Friday, June 06, 2008

Returning to Congo!

David and Lori

Greetings! As always time and miles have flown by. We apologize for being so long in writing – it seems that these trips wore us out more than usual! For the six months period we did more that 20,000 miles in the car. Again it was good to renew old acquaintances and meet new friends and see our beautiful country. We have been held up in Colorado due to Lori having medical tests and David translating for General Conference.

As we watch our students graduate each year, you feel like a parent watching our children leave the home. Because of Congo’s great distances, it is hard to meet up with many of our students again. We try through word of mouth and letters to touch base with them. While we have been here in the States we have been contacting our staff at Mulungwishi to keep up with our students. We thought it would be neat to share with you some of their testimonies because you are invested in the lives of those receiving training at Mulungwishi.

IT grad Danny excels, spreads gospel

While at General Conference, David visited with Danny Kapend. What a wonderful story! Danny’s father was a Methodist pastor and District Superintendent in Congo in our southern area. He died a number of years ago of kidney failure. Five years ago a scholarship was given to Danny to attend the new Information Technology School at Mulungwishi. He was part of our first graduating class in the School of IT of the Katanga Methodist University. We were very pleased with his academic work. Then, Bishop Katembo worked it out for him to come to Lon Morris College, a Methodist related Junior College in Texas.

After a year, Danny transferred to McMurry University (again a Methodist related University) in Abilene, Texas. He is finishing his junior year in Computer Science. An internal competition was held in the computer department and Danny won. He is considered one of their best students. All of this speaks well for the education he received at Mulungwishi.

What excites us even more is how he is sharing the life of the Lord Jesus where ever he goes. Strangely enough, refugees from Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi are being resettled in Abilene. With the help of Rev. Derrell Patterson, the Senior Pastor of Aldergate UMC, who has been to Congo on several occasions, Danny has started a Swahili Sunday School class for the refugees. It just shows how incredible God is in bringing us together around the world.

The ravages of war

The northern part of our Katanga Province has been particularly devastated by the war. Villages in this area have suffered from all sides. They have been burned out and pillaged by the government troops because they have been suspected to have collaborated with the rebels. On the other side, when the rebels come, they think that the people have collaborated with the government and then destroy what is left of the village. A group known as the Mai Mai was formed as a sort of local militia in order to protect the villagers. They in turn became violent and involved with witchcraft to the extent that they became more deadly than the other two. It is into this sort situation that a number of our students have gone to minister.

Woman pastor hunted; God protects

Umba Ndolo Kebele, one of our women graduates, was sent with her children to Kibamba in the Kinkonja District. Her husband, a Catholic professor, remained in Kamina where he was teaching. The Mai Mai came to her village specifically to find her and kill her. God was gracious in protecting her. She hid in a back room of the house with her children and they were not able to find her. As they were looking for her, she was able to slip out of the house with the children and climb a tree where they spent the night. Unable to find her, the Mai Mai left pillaging the village. Umba was rescued the next day and rejoined her husband in Kamina where she is now the pastor of the Umpafu congregation.

Pastor and wife a light in the darkness

Pastor Makobo Young and Beatrice were sent to Kamungu, in the Kabongo District. This area had been particularly had hit by all sides. At the beginning of their ministry, most of the parishioners were hiding and living in the bush, afraid to be in the village. As the war subsided, they began to return. A number of past choir members had joined the Mai Mai and been involved in the atrocities. Slowly God’s spirit showed them the error of their life style. They repented and once again have become a part of God’s people. Makobo and Beatrice have been a light in the darkness helping to heal the wounds of many who have suffered in this war. What a loving God we serve, who brings His Love, His Mercy, and His Reconciliation to whoever seeks Him! How wonderful to have pastors willing to go into the hardest areas to bring God’s Love!!! Now, there are songs of forgiveness, thanksgiving and praise coming from this His family.

Praise the Lord with us, for His faithfulness. How wonderful to see Him use these young men and women in sharing His Kingdom! Thank you for your part and sharing in their lives. You have never met them but you have faithfully given and prayed through the years. Rejoice and give thanks to the Lord.

Request for prayers

As we pack to return to Congo, we want to share these prayer requests:

  • For travel and grace for the trip back to Mulungwishi
  • For the graduating classes this year and the running of the University
  • For the country of Congo: the healing, the restitution and the reconstruction
  • For our family: Michelle and Jeff in Lakewood and Andrew and Amber in Seattle

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