Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 2006

It is amazing how fast this year has past! We began it in Denver with Lori struggling with health issues. Then we were back to Congo, in February, teaching our courses and everything else. We returned to the U.S. in late August, via Switzerland. Now, we have had better than three months of traveling and speaking and hope to be back to Denver for Christmas!! Many, many miles and many, many different beds in our travels! Ha!! It has been good to reconnect with many of you and hope to see more of you in the New Year. Our home assignment will be a split year – 6 months now and 6 more months next Fall. As of now we plan to return to Congo in February. Through this year, we have experienced so many different cultures, such diverse lifestyles and such varieties!!! The one constant through out the diversity has been “family" or "family relationships”. Christmas is about family. It is important and amazing to reflect and meditate about Christmas and how God used a family. When God wanted to send His Son to earth, He had to find a family in which to place Him. Why did God choose a young girl to be the mother of Christ? Why did God choose a carpenter to raise His son? Why did God entrust the raising and care of His Son to a family? How did Mary feel about becoming the mother of the One who would save His people? What were Joseph’s thoughts concerning his responsibility to teach and protect this Child, Lord of the universe? God put all of this in creating a family!!! What about the world and her children? So many children are without parents because of disease and war. In Africa, the extended family takes on the responsibility of those who have lost parents. Many of our Pastor students have several extra children living with them. The tragedy of Africa is that these families are also becoming victims of the devastation that is continuing!! Lubumbashi, (100 miles southeast of us) the city of supposedly one million is now a hurting City of an extra added two million displaced people, with over 75,000 orphans!! A whole generation is disappearing. Grandparents are taking on the responsibility of the children that are left!!! More and more there are children without any family. The Church’s continuing ministry is to be part of the Family for these children!! Because of Christmas, we have become part of God's Family as His children – Heirs in His Kingdom! Wow! God has also put us in families to mirror what family life should be. He has entrusted our sons and daughters to us to raise as His children. We are responsible to our extended families and living out His Love to them. This Christmas, let us celebrate the families God has given us and the amazing world-wide Family of God’s children. Hallelujah!! We are Christmas family! Praise The Lord!! Praise for Christmas!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Life is hard for Congolese

Consider recent news ... As forces loyal to a local general were advancing toward Goma, capital of North Kivu province they fired on UN peacekeepers. The peacekeepers battled back and secured the area. Meanwhile, a volcano has erupted in the Eastern DR Congo. After the recent election, Zambia and DR Congo signed an agreement about repatriating over 50,000 refugees, who had fled from violence in DR Congo. Mass graves have been found in the northeastern DR Congo. Every year, more than one million African newborns die within their first month of life, half with the first 24 hours. Life for the Congolese people is neither secure nor peaceful. The people and the new democratically elected government is in need of prayers.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

WHO: Africa needs health investment

Africa has about 90 percent of the world's Malaria and 60 percent of its HIV cases. A major World Health Organization report says that the cure can only come through urgent investment in lowering both disease and poverty. Without major improvements in health, African countries cannot develop socially or economically, the report says.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mulungwishi mission calendar arrives

2007 calendar coverIt's here! The 2007 Mulungwishi Missions calendar is ready. Photos from recent years adorn each month's calendar. A Bible verse and brief description of the mission area rounds out this precious item. Lori suggested $10 as a price, but I notice that calendars made from photos routinely go for $12 or more. So I'd recommend donating at least $15. That covers costs (printing and binding was not free) and allows a decent amount to help fund the mission. As the cover at left gives you an idea, the calendar features the many faces of the Mulungwishi Mission:

  • Pre-school
  • Elementary School
  • High School
  • Seminary
  • Women's School
  • Katanga Methodist University
  • Master of Leadership Program
  • Health Clinic
  • Nutrition Program
  • Development & agriculture
  • Church life
  • The Persons' extended family

To order the calendars, contact the Persons' U.S. Liaison:

Jeanette Michelin 1230 County Rd., #136 Cheyenne, WY 82009

jjmcmh [at]

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Heavy hearts, but thankful too

Dear Friends, First on our hearts and minds is the news of the untimely death of Dr. Samuel Munene on November 5th. We were all devastated. He had just finished conferring the diplomas to late graduates of the Katanga Methodist University at Mulungwishi when he collapsed. He never regained consciousness. The funeral service was held in Likasi (where he had served as a pastor and professor for the Pastor's School) and he was buried at Mulungwishi. Munene was a great friend, wonderful pastor, professor of New Testament studies and the Academic Dean of the University. In short, he was a man of God. We will all miss his great smile and Christian spirit. Be praying for his family and the Mulungwishi community. Results of the long Congolese election have been announced. Joseph Kabila has been declared the winner. Join with us in prayer that all the parties will accept the results and join together to begin to rebuild the country. This message finds us in Atlanta getting part of our physicals. It is good to stop for a few days after itinerating in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and part of Tennessee. We still have Louisiana, East Texas, and Oklahoma ahead of us before we get back to Denver in the middle of December. All along the way, it has been a blessing to see old friends and meet new ones. We are humbled by the way these churches have partnered with us and the Congolese Church to spread God's Kingdom. We were blessed to have Dr. Kongolo with us for two weeks of the itineration. He had come to the US to participate as one of the Board of Directors of the General Board of Global Ministries meeting in Stamford, CT. His strong witness of Christ in his life and being a product of mission made a strong impression in the churches he shared in. Continue to pray for us as we travel and share the story of Mulungwishi. We also wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your families.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Persons' photos at Cornerstone UMC

Banner presentation at Cornerstone UMCWhen David and Lori visited Cornerstone (UM) Church in Bear, Delaware recently, member and digital photographer Larry Wilder took some photos and posted them to his Picasa Web Albums account on the Web. Then he emailed us. Thanks for the tip about your photos, Larry! Larry reports, "During their seven day October visit to Delaware and Maryland, David, Lori and Dr. Kongolo spoke, collectively, to the Wilmington (DE) District Pastors at Asbury UMC in New Castle, DE and then made personal appearances at Cornerstone and Red Lion UMC of Bear DE, Marshallton UMC of Wilmington DE and St. Marks UMC of Easton MD." The photo album includes:

  • Group shots of David, Lori, the two local ministers, and Dr. Kongolo.
  • David ("Buddy Rich") with a drum set.
  • The Persons presenting Cornerstone with a colorful Congo-made banner.

Cornerstone uses a team of digital photographers, but Larry is the one with the email address.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New: Weather links

We have added under "other links" in the left navigation column a couple of cool web sites to visit for weather in the D.R. Congo ... "Southern Africa - satellite" and "Weather at Likasi". We think you'll find these interesting and help you get a better feel for where the Persons live and carry out their mission. These weather links are, surprisingly, from MSN, not the Weather Channel, my first thought. I find the maps to be easier to look at for us people that are not in the weather business. Also, on the Likasi weather page, you can scroll down and select one of many maps. Several are animated. Other weather links

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Missionary Minute from former student

The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) dedicates part of their web site to "Here I am Lord: Missionary Minutes." You may be interested to read a Missionary Minutes from The Rev. Nkemba Ndjungu, a former student at the seminary in Mulungwishi.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Online interactive maps of the area

You can find a lot of maps available on the web, but most are static images.  A fun way to explore the area around us is to use an interactive map.  You can zoom in or out, and move the map around. Many even offer a satellite view, which looks tremendous. The big players are, of course, Google Maps and Microsoft Live Local.  Here are  a few links to get tou started on your geographical exploration:
Lastly, you may want to check out Google Earth -- if you meet the system requirements to install and use it. Search for Mulungwishi, Democratic Republic Congo. The initial image zooms in too close and is fuzzy, so you'll want to zoom out a bit.  You can add the roads and see the trip from Likasi to Mulungwishi. Or maybe you prefer to start at the province capital, Lubumbashi.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DR Congo in the news

Below are a few recent online articles about the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Stay informed

If you would like to get email updates of news related to the DR Congo, sign up for Google Alerts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

CNN covers Congo conflict

Each night this week on CNN, Anderson Cooper reported on his visit to the conflict-ridden countries of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read the journal entries and watch videos at the Anderson Cooper 360° blog archive for this week.

Monday, July 31, 2006

DR Congo election news

The first presidential and parliamentary elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo were held on July 30th. Here are some related news stories (Reuters reports news from several sources):

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Election day observations

It is the 30th of July. A great day for the Congo. It is election day for the first time in over 30 years. We are in Lubumbashi. Walls and trees are covered with posters for the 32 people running for President. On the national level, there are over 5,000 running for the 500 seats in parliament. Everyone is very excited about the whole process. Registration went on for months. It is an exiting and critical time for the country in which most people want an end to the conflict and to settle down and rebuild the country. There are over 16,000 UN troops on the ground to ensure security. Observers from all over the world are present to oversee the fairness of the election. This is the most expensive and logistically complex election ever carried out in Africa. With over 60,000 polling places in the country the size of the US east of the Mississippi River, it is often very difficult to get to them in the interior. Those conducting to polling places and counting the ballets are given satellite phones and their ballet boxes and have to walk to some places where there are no roads and others have to take canoes. Helicopters are also in use. The count will take at least two weeks. We were hoping to cross the border yesterday to go to Zambia and on to the US to visit our churches. However the border was closed early and so we remained for the election. We will try again tomorrow if the border opens. Things have been very quiet here all day and the election seems to have gone well. Keep praying for the Congo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Information about the DRC

You may find the information linked below of interest in learning more about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  By the way, the country is also listed as DRC, DR Congo, and Congo-Kinshasa depending on the source.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July update from David & Lori

We are sorry that we are so slow in checking in with you. We have been living a whirlwind of work, happenings and health issues and trying to make sense what is God's plan and love through this and hanging on to Him!

So many heartaches

We would like to share first, about how hard these last months have been because of the loss of so many special people in our lives. Even, now, it all seems too much! Just before Easter, Lori's cousin, Don Hutton Jr ( Aunt Joan's oldest son) died suddenly from a heart attack. He was good family man and gifted in business. A week and a half later, we lost one of our favorite "missionary uncles", Marvin Wolford, suddenly, again from heart problems. He was a contemporary of our parents and we both grew up knowing him. He was special and had a great sense of humor. Next week, we lost a fellow missionary, Mark Masters, who had a heart attack in Nepal ( had worked in Zambia some years ago) He was only 43. Two weeks latter, just before graduation, we received word that "Uncle" Ken, another missionary contemporary of our folks, and like one of our parents, had died. We had just been down in Zambia in May, with him and Aunt Lorraine, his son John and Kendra. He was 83 and had been failing and he wanted to die in Africa. We went down to Zambia for Uncle Ken's beautiful 'home-going' celebration but again so aware of all our parents passing. Now, this week we are broken again to hear that Mel Downs, Lynnette's husband (our close friend who does some of our emails connections) passed away. He had had a long two years battling CA. We will miss his compassion, wonderful sense of humor and a beautiful voice. Wow! it has been so hard to say goodbye for this earthly while but we really want you to lift all these precious families up in prayer and we can only say how privileged we were to know them ... what a special part of God's family they were and how many people they touched with their lives.

May: Zambia and Congo

It seems that in between these happenings we continued at Mulungwishi then taught for two weeks, in mid May, at the Kafakumba South Pastors School in Zambia, both to the pastors students and their wives. It was a good experience and a time of sharing. During that time, Lori had malaria, not fun and slowed us down a bit!! Back in Congo, our Seminary had public defenses of the Master's Thesis. Always a good to experience the issues our Congolese pastors our wrestling within the tribal traditions meeting with Christianity. the Gospel has to answer everyone's hearts cry and that means many worldviews!! We are happy to see more and more good mixtures and ways of understanding.

June: Graduation

Then on to the Graduation, June 11, of 9 pastors (undergrad level) and 7 with Master's degree and 17 from the Women's School. Always a miracle! Praise the Lord! and a big celebration! When you say Graduation, it brings about thoughts of all the studies of the year, the time and teaching, the discussions, the sharing and prayers to have the Lord's guidance and grace, the relationships with these families. You watch the graduates go receive their diplomas and your heart is full in thanksgiving for their steps forward into the ministry and for the Lord's keeping! ... always present in this chaotic and unstable country! It is a happy-sad time with the goodbyes. Many of you have been there in supporting them and without your faithfulness these graduations would have a harder time happening. Thank you so much! Now, you must continue to pray as they go out into a very difficult arena of ministry.

Danes, Swiss to redo water supply; Lori gets Malaria

After graduation, as we mentioned above, we went quickly to Zambia for Uncle Ken's funeral and then back to buy supplies in Lubumbashi to prepare for a 15 member Danish-Swiss Team, who have come out to redo our water system at Mulungwishi! Yea! Yea! they are hard at work as we write! During that time and the continuing week Lori was not feeling well, and tested positive at our Clinic for malaria and possible Typhoid fever! Help! So after getting preliminary treatment from our great dispensary nurses, we went on with the preparations. When the Team arrived, we were ready and our great women's cooking crews in place and then we headed down to Lubumbashi this past week to see our friend, Dr. Delgado, (7th Adventist missionary Dr.) Not only did he diagnose Lori with Typhoid Fever, but David also! So! Here we rest, taking our meds and getting some time out! We have been blessed to stay in the home of a friend who is traveling at the moment and it is been a place of peace and quiet!

Pray for recovery, DR Congo elections, those who control wealth

Be in prayer with us as we recover. Also, be in prayer as we close up during this last month in order to come back to the States to visit many of you and your churches. prayers are also needed for the upcoming National election in Congo coming up the 30th of July. This will be the first real election in over 40 years. People are excited about it but there is a great uncertainty and tension about the future. We hope that you were able to read the June 5th issue of Time Magazine which is does a fair job of showing the realities which Congo faces in an article titled, "The Deadliest War in the World". [Time magazine cover]. Pray for those who control large amounts of the wealth around the world, coming out of Congo as without this great mineral wealth there would not be this horror and tension? Continue to pray for so many people, especially women and children living a hellish life caught in the crossfires of greed and power! We know that we serve a God who is faithful, present and provides His grace in every situation! As always, we thank the Lord for your faithful standing with us and your encouragement! We always enjoy hearing from you. We treasure your friendship and being in God's wonderful family with you. We love you.

Monday, June 19, 2006

DRC's heart-rending history

InterAction: American Council for Voluntary International Action has a well-written, heart-rending summary  history of the D.R.Congo since 1994.  You may also want to read:

Friday, June 16, 2006

DRC election-related articles

Here are a couple of links to articles related to the upcoming elections in D.R. Congo:

Saturday, June 10, 2006

BBC's Focus on Africa

Jeff Hoover let us know about some recent stories in the BBC "Focus on Africa" magazine.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

UN Humantiarian Action Plan for DRC

The United Nations launched the 2006 Humanitarian Action Plan for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in February, 2006. Read the UN's report about the statement by Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coodinator.  [IRIN news is produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humatitarian Affairs.]

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Congolese reality a harsh one

"I had never seen a child die of malnutrition, another harsh dose of Congolese reality," said Dr. Robert Bradley. Bradley was one of 17 medical personnel from the western U.S. -- all members of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team that travelled to Mulungwishi in May of 2005. He also praised the value of the weekly nutrition program that Lori Persons runs at the Seminary.

Health conditions in Central Africa

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a Travelers' Health series of pages, including this on on health in Central Africa.  You can get a feel for the conditions there by reading through their description of precautions for travelers.

Congo's problems

James Traub, in his July 3, 2005 article in the NY Times, "The Congo Case", lays out the historical and present political and social problems in the D.R. Congo. He said, "Few Congolese have access to roads, eletricity, clean water, medical care or almost any other public services". The article is very enlightening, including about the UN role in D.R. Congo. [Viewing this article requires a free registration.]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More ways to read these postings

You can always come to this blog's web page to read the posts. That's my personal preference. But if you start subscribing to a "bunch o' blogs", the number of new articles may get large. One way to manage scanning them for what you really want to read is to use a " Feed Reader", which I've mentioned in prior posts. Blog readers (a.k.a. feed readers or RSS readers) come in two basic forms -- web-based and ones installed on your PC. The web-based variety involves setting up an account at Google, Yahoo! or similar wites, then adding blogs to track. You log onto the Web site to see new headlines from the blogs in your list. The local install method gives you a program. When you run the program, many of which look similar to MS Outlook, you "subscribe" to blogs. The program then pulls down information about the blog postings and you read as you like. Here are a few recently touted feed readers (blog readers):

Saturday, April 22, 2006

April update

We pray that you had a wonderful Easter rejoicing in the hope of Christ's resurrection. We came down to Lubumbashi to celebrate with friends. David preached at the Protestant Church for the Police Force. The head Chaplain, Colonel Kalima, is a Mulungwishi graduate. We also celebrated his daughter's wedding. It was especially meaningful in that when we first came to Congo, Kalima and his wife were our students. They had a hard time getting pregnant and the families wanted them to divorce. We were able to get them to an OB-GYN doctor and with a lot of prayer, Lena was conceived. And here she is in her senior year at university and getting married on Easter weekend. What a blessing God is!!! Mulungwishi District happenings When we first got back to Mulungwishi, the District Superintendent came to see me to share what was happening in the District. One particular report was a very strong witness of the grace of our Lord. Pastor Christoph, one of our graduates of 2002 had been sent to Bunkeya. A couple of months ago a girl had been raped and murdered. Two of the three men involved were captured and accused Pastor Christoph of putting them up to it. The DS tried to intervene but the security people were very nasty and arrested Pastor Christoph and accused him of the crime and beat him severely. The DS told them to be careful of how they treated the prisoner, otherwise the same judgment they wanted to dish out would fall upon them. Pastor Christoph was sent to trial some 130 miles away and the two men testified against him. Things really looked bad for him. The DS continued to encourage him and told him to continue to pray. On the third day of the trial, the third person of the group had been caught and he testified as the others had that the pastor was guilty party. That night in his cell, Christoff cried out to God to deliver him. The other prisoner was among the people in his cell. He came to Pastor Christoph during the night to ask or forgiveness for the lies he had been telling in court. Christoph called in another prisoner to witness what this prisoner was saying. The next day this prisoner testified to what he had heard in the cell. The three who had committed the crime confessed that thy had been lying. Christoph was released and came to share his story with the DS. God had come through in his wonderful mercy to save his servant. As a postscript, the head of security in Bunkeya was caught trying to frame a merchant so he could take all his money. He was convicted and is now in prison. This story sounds like a remake of Paul and Silas!!! Settled in We have settled in nicely and have been very busy catching up with the courses that we missed. Lori is feeling better and better. She is experimenting with different foods to see which one's agree with her. Thank you for your continued prayers. Be praying also for the country as it prepares to its first election in many years.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Eastern Congo humanitarian crisis

Afrol news reports that after the huge worldwide response to help tsunami victims, humanitarian aid for Africa has now almost dried up.

"We need money and we need it now," said top UN humanitarian official Jan Egeland. The situation in the eastern part of DR Congo is "the biggest, most neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today," he stated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Other DR Congo photos

The Flickr web site for photo blogs has thousands of photos for public viewing.  You can even search by "tags" -- key words that the person who uploaded the photo added to identify the photo.  I did a search for DR Congo and found some interesting photos of local people.  Below  are a few links. You can investigate photos on your own too, you know.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Living in Katanga

The Methodist Seminary is located in Mulungwishi, which is in Katanga province, Learn more about living in Katanga at the Congo Pages site.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Back to Mulungwishi

We had a good flight out to Africa. We flew on the evening of from Denver to London. There was a seven hour layover before our night flight on to Lusaka Zambia. We arrived at 6:30 AM in Lusaka, cleared customs and met up with Ramses, the driver. John and Kendra Enright, missionaries in Ndola, Zambia, had sent him down with a van to pick us up and bring us to their home. Ndola is near to the Congo border. It was about a 5 hour drive. Lori was pretty pooped out from the trip. Since our Congolese exit visas were about to expire, I left her in Zambia on and took the passports to Congo to get new visas. This was accomplished in one day. I then went on up to Mulungwishi to look over the situation and get my classes started. I then returned to Zambia to pick up Lori. We spent a few more days in Zambia in order to buy supplies for ourselves and the Women's School. Lori also had a couple of days where she was bothered by the pancreatitis that she is getting over. So we have just been taking it easy as we move along. John and Kendra have been so kind in their hospitality. We had a good border crossing into Congo and came to Lubumbashi. We have been getting more supplies and money for the schools at Mulungwishi. People are very happy we are back. We leave today to return to Mulungwishi. Please pray for our settling back in, the catching up with our classes and Lori's continued recovery. We love you all and are so glad that you are on our team.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Photos and slideshow

You can now view the latest photos from Lori and David online as either as a gallery or a slideshow at Flickr:

The above links will always show the latest posting of photos. To see all photos, use the gallery link and check out prior "pages".

Because this photo blog is now available, the same photos previously posted here have been deleted.

African Beat - Feb. 2006

We are sharing our mailing of the African Beat (PDF, 50KB) newsletter electronically now too. If you need it, you can download the free Adobe Reader, which views PDF files.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Heading back to DR Congo

We have received medical clearance for us to return to Congo. We will be flying from Denver to London on Sunday the 26th and arriving in Lusaka, Zambia on the 28th. We will be met by friends who will drive us up to Ndola (near the Congo border) about a 6 hour trip. We will spend a couple of days in Ndola and then drive our car across the border to Lubumbashi and a few days later on to Mulungwishi. We covet your prayers during this next week as we travel. Be in prayer for the long journey, Lori's health as we travel, customs and immigration and settling back into our responsibilities after being away so long.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Feed Reader reviews

You don't really have to come to this web page to read the latest posts. All you have to do is set up to receive the "feed" from this page. OK, OK, so now you're starting to get glassy-eyed and wondering about "feed". Well, a "feed" is the information about a posting here -- the title, date/time, and text of the post. You can access those via a "Feed Reader". Most are free. Once you "subscribe" to a feed, your NewsReader automatically checks for new posts when you open it. Of course, you can still just check back here now and then. cnet has reviews of several feed readers. An executive summary... if you use Internet Explorer, it looks like Pluck is a good one to try. [ Download Pluck ] If you'd like to read blog feeds via a separate web page that collects "feeds" from different blogs for you, try the Google Reader or NewsGator. If you are a FireFox user, you can "drag" a web address for a blog to your bookmark bar and it adds an orange "feed" icon. Clicking on that icon lets you see all current posts for that blog. Internet Explorer 7 is reported to also add this feature.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mulungwishi sunset

David and Lori plan to return to the states in August and "make rounds" to all covenant churches plus others that support them. Meanwhile, if you'd like a "wallpaper" of Mulungwishi station at sunset, click on the photo (which displays the large version), right-click on that large image, and then select "Save as background" (or whatever your browser calls that menu pick).