Cathy Ashene Troolin: God Be Praised in Congo

Posted on 25. Apr, 2011 by in Uncategorized

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-19-NIV)

Last week a friend from Ghana shared with me a song from the Democratic Republic of Congo that I’ve since been playing over and over again on YouTube. More than anything I’m amazed at how the people of Congo came out in large numbers to sing and praise God despite their pain and suffering, living in a country that has been at war for decades. Yet they can still find it in their hearts to rejoice and praise God. Through this song they have been able to bless, encourage, and witness about God to more than one million people via YouTube! The song is sung in Lingala, one of the languages spoken in the Congo.

When I worked in Congo for six months in 2003, I fell in love with their music and their language. World Vision, a non profit organization, was working in a small town called Beni, in the East of Congo to provide humanitarian relief to people displaced by war. In July of 2003 I got a six month contract to teach English and computer applications to the Congolese staff of World Vision. Beni was a beautiful town with perfect weather, not too hot or too cold, beautiful people and rich fertile land, but sadly devastated by war. I was struck immediately by the people’s generosity and warmth despite their difficult circumstances. Many families had taken in children who had lost their parents and families in the war. They did not know these children but simply took them in because they were in need, never mind that most of these families were themselves struggling to meet basic daily needs.  I was also struck by their beautiful music. It seemed like everyone in Beni was a gifted singer! I attended several different church services over my time there and the worship was amazing. I was challenged by their faith and trust in God. They had a strong belief that God had not abandoned them and would bring peace to their country one day. One could say they found solace in praising and worshiping God. And who better to turn to than God, when all around you is falling apart.

From the little Lingala I picked up, the song in the link below is basically about praising God for who God is, no matter one’s circumstances. The phrase they keep repeating ‘Yahweh Kumama’ means Yahweh be praised. Here is a translation of a few of the words in the song:

Dawn is breaking, wake up! God’s glory is going around the world

The world asks me, where is your God? I say my God deserves to be glorified

I will praise Him with all my strength, Eh Yahweh, eh Yahweh be praised

Let me worship Him with all my strength, be praised my Lord, be praised

You alone are Lord

Look at us sing for you, eh Yahweh

Look at us exalt you, eh Yahweh

Look at us worship you, eh Yahweh

Eh Yahweh, listen to my song today

Eh Yahweh, receive my prayer today

Eh Yahweh, my heart exalts you

Eh Yahweh, you are my God

Jesus, my Jesus, you are my love

Lord Jesus, be praised


Here are a few of the lyrics in Lingala:

Tongo etana butu eyinda eh

Kembo na nzambe etondi mokili iii

Batunaka ngai wapi nzambe na yo

Nzambe na ngai afandi na nkembo

Okumama yahweh eeeh

Eh yahweh eh yahweh kumama (x2)

Na mokilli batunaka ngai wapi nzambe na yo

Nayanoli na lolendo avandi na nkembo

Engambe mobali nzambe oyo azongaka sima te

Tika na netola yo makasi na ngai oh kumama yahweh eeeh

Eh yahweh eh yahweh kumama (x2)

Cathy Ashene Troolin is a graduate student at Ohio State University, studying for her PhD in International and Community Nutrition. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike Troolin. Aside from working on her studies and spending time with Mike, she enjoys planting flowers and working in the yard around her house.


  • Harriet Owino Scott

    I always wonder how it will be in Heaven when we all sing praises to God in different tongues. God must be very creative to make people who are so different in culture and yet one in the spirit. I love the Congolese people. I love their wholehearted praise and worship. May I worship God in spirit and in truth through all circumstances. Thanks Cathy.

  • Scott Omutimba

    Truly amazing how God is so real inspite of the circumstances.I believe their love for God inspires them just to sing and praise Him all the more.Heaven shall surely be wonderful when we can sing and praise our King in His presence.Music is one of the additional treasures of the people of Congo aside from the other natural resources.Cathy you sure have good memories of your time there and i will not mind visiting DRC just to have the same experience.

  • Barbara

    Teach me, O Lord, to rejoice in you always.

  • roland

    God bless you for sharing the lyrics of this song. As you have noticed this song has helped us through all and has kept us focus on the Lord in spite of the circumstances. As a congolese I could not do a better job in translating the lyrics in english. May God bless again.

  • Mokambebake

    None like him, none like him, none like him