Mourning a Dear Friend

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I am saddened to have to tell you that our dear friend and colleague, Rene Mbongo, tragically succumbed to COVID complications on Thursday, February 11. He served as our West Africa Area Director for close to 20 years.

I talked with him just 24 hours prior, chatting about the future. Over my years in ministry, I have been to many funerals. People in ministry, workers, and relatives have died or been killed, many due to war or for their faith. Few have passed away from natural causes.

Rene will be missed dearly. Please pray for his wife Faustine and the Mbongo family. Only a small number, mainly close family members, will be allowed at the funeral. We will do all we can to properly care for the family and will visit them as soon as travel is allowed.

During Rene’s time as Area Director for West Africa, he did a fantastic job listening, praying for, supporting, and advocating for local ministries that take the Gospel to the least reached. His work was not limited to West Africa; Rene also traveled to East Africa and even India, enriching the outreach efforts of countless local ministries.

Judging by the many emails I’ve received since his passing to glory, Rene’s ministry was extensive and greatly appreciated by many people, more than I was aware of, well beyond Africa.

Rene is survived by his dear wife, Faustine, their five children, and extended family. Faustine and their youngest son tested positive for COVID-19 but are recovering. The family is still mourning the recent loss of a granddaughter who did not survive surgery a few days after she was born. 

We honor Rene’s memory by a firm commitment to continue Rene’s passion: To take the Gospel to those who have not heard, to extend a helping hand to children and women, and to provide people an opportunity for a better life here and for eternity.

Please pray for Faustine and the rest of Rene’s family during this difficult time and consider supporting them through the memorial fund below.

7 Responses to “Mourning a Dear Friend”

  1. Elaine M Watts

    I received this sad news last week from another mutual friend. I have been and will continue in prayer for Faustine & the family. My husband and I had the blessing of knowing Rene and his work. Our church’s missions team worked with Rene & Parfait when we took a small team to Senegal to make a decision of which village to some alongside and support for 10 years. I also had the continued blessing of seeing Rene & Faustine in Spokane several times after my husband passed away. What a privilege to know them and have them influence my life in such a profound way!! I’m sure there are many who could say the same thing. I can see his smile as I think of him rejoicing in the presence of our Lord!!

  2. Joy Nevin Axelson

    Chère famille Mbongo. Je suis trop triste d’apprendre la nouvelle du décès de notre cher frère. Il a recemment aidé les gens qui essayaient de repandre la Bible d’Étude de Perspectives Africaines en français. Que le Seigneur soit proche de vous et vous soulage pendant cette période difficile.

  3. Judith White

    Having just learned about the passing of Rene Mbongo, I am so saddened by this loss of such a dedicated worker in West Africa for the Lord. I had the privilege of visiting Dakar and MIS with a group of five people from Calvary Baptist Church, NYC in January of 2010 (under the auspices of Partners International). Rene Mbongo and his dear wife, Faustine hosted us for 8 days. Prior to this visit, Rene came to New York in March of 2009 and stayed at our home. We were very blessed to have known him and his family. May the Lord comfort them and give each one courage and strength for the days ahead.

  4. Peggy Arendt Pyle

    Rene Mbongo’s homegoing is received around the world with that bittersweet mix of sadness for our loss and the joy of knowing that he hears the words of our Lord Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt 25:21). Rene became a brother and kindred spirit to my late husband, Phil, as they ministered together to train and equip Christian leaders, even in Timbuktu! From Rene’s ministry, we learned the importance of sharing a transferable message of the Kingdom, one that could be imparted as a “a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor 3). Rene wrote that letter of Kingdom multiplication and friendship on hearts throughout West Africa, East Africa, India, Haiti, and the United States. May God bring comfort and peace to Faustine and the family as they walk through this valley.

  5. Joseph Kenner

    I am saddened by the loss of my dear brother. I was also a member of the team from Calvary Baptist Church (New York City) that had the privilege to be hosted by René and Faustine back in 2010. I thank God for their hospitality, friendship and commitment to seeing the spread of the Gospel in Senegal. I am also grateful that we do not grieve as the world grieves, but we are confident that our brother is now in the presence of his Saviour. Je prie que Dieu réconforte la famille de René Mbongo.

  6. kkmsk1998

    When I first heard about Rene’s passing, I felt as though part of my heart had been torn away. I love Rene and Faustine, and their growing family. My husband and I had the wonderful pleasure of staying with them in Senegal, and having Rene live with us for several months while he studied to perfect his English. We were planning to visit them within the next several months so we could see their new house, could hear the latest stories and meet the people whose lives are being changed. My family will be praying for the Mbongos. May God watch over them, and hold them close to His heart.

  7. Carol Nevin

    Dear Faustine,
    I awakened this morning praying for you as you go forward through the deep sadness of having to reset your mind to your new reality without dear Rene. The first few months are saturated with emotional pain which continues to get processed as you move through the first year of family holidays deeply aware of his absence. .
    While deep sadness permeates our hearts, we also are comforted knowing that Rene is rejoicing in heaven and knowing that the multitude of seeds that he has sown for God in peoples hearts will continue to grow into a bountiful harvest for Gods glory.
    May you feel Gods warm comfort and kind peace each day.
    May God continue to give you and your family His assurance that He will never leave you or forsake you.
    With prayers and gratitude,
    Carol Nevin
    Northbrook, Illinois


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