The Journey home
Can you believe we are writing to you from Mulungwishi? Thought we would never get here! We have hit the ground running. We left Denver on June 10th on a night flight to London. It was a good flight arriving at mid-day and that evening took the night flight on to Lusaka. Charles, a Zambian coworker, was waiting at the airport for us with our car and drove us up to Ndola (about 200 miles) where we spent the next two days with close friends and colleagues, John and Kendra Enright.
On Sunday, the 15th, we crossed the border (considered by Lori as "purgatory!") with very little trouble, praise the Lord! We arrived in Lubumbashi in the late afternoon. Thank you for your prayers. Purchases for settling in and for the coming work team, preparations and paperwork were the agenda for the next two days.
On Wednesday we drove to Mulungwishi. The road from Lubumbashi to Likasi is better in spots and still being fixed BUT "the road" on to Mulungwishi is at best the worst we have seen it in 30 years and something out of a car rally horror film! It took four hours to do the 100 miles! The eggs had the best seat on Lori's lap as we were jolted and jarred in every direction. There was a great greeting with people out with songs and flowers to welcome us back! It was good to get home and be in our own bed for a change! The same 'ole' cat, more fat and retired then ever, crazy parrot, and of course our special Baba Nogoi all welcomed us with open arms.
Our house, thanks to many of you, was somewhat "changed" because of all the boxes from the containers filled with lovely baby things, yarn and things for the Women's School ... half the living room and most of the office! Wow! With the help of Women's School teachers and members of the New Mexico Team we have managed to sort half of it and now we can see our fire place! All we can say is a big thank you to the Church friends that gathered and packed the things and to Mike and Terri Hobbs and the Washington Team that got the containers here. These things will bless many babies and women in the months to come! Again thank you for your prayers!
Night one surprise
Night one of our arrival, guess what? The Electric transformer from the train station blew and we have pretty much been without electricity since! Help! Lori went right to work with Mama Kat and their team organizing the kitchen and food for the coming visitors. Don't you just love candle light! Yea! Thank goodness for charcoal babulas!
Teams of visitors
Friday, David drove back down to Lubumbashi to meet the Team. Our 13 visitors from Hobbs, NM came in on the Saturday flight from Nairobi. They arrived safely but 19 pieces of luggage did not arrive. (Some came latter in the week, thankfully) They were good sports about it and those without extra clothes dipped into a box of scrubs. We started calling them "the blue team!" In the mean time, we realized that the repair of the electric system was going to take longer then we thought, so we picked up a small generator to help preserve the food we had bought for the team. All that week Lori felt like a "mother hen" figuratively sitting on three freezers making sure that they had enough electric time to keep food cold because we could not afford to run them all day. Smile! People! Gasoline prices here are at $8 a gallon. Enjoy your $4 a gallon in the U.S.! Also, with no electricity we are back to pumping H2O with diesel fuel three times a week so save that cup of water!
Sunday, after church in Lubumbashi, the team took off for Mulungwishi. What a reception they received when they arrived. Flowers, singing, dancing and prayers of thanksgiving for their safe arrival thrilled the visitors. One of the team, cardiologist Dr. Tom Maddox, remained in Lubumbashi for two extra days in order to give seminars at the Medical School of the University of Lubumbashi and to share with fellow cardiologists.
The next week was a flurry of activities leading up to graduation on Sunday the 29th of June. Monday was the public defenses of the Master's thesis. Thursday, renewal of wedding vows for out graduate students who had never had a chance to have a Christian wedding. Friday was the agape supper for the whole Seminary community. Each team had been paired with each graduate to pray for each other during the months leading up to the Team visit. During the week, they were able to share together. Good fellowship was also done between the team leader, Roland McGregor, and Dr. Kajoba, the Dean Emeritus of the Seminary. It is for them that the first chair of professorship was named.
The team worked with various ministries during the week ... the dispensary, the Women's School, Children's program. A major effort was putting in the ceiling and air condition in the computer server room. Also the basic installation for wireless network on the station was mapped out by Joe Barnes and Congolese Prof Cedric. We would we have loved to have electricity to get it all up and running! Barry Dickens, DS of Clovis, led the meditation on the Friday night. Steve Chappell, Senior Pastor at First UMC of Hobbs, preached the graduation service. Each Team member blessed our community with their gifts and abilities and we Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for their willingness to come share with others. It is so good to be a part of God's family. We are just plain spoiled.
We need to add that the team were great sports dealing with no electricity and very little water. They became schooled in the Mulungwishi "save every ounce of water " method and flush last!
Thankfulness and Praise also has we celebrated a combined Graduation of the School of Education, School of Information Technology. and the Seminary, helping send out new leadership for the Congo!
Please pray for
- Our continuing reentry, as it really seems like a "time warp" after being in the States as we get back into the routine of Mulungwishi.
- For the graduates who are waiting for their designation and ordination at Annual Conferences later this month.
- For the repair of the electric system!
- For travel and wisdom for the Church as our Bishop, Bishop Katembo has started one of the five Annual conferences that will take place this summer.
- For the Congo and the government that they will remember the people of the country and it's future with the riches of the mines that seem to be flowing out to other countries!
- For world leaders, business leaders, economic policies and decisions that seem to keep so many across the world struggling to live in 18th century conditions when we are in the 21st century!
Thank you for being a part of this ministry and for your support. We love you all.