Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas message

We are happily planning for our family being together at Christmas. Michelle and Jeff are here in the Denver area. Andrew has just flown back from Australia. Amber will be flying in from Seattle. Jeff’s parents are driving from Illinois and his brothers Dustin and Brian and sister in law Saka live here in Colorado.

In 1990 the Christmas pageant put on by the high schoolers on our mission station of Mulungwishi ended with the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem. It was a particularly poignant political statement since that year General Mobutu, the military dictator, had had killed over 300 university students in a neighboring city. This perspective, of suffering linked with Christmas, is the other side of the coin from niceties that we decorate our Christmases with here in the United States. Peaceful manger scenes, wise men following a star, shepherds and sheep adorn our houses, our churches and our thinking. Killing of children, wars and refugees are also part of the Christmas story.

The world today is a very dark place. Christmas will be celebrated this year in Congo where over 4 million people have lost their lives and continue because of power and greed over minerals that God has placed in the country. Christmas will be celebrated in refugee camps (just this past week another 60,000 were displaced because of fighting based on ethnic differences in the north eastern part of the country). Levels of insanity pervade our own country where shooting of innocent people seems to be a daily event. Sorrow over lost love ones on all sides of the conflicts of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the list goes on and on.

Why celebrate Christmas when there is so much suffering? Because IT IS God’s ANSWER and REALITY to the darkness that we have created. God by sending JESUS IS bringing in LIGHT to the obscurity with which we cloak ourselves. He has come to save us from ourselves and from the atmosphere of self centered greed and hatred we have created. We celebrate because this is real HOPE! God loves us! God is with us! God wants to participate in every part of our lives as individuals! God wants to live out His life through us to the communities in which we live! God in Jesus is here to change us and the world we live in! Let us celebrate and join with the choir of angels, “ JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!”

Please continue to pray for the following:

  • Our travel and sharing in the churches
  • Our family
  • A new academic year at Mulungwishi
  • Six of our faculty members coming to General Conference
  • Preparation of work teams coming to join us
  • Peace and justice in Congo

We wish you all of the Lord’s blessings for this Christmas Season and for the coming year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Satellite view of Mulungwishi buildings

Google Maps now has a great new feature -- a "Terrain" map option. Here's the link to a terrain map of the area from Lubumbashi to Mulungwishi (upper left area).

Also, David helped me locate the Mulungwishi campus on Google Maps while he and Lori were in town. So I have created a special Google map showing the various campus buildings that appear in the satellite view.

As Google obtains better resolution maps of the eastern part of the campus, other buildings will show. At least the current maps do show all the main buildings and even two red poinsettia bushes!

  • A satellite view without the building "icons". Here's a missions area idea -- print a nice 8"x10" photo of the campus area using the above map. Make sure it shows the main buildings. Then place it on a poster board and use colored yarn and map pins to link from a building or complex to a description on the poster board around the photo.

December prayers

The 2007 Mulungwishi Ministry calendar asks all to pray for the Persons family -- David & Lorene, Michelle & Jeff, Andrew, and Amber.

Pray for personal support as well as for David and Lori being our and the Lord's representatives to the Congolese Church.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Home for the holidays

We are on our way home to Denver. We are looking forward to the time with the children. Andrew is flying back from Australia and Amber is coming from Seattle. Michelle and Jeff live in the Denver area. Jeff's parents will be coming in from Illinois and his two brothers and sister in law live in Colorado. We are so looking forward to this family Christmas celebration.

We will be glad to get back into our own beds after three months on the road. We are so grateful to the churches and families in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico who provided hospitalllity and fellowship. We also want to thank you for the prayers for safe travel over some 9,000 miles.

God bless you all and we wish you a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Serious electricity problem at Mulungwishi

We have a serious problem at Mulungwishi, with an urgent need for funds. There was a serious electrical spike along the rail line which provides electricity to the mission station. Several transformers along the line were damaged including that of Mulungwishi. We estimate that it will cost about $10,000 to repair.

The current situation is the following, the burned transformer was a 250KVA unit. The railroad is renting us 65 KVA off of their transformer for $700 a month. We are therefore working with rolling blackouts scheduled in order to continue to function. You can imagine the great inconvenience this posses to everyone and all the projects. There are some 800 people depending on this electricity.

We are particularly concerned for water provision because our pump runs by electricity, the dispensary and the university porgram (particularly the computer school). We are fortunate that this has taken place during this time of year because it is the rainy season and people can catch water off the roof for their needs

Please pray for the this situation and if the Lord moves you to help, gifts can be sent to the GBGM as an Advance Special to Katanga Methodist University #14431A and label it "Transformer".

Please also email us so that we can thank you.