, Florida were they thanked – 47 years later. This NBC clip represents the meeting of some of the Cubans and some of the survivors from those fateful days.
- Read more from this story:
Hostage survivors reunite with the pilot who flew them to safety.
Siblings return to Congo to visit the place where their family was martyred.
- Read about David Tseda, a soldier-turned-disciple-maker in Congo.
- Watch a video about Shalom University, a school training leaders to take the hope of the gospel to their nation.
- Most Congolese Christians lost their Bibles in the Congo war. They long to purchase new ones, but the current cost for one Bible is equivalent to $1,000 — an impossible price for people who make less than that in a year. Give to the Congo Bible Project and help offer Bibles at a dramatically reduced cost.