Thursday, June 11, 2015

Past & Future

We want to thank you for your continued and loving support since we retired. As you know we have been returning for 6 months a year to Africa as Volunteers in Mission.

We arrived in Zambia on April --. It was wonderful being met by our Nkonde, our driver through the borders, and our faithful 1998 Toyota pickup. While in Zambia, we were able to obtain our work permit which we had been working on for several months. This now gives us the freedom to work and come and go in Zambia as we need.

The return to Congo was for only two weeks. Rev. Derrell Patterson and Dr. Jimmy Nunn came from the NW Texas Annual Conference in order to launch the strategic plan for the Seminary and University at Mulungwishi. This is a process that will take a number of months. They will have a return visit in August.

We returned to Zambia for the remainder of May and into the first week of June to teach at the Kafakumba Pastors’ School like we did last year. This is similar to our Conference Course of Study with lay pastors coming in for 4 weeks a year over an 8 year period towards ordination. There were some 70 pastors from Zambia and Tanzania. The class discussions were very stimulating in that the students were dealing with real issues that pertained to their ministries.

  • Felix is a first year student. He worked in the tourism industry as a chef and finally as head of food and beverage service at a hotel at Victoria Falls. The Lord has done a real work in his life and he has now moved to northern Zambia where he is being discipled by Dimon, a former student of Kafakumba. 
  • Dimon is the senior pastor of the Solwezi United Methodist Church.  
  • Solwezi is experiencing tremendous growth as a town because of new mines being opened in the area. 
  • Dimon and Felix are taking every advantage to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ in this developing community. Dimon was also at Kafakumba this year as a teacher and interpreter. It is exciting to see those who you have trained now training and mentoring others.
Mulungwishi is our base for the rest of the time. We will continue with the courses that we started last September and October at the Seminary and Women’s School. Lori is also continuing with the nutrition program at the dispensary. This year, Mulungwishi will host Annual Conference the 19th through the 22nd of July. Graduation for the Seminary and University will be on the 25th of July. Dr. Deb Shepherd will be joining the staff for three months (mid-June through mid-September) to help with the development of the strategic plan.

August will have Mulungwishi hosting the Kafakumba Pastors’ School for the month. These will be the Congolese pastors at this session. We estimate some 120 students. Again we will be teaching the pastors and their wives like last year. August will also bring a work team from the New Mexico and NW Texas Annual Conferences to help at the dispensary. The team will include doctors, lab technicians and builders to help us the construction of the new surgery center. We are so grateful for this long standing partnership with these Annual Conferences and churches.

We will be returning to the States at the end of August in order to celebrate our daughter Amber’s wedding to Travis Geer in September. We are looking forward to that event.

Again, we want to thank you for your continued and loving support for us and the Seminary.

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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.