Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mulungwishi Strategic Plan

The big project that Mulungwishi is working on during this time that we will be there is to develop a strategic plan for the University and Seminary. We hope to provide the structure with which the University and Seminary can craft a plan for the direction and objectives they would like to attain in the next few years.

Others helping in this important effort:

  • Connexio (the Swiss Mission Board)
  • The New Mexico Annual Conference
  • The NorthWest Texas Annual Conference
  • A UMVIM volunteer, 

The important thing is that this will be a Congolese plan and their ideas of what they want to achieve.

As always, your prayers for success at Mulungwishi are welcomed.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our UMVIM status

We will be spending 5 months this year in Congo and Zambia as volunteers with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) program. This is a program under the auspices of the General Board of Global Ministries around the world.

Volunteers can serve from two weeks to 3 years -- depending on the project they are working with. In our case, because we served in this area and these projects for 35 years, we are able to come as go as we like now that we are retired. We see it as a marvelous opportunity to continue to be involved in a new way with the work that has been such a part of our lives.

David will continue to give courses at the Seminary and pastors school. Lori will be teaching the wives of the student pastors and continue the vital nutrition program for children around Mulungwishi.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Homeward bound

We crossed the border today in 1 hour and 10 minutes. It's good to be home.

We will spend a couple of days in Lubumbashi and then go up to Mulungwishi.

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Back to Congo

We made it to Zambia without any problems. Customs just opened one suitcase and passed us on through.

We're getting some work done on the car. We drive up to Congo on Sunday or Monday.

Thanks for the prayers and keep it up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

While we were in the States...

Some have asked what we did during our time back in the states. Here are the big things in our life while we were there...

  • We celebrated a great Thanksgiving with our kids in Southern California. 
  • LEGOLAND, Sea World, and the beach were highlights. 
  • It was also good to reconnect with a number of friends in supporting churches we visited in the area. 
  • Christmas season was in Denver. Jeff's parents, Amber and her fiancĂ©, Travis, were there. 
  • David can see clearly now after cataract surgery at the end of January and beginning of February. 
  • David attended meetings in Stillwater, OK on partnering between Oklahoma State University and the College of Agriculture at the University in Mulungwishi. 
  • We went to Lubbock, TX for a planning meeting for the work teams coming out to Mulungwishi this summer. 
  • By far the biggest blessing was family time. In Seattle, we enjoyed being with Andrew and Judy in their new house. The highlight was Amber and Travis' civil wedding. The religious wedding will take place in September when we get back to the States. We are looking forward to developing a relationship with new family. 
  • Living within a mile and a half of our grandchildren was such a blessing. Hours of grandparent time were precious. Definitely they are missed.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mulungwishi mission news

August and into September found us being very involved with the Kafakumba Pators’ School (Congo version). As you remember, in May, we taught the Kafakumba session in Zambia. The Congo session is done at Mulungwishi during the vacation time so the pastors can occupy the dorms. There were 107 pastors, 20 wives and over 40 kids.

Including the staff, Lori was organizing food for 200 three times a day. Every evening, women were baking 400 roles for the next breakfast. We were humbled to be able to teach them what the Lord had given us. Some of them had travelled for over two weeks to get to us in very difficult conditions.

Determined pastors

One pastor walked over 150 miles to get to a place where he could climb on top of a truck to come the last 250 miles. Can you imagine having to make the trip back once more?  They do this for eight years so they can be ordained. In the mean time, they are serving churches as local pastors in very rural situations binging the light of Jesus Christ. Their level of dedication really touched us. Our graduates have received their appointments and are leaving for their churches.

In one way, we are sad to separate from the friends they have become during the time we were together. On the other hand, they are going out to do what the Lord has called them to do. Be in prayer for them as they start their new ministries, the change of communities and for their children who will be finding new friends and schools.

New students

Our new students are beginning to arrive. The academic year actually begins in mid-October. However, we will be starting to teach them towards the end of September in order to cover courses they should have when we leave in at the end of October. Continuation of our courses will be when we return next May.

D.R. Congo internet problems

By the way ... Sorry for the delay in our blog posts. We have been without internet the whole time we were in Congo; here and there were able to use the phone line for access.

We are sad to report that one of the Kafakumba pastors died on his way home. He was 65 years old. We were touched by his desire to be a pastor at that age.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Mulungwishi news through August

Internet access at Mulungwishi has been spotty, so these blog posts are running a bit behind. Here's the news through August...

Work team visits

One of the joys we have had during this time has been the visit of a work team from the New Mexico and North West Texas Annual Conferences. Rev. Derrell Patterson and Tom Stanton have been here on numerous occasions but the rest of the team were new.

Tom continued with the Kindle project with a focus on the Seminary this time. We are working in conjunction with the General Board of Discipleship to develop a French theological library to download into kindles for use in the Seminaries in French speaking Africa.

Dispensary expansion

Another great focus of the team was the dispensary. Charlie, a surgeon for Lubbock, spent several days with Dr. Alain doing surgery. What a great affirmation for this young doctor who is operating in very difficult conditions. One of Dr. Alain’s dreams is to build a surgery wing for the dispensary. He has put in the foundation and the walls. Chuck, an architect from El Paso, came on board with the plans for making the trusses for the roof.

You should have seen the eagerness of constructions workers so see how he planned and show them the best way it could be done. Within a week the trusses have been put up (the team also left money for the roofing which has been put on since). Bud, also from El Paso, brought his welding skills to teach three persons how they could improve their skills.

The affirmation brought by Chuck and Bud was beyond measure in creating a pride the workers had in themselves and what they can accomplish. It was an experience of empowering at a very personal level. Beautiful to watch!

Seminary course videos

Chuck’s son, Richard (a high school senior) worked with our IT staff on the use of a video camera and editing in order to make DVD’s. This is part of the same initiative with GBOD to provide resources for theological schools in Francophone Africa. Our hope is to make DVD’s of our Mulungwishi Seminary Professors teaching their courses and send them on to other Seminaries as a means of providing a professor to a school that would not be able to have one.

The IT staff real have gotten excited about it and are trying out their filming skills in other venues (e.g. the UMW retreat that took place at Mulungwishi with some 1,000 women who came to pray).

Bishop Bledsoe visits, preaches

Bishop Earl Bledsoe was also part of the team. This was his first visit to this part of the Congo and came to solidify the partnership between his Annual Conferences and that of the South Congo/Zambia Episcopal Area under Bishop Katembo Kainda. Bishop Bledsoe preached the opening of the South Congo Annual Conference.

He also preached the graduation for the Katanga Methodist University at Mulungwishi. It was a real bash. So much joy with over two hundred students graduating in IT, Psychology, Agriculture and of course the Seminary and Women’s School.

It is so beautiful to see people bringing the gifts God has given them and share them with other people. Instead of sitting on the side lines, each one has gotten involved in some way in what our Lord is doing in the earth. It is so good to be a part of it.