Friday, March 30, 2007

Back in Congo ...

We are back in Congo after very good trip. We left Denver on the 15th on British Air. The "check in" people were fantastic helping us save 30% on our extra baggage!! After a 7 hour lay over in London the flight to Lusaka was also good. One piece of luggage did not make it and by the time we had filled out all the paper work for the lost luggage, the customs people had left and we just walked through without any hassles. Kabinga, a Zambian colleague working with our friends, the Enrights, met us with the van to drive us to Ndola. Before leaving Lusaka, Lori was able to buy much needed sewing materials for the women’s school. We spent several days on the Copperbelt of Zambia making purchases and our lost bag caught up with us. Our pickup was there waiting for us and on Sunday, we crossed the border. There were hundreds of trucks lined up on the road on the Zambian side (approx 200+) at the border waiting to cross but due to some new regulations in Congo there were many more stuck then usual. It is hard to describe the border and how trucks are parked every which way in the ‘no man’s land’ in between the two posts. These are the trucks that have past one border but waiting for the other to let them through!! There is never a straight line and you ‘zig and zag’ through and actually have to have trucks move to make a way!!! We were able to drive right through the middle of them. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea!! Jean Pierre, our protocol helper was waiting for us and helped us through the border in 20 minutes!! Yea!! You know how much we dislike border crossings!!! We praise the Lord!! We thank you for your many prayers for the travel and all the ‘fun stuff’!! :) In Lubumbashi, we are continually greeted by smiling joyful faces. Friends and church acquaintances are happy to see us back. It is also nice to have warm Congo weather and not more snow as Denver is receiving today!!! :( Last evening while checking our e-mails, we were overwhelmed by the news coming out of Oklahoma. During our itineration in the fall we shared with three churches in the Oklahoma Annual Conference (Ardmore First UMC, Stillwater UMC and Tulsa First UMC) of our need for a new Internet satellite connection at Mulungwishi. The server that we had was from Kinshasa (the capital of Congo, over 1,000 miles away). It has never worked the way the way it was promised and with the distance they have been reluctant to come the 1,000 miles to take care of problems. They have been very negligent for the price that was paid!! :( Five months ago they changed satellites and our antenna was pointed in the wrong direction. The result has been that Mulungwishi has been without Internet connection all these months. Just two weeks ago a technician was sent to make the adjustment. Nothing like a local house call!!! He was never able to make the connection and finally gave up saying that there was nothing he could do and our contract was through. We have been in contact with a couple of other providers here in Lubumbashi and they are ready to come in and provide us with what we need. Lubumbashi is the large city 100 miles south of our station. The problem was the expense of a new system. It has been very difficult for the IT program and for the rest of the University to not have the system running. It is doubly compounded by the fact that that we have taken 52 new students into the computer school this year. Last night when we opened our e-mails, the news from Oklahoma that these three churches (particularly Stillwater) had raised over $18,500 for the new system. Praise the Lord! J What great news we have to bring back to Mulungwishi that the new system will be paid for. What a miraculous and generous God we serve and what a privilege it is to be tied in with God’s people who are so compassionate and giving. We are humbled and just plain spoiled to be a part of this wonderful adventure. Some of you have probably read about fighting in Kinshasa this past week. This was from part of the party of Jean Claude Bemba, the man Kabila defeated for the Presidency. There is still strong feeling in that area that Bemba did not win. We have not had a complete picture of what happened but many people were killed….many innocent by stray bullets. So please keep praying as this country tries to pull together and solve the massive problems of the war and heal the hurt. Continue to pray for us as we travel up to Mulungwishi next week and get back into the swing of the academic year. We are stuck a couple of days here working with finances and supplies ….as always things run slow!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Persons' March news

Dear Friends - Partners with us in Christ, We are preparing to return to Congo. Our Toyota van has seen us through 26 States and some 18,000 miles! We have been encouraged and refreshed during our visits to many of you. Thank you for your welcome and support! Thanksgiving found us with David's brother, John, and his wife Dagmar and their family in Chicago. Christmas was a special time with all our family together and plenty of snow in Denver. Amber was able to fly and be with us again in mid-February. Some of you have asked us "Why are you going back and why do you do this?" We feel that it is a call from the Lord. David remembers during his freshman year of college, feeling the call of God to be in the Lord's service and a call to help bring and make people complete in Christ. He did not know what that meant or how it would work itself out. Lorene also felt a call as she nursed in California, while David was in Viet Nam. When David finished his first Seminary degree, we applied to the GBGM to go to Congo but were refused. We went into the pastorate in Colorado. During that time the Lord worked in our hearts to be willing to go anywhere He lead. Then very early one morning, we received a call, from someone speaking to us in Swahili. It was Bishop Ngoy Wakadillo, of Congo. He wanted to know why we were not in Congo and asked us to come back to Africa to be involved with the growing Church there. God had opened the door for that call some 14 years after we had received it and He is faithful! Congo has gone through many changes since our parents first went in the 1930-40s. Politically and economically it has been a roller-coaster! In our close to 30 years at Mulungwishi we have seen the Church grow and struggle with the country around them. We have celebrated the increased Congolese leadership. We have gone through many different job responsibilities under the Congolese leadership. Our call remains the same, to present each person complete in Christ. The other day, we saw the TV Special on Oprah Winfrey's Dream to build a school for girls in South Africa. We are glad that through her, Bono and others there is now more publicity and an accent is being put on the needs of African children and their future. We also applaud her generosity in making it happen in order to touch the lives of some very needy children. In no way do we want to negate her act of love and compassion but in this letter our purpose is to give credit and applaud so many of you! Similar dreams have been lived out through the United Methodist Church and through you, with very little fanfare, for over 70 years all over Congo! At Mulungwishi gifts from you, over all these years have created schools from Kindergarten, Elementary, High School, a Women's School and now A University! all of these areas touching the lives of hundreds of children and now these schools are directed by the Congolese. We think of Thelma (and the countless others) a widow in a church we served in Colorado, living on a fixed income, giving all she could give to missions. She never had the chance to hug the children she helped support. She will get that chance in eternity! The Lord will also be there celebrating all the hugs! By the Lord's faithfulness you have been faithful! Please continue to support our dream through the scholarship program of the Seminary and the University. We are humbled and thankful to be in partnership with YOU. Several of YOU have been a part of this relationship dating back to our parents. The reality is that YOU are making it possible for us to walk out the call that God has put on our lives and that of our Congolese colleagues. So that is the reason why we return to Congo! Thank you for being faithful and we can Praise the Lord together for who He is and His Faithfulness! Prayer Requests

  • The Church and the ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • The new President, Joseph Kabila and government
  • Specifically the work at Mulungwishi
  • Our family
  • Our preparation and travel
As we continue through this New Year, we ask the Lord to make us all strong and faithful to follow His call. In His Love, David and Lori
IMPORTANT NOTICE! We have changed our way of communicating through email. We will always answer direct e-mails from you. Our satellite system at Mulungwishi has problems now, but we hope to work that out. Until then, we will connect through the Hoovers and Lubumbashi so there maybe a lapse in time. During the last five years of trying to send out a list of over 1300 emails, it became impossible to keep up with the changes! Now, we ask that you visit (or subscribe to) this blog to keep up with us and the ministry in Congo. Through this blog and the web site you will find updates, information, pictures and news articles. You can also order Mulungwishi calendars and cards that contribute to the Seminary.

Headed back to Congo

We leave tomorrow to return to Congo. Be in prayer for us for the next week. We fly first to London where we will have about a seven hour lay over. We then fly on to Lusaka. A vehicle will be waiting for us there to drive us up to the Copperbelt, about a 5 hour trip. Shopping for a couple of days in Zambia wil help us get the supplies we need before driving across the border to Congo. We have so enjoyed seeing so many of you during these last six months. We will be returning at the end of August to continue on with another 6 months of itineration. We are looking forward to seeing those of you we missed at that time. Be praying for us as we travel and settle in to life at Mulungwishi. Love, David & Lori

Thursday, March 01, 2007

News roundup

March prayer focus

During this March, pray for the High School at Mulungwishi. Pray for the principal, faculty, and students. This High School educates 600 students from the region. Program specialties are Education, Math, Physics, and Agriculture. [From the 2007 Mulungwishi calendar. Do you have your copy yet? The beautiful photos are good forever. Request your calendar today!]