“Galilaya” Church belongs to the 8th Community of the Pentecostal Churches of Central Africa (8th CEPAC) and is one of the many movements that shape the religious landscape in North Kivu´s capital, Goma, a city with 1 million inhabitants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This Nation doesn´t know peace since 1994 when the Rwandan Genocide brought thousands of people into Goma running away from the massacre, creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent time and setting the foundations for the two wars that would tear apart this nation between 1996 and 2002. While peace was sign in 2002 in Pretoria, instability has persisted in the East where armed groups born during the conflict years keep fighting government and UN forces while terrorizing civilians. DRC has an important Christian tradition born during the colonial years. It is estimated that around 90% of 70 millions inhabitants professes the Christian faith. However religious schisms have created an increasing number of religious movements within the Christianity. Pentecostalism is one of those movements.
This renewal movement within Christianity is based on four fundamental beliefs: Salvation, Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing and the Second Coming of Christ. Its Divine Healing that has given this movement such strength in a region punished by war and misery for the last 20 years. Pastors like Moise Munyuabumba, head of the Galilaya Church, promise divine healing to every Congolese that will embrace his faith. Sterility, Mental Traumas, sexual impotence, cancer… many are the illnesses that this Protestant Pastor says he can heal.. This Church reunites a couple of times a week in their praying house to fight evil and seek salvation. Those praying houses are normal houses turn into places of worship; places where Pastor Moise Munyuabumba goes every Saturday to heal those who are in need. These healing sessions are intense. The faithful usually get into trance and sometimes end up having prophecies or speaking unknown languages.
However these Praying Houses have become a public health concern for the Congolese Government. The misconception many Congolese have about physical and mental illness makes them avoid hospitals and go to their nearest praying house. This misconception is based on witchcraft and old beliefs where the source of evil emanates from sorcery or spells. Easy treatable diseases can become lethal because of late diagnosis. People with a burn will rather go to a Praying House than a Hospital. Those who go to hospitals might not find the answers they were looking for and will try their luck with people like Pastor Moise Munyuabumba.
20 years of horrors and the on going conflict in the East have triggered a serious increase of these movements that promise to fill the void major religions can´t. Desperation and fear make many Congolese seek spiritual shelter in “Galilaya” where their physical and mental traumas can be healed through praying. Modern medicine has to face Churches like “Galilaya” who promise divine healing in the third largest country in Africa where life expectancy is 48 and has the lowest rank in the Human Development Report along with Niger.