Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas message

Already, we are approaching the Season of Christmas and everyone’s lives are full of plans and special occasions. Wow! It feels like this year passed by faster than ever! As always, our lives seem to involve many miles of travel. Presently, we are back in the States to do more itineration for Bishop Max Whitfield. The North West Texas Annual Conference is in relationship with our Southern Congo Annual Conference. We have been travelling in the Texas Panhandle for the past month and a half. A great treat, as we drive “the flat land of Texas” (Ha!), is being with many of the people that have come out on our Congo Volunteer In Mission (VIM) Teams. They have become part of our Congo’s extended family. Most of the Team’s members have returned two and three times! As, we have shared in our blogs, they have blessed Mulungwishi with their different ministries.

We plan to be in Denver for Christmas with all of our family: Michelle and Jeff, the Seattle two, Andrew and Amber, David’s brother and family (from Chicago) and Jeff’s Family (from Peoria). It will be a special blessing to be all together, for the first time in several years. Getting to be with our family is a great bonus to these speaking trips!

These past few months, we hope that you have kept up with us at Mulungwishi through our blog. When we left the station in mid-October things were buzzing. The University IT program started with 300 students, the School of Education with 50, the Seminary with 40 and the Women’s School 42. There are students in every available corner!

It was so great to have our electricity back and everything back on line including running water! It was so needed to get the academic year started. We started our own classes and left work for the students to do in our absence. Mulungwishi continues to have a strong staff with Dr. Kasap as the President of the University, Dr. Kongolo as the Provost, Dr. Pitchi as the Administrator of the University and Rev. Musalo as the Chaplain. The different schools are headed by Dr. Muntuta in IT, Dr. Kajoba for the Education and David as the Dean of the Seminary. The faculty of the Seminary is filled out with Drs. Nkonge, Kabwit, Jeff and Ellen Hoover as visiting professors. We also have many visiting professors to fill in the needs in the Schools of IT and Education.

Maybe some of you reading this would consider coming to Congo for a short time in order to help teach? Our staff is also comprised of seven with Masters’ degrees. Already, Dr. Kongolo and Rev. Kabange are facilitating courses for the Masters of Leadership Program, with our partnership with Development Associates International in other countries in Africa. The Minister of Higher Education also wants to see the University open a College of Agriculture.

All of our Seminary graduates have reached their designations after long trips and are hard at work. Some of them spent as long as three to four weeks by train, truck, bicycle etc. One of the spouses was very pregnant and we rejoice that she arrived without mishap after a three week ordeal on a train. As we were leaving to return to the States, Rev. Robert Kalau, one of our pastors, phoned to let us know that on that Sunday he was going to baptize some 120 people. Praise the Lord!

Mulungwishi is a strategic place to continue to produce leadership for Congo’s future. It is a privilege to be a part of this adventure. Every day, we are conscious of your daily prayers and faithful support of the work. We know all of this could not happen without the Holy Spirit’s leading, God’s timing and your participation. All we can say is a heartfelt THANK YOU for being a part of GOD’S KINGDOM building.

The beginning of this year, some friends shared a song with us from one of the Gaither Homecoming Videos. The words are by the Gaithers and it is sung to the familiar music of “Finlandia”. We have been touched by the words of this song, “I Then Shall Live“, and throughout these past months have been reflecting on its powerful clear message.

“I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven; I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid; I know my name is clear before my Father; I am His child, and I am not afraid; So greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive my brother”. “I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion; I’ve been so loved that I’ll risk loving too; I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges; I dare to see another’s point of view; And when relationships demand commitment, Then I’ll be there to care and follow through”. “Your Kingdom come around and through and in me; Your Power and Glory, let them shine through me; Your hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor; And may your living kingdom come in me; The bread of life, O may I share with honor; and may you feed a hungry world through me. Amen, Amen, Amen”.

Several times this song has brought us up short as we have evaluated our lives and ministry. Do we always walk with the joy that our debts have been forgiven? How readily do we pardon? Every day, do we bear His name with honor?

The Christ of Christmas is the reason we have been forgiven … the reason we can walk with the joy expressed in the song. The Christ of Christmas is the reason we can have compassion and care and commitment. The Christ of Christmas is the reason we are to reflect and help bring His Kingdom here on earth!

This Christmas … through this year … our prayer is that we may all live his love and joy more fully … Live his compassion and forgiveness more freely … clearly … and may we continue to lift up his name and live out his kingdom with honor! Halleluiah! Immanuel, Christ with us! Christmas!

We pray for His Blessings and His Peace for you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bookmarks now online

Happy Baby

Mulungwishi prayer cards formatted as bookmarks are now (I can almost hear Lori saying, "Finally!") online. These feature a photo from Mulungwishi, the logo, and a request for prayer.

You can print these and use as bookmarks. If you have a color photo printer, you can open a word processing document, insert a few photos, print, then cut for bookmarks.

Photo paper will give you the best results, as it has a nice glossy coating plus is stiffer than normal paper. The only down-side is that the shiny side of photos don't do well when water or sweaty hands touch them. So some people may prefer to print on thinner paper and then laminate. The choice is yours.

We plan to later post double bookmark photos -- ones designed and sized to print well as a 4"x6" photo. You print that double bookmark, then cut down the middle. Getting the sizes right on those has been tricky, as different printers cut off different amounts of the edges of 4"x6" photos. We'll announce those separately when they are ready.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Local kids plead for school

We have just arrived back in Denver. We will be here until January. The purpose of our return is to itinerate in the NW Texas Annual Conference for the Seminary and University. The itineration will take us into December. Christmas will be a celebration including a family reunion in Denver. We want to share with you something close to our hearts that we experienced this last month in Congo.

Three years ago, when Bishop Max Whitfield, of the New Mexico and NW Texas Annual Conferences, visited Mulungwishi in the Congo, he saw the need for the education of the children in the villages around the mission station. Because of the poverty, the war and the aids pandemic, many children could not afford to go to school. He brought this burden back with him to the New Mexico Annual Conference. Valerie Whitfield took this burden and challenge upon herself and mobilized the wives of the pastors within the Annual Conference as well as those in the NW Texas Annual Conference to make contributions to this project. In that first year, over $5,000 was raised and over fifty children were able to attend elementary and high school. Last year the program increased to some 90 children. This year, with the economic downturn which has hit our part of the world in a devastating fashion, the need has exploded. We must say that the last couple of weeks we were in Congo were amongst the hardest that we have faced in our ministry these 30 years. It broke our hearts to see children on their knees begging to be put on the list of those who would have their school fees covered. It reminded us of the movie "Shindler's List". Here were children wanting to go to school and their only means of survival was to be included on the list. This is particularly true of the girls who in their society would be married off at the age of 13 or 14 if they were not in school.

After we closed the list, we had three girls for three consecutive days on their knees in our front yard for hours. Every time we came to answer the door for whatever reason, there they were, "Please Sir, put us on the list". We finally called the village pastor to investigate their situation. They were refugees from the war and had been travelling the year before fleeing from the conflict to the north of us. They had been pillaged by the rebels and later on by the government troops. They had made their way to safety and settled with relatives in the village next to Mulungwishi. They were without means. The list provided the one chance for them to go to school this next year. This was too much for us and we included them in on the list.

Long story short, we have over 220 children on the list this year. We have taken this as a leap of faith and compassion for the year. It costs about $50 a year for a child to go to elementary school and $75 to go to high school. Seeing the need as being so great, Valerie has opened the doors to others outside the original circle of pastor's wives who want to participate in this ministry to children to do so. All contributions are run through the New Mexico and NW Texas Conference Offices.

Please be in prayer with us for this project and also for our time in the churches in Texas. Pray that we will be able to faithfully interpret what the Lord is doing in the Congo and the spread of His Kingdom.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Outside view of the Mulungwishi ministry

The following is a copy of an e-mail written by Tom Stanton, a Trinity-First UMC member of the work team from El Paso. We thought that you would like another point of view of life here at Mulungwishi and what a work team is involved in. “This has been a day where we have experienced in a poignant way the life cycle of the Church in the Congo. Early this morning, Mary Len, Ann, and I met for "morning prayer"; the daily 5 a.m. prayer time in the chapel at the Mission Station. We begin our day with a walk in the dark into the church for energetic song, hand-clapping, scripture reading and a sermon. These two days Mary Len, Ann, and I have sung; both days an arrangement by John Eby. It is profound to me that John, a member of our church family in El Paso, composes and arranges melodies which we share with our brothers and sisters in the Congo. John, with Mary Len's flute, and our voices in harmony we tried to justify your work. Later our team gathered for our team morning prayer/devotional and sharing. Dan, Phil, and Becky headed into the clinic. Both Dr. Dan and Dr. Phil have full days diagnosing patients, making recommendations, and as they grow in their understanding of the range of medical needs in the community, they are dialoguing with the local clinicians on the future of the clinic. It will be exciting to see where that leads us all as the Body of Christ. Ann, Mary Len, and I had a "play date" arranged with about 40 children; 4 years old to about 13. Yesterday and today we met out on a patio to sing, play games, and dance. Now, what is not to like about this "missionary" gig? Ann and Mary Len are an absolute delight and together with the children, language has been no barrier. In fact, the joy and laughter seems all the more profound as we make linguistic connections on each game. Dan and Parvin are working on some much-needed construction. Our Pastor seems to know his way around cement molds, plastering and plumbing. John was pleased to see that several of the plumbing fixes that he creatively attempted two years ago are still holding up. David and Laurie Persons, the Mission couple, still have the only flush toilet within many miles thanks to John's work. The life cycle part of this heading? Beginning at about 1:30 and lasting until 5 p.m. we participated in the funeral and graveside service of a local pastor who died yesterday. We all learn a lot about each other, and where we line up in our faith at a graveside. David Persons translated for us in whispers as the service proceeded in Swahili. We were moved to tears at a point where 30 pastors came forward, including Pastor John to lay hands on the casket as we sang in Swahili the hymn tune, "It is Well With My Soul." So today has given me much to reflect upon, and to give thanks for. On my list is giving thanks to each of you in El Paso who join us in prayer that our journey is safe, and that through our presence, the Lord's plan for his children here and in El Paso is made manifest.”

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

July-September happenings

Electricity and water!

We arrived back at Mulungwishi on the 4th after a couple of weeks in Zambia. Guess what we found when we arrived back? Electricity and permanent water! The day we left for Zambia, David paid for the transformer that had just come in from South Africa with the funds we had received from the Governor. During our absence, it was installed. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness and your prayers during this two year ordeal. Thank you for being there with us.

Water system for four villages

Throughout the month of July, the Danes were here at Mulungwishi. You remember that they are the ones who rewired our station in 2003 and reworked the water system in 2006. What a blessing they are. This year, they put in a water system for four villages near the station. How excited the population was (particularly the women) to have water faucets a few yards from each house. Prior to this they were walking for over a mile to get to a source of water which may not have been clean. What a tangible expression of God’s love the Danes shared with the Congolese.

400 at VBS

On the heels of the Danes came a team from the Northwest Texas Annual Conference. Children, children everywhere! Some 400 at Vacation Bible School and what a time they had. Also the girls dormitory got a fresh coat of paint.

Catching up on winding down

Mid-August found us in Zambia getting the car fixed, purchasing school supplies for the Women’s School and visiting friends. It is a blessing to be able to share with others who have the same calling you have. We also took much needed time to relax. Lori worked on a quilt and wrote 40 letters while David read a couple of books.

Theological education in Africa

David made a side trip to Kampala, Uganda to take part in a consultation on theological education in Africa. He was joined by representatives from all the Methodist Episcopal Areas of Africa, GBGM, GBHEM and UMCom. Hopefully, this will begin a much needed interchange between the theological schools in Africa.We are now back at Mulungwishi getting ready for the next school year. We are joined by a work team from El Paso, TX. Some were here a couple of years ago and it is a real joy to have them back. They are the ones who put in our ‘flush toilet’. Now that we have water, they can see that it still works. Isn’t great that we can rejoice over such things as a “flush toilet”? We are asking them also to contribute to the blog about their experiences at Mulungwishi.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Texas, here we come

We have been in Zambia for a couple of weeks and will return on Monday. We have now purchased our tickets to return to the States to itinerate in the Northwest Texas Annual Conference.

We leave on the 17th of October and arrive in Denver on the 18th.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Burning bricks for the Kingdom

As we celebrated graduation at the end of June, and watch our graduates go out to their designations, we always feel like parents when their children break from the nest and head out towards the world! It is a happy –sad time and we are always in prayer for our graduates, their families and their ministries. Two years ago, we wrote about our graduates and how far they would travel to reach their designations, and what mode of transport they would use to get there. After we returned this year, we have been contacting some of them and wanted to share their stories … their testimonies.

Considering the continued instability of the country, the economic downturn, which has been very serious for Congo, because of the stop in mining, and the places to which they went, torn by the war and tragedy, they have been living in the midst of miracles! It is with great joy and praise to our Lord, that we share what He has guided them to accomplish! We want to call this “Burning bricks for the Kingdom!”

Rev Kabambe and Mama Ilunga

Rev Kabambe and Mama Ilunga went out to their first church assignment using train, steamboat and bicycles! The journey took three weeks and 250 miles. They were sent to Mulongo where there is a strong Methodist presence. They found a congregation of 250 members and a foundation for a larger Church! With vision and tenacity the Church family is burning bricks for the new sanctuary and also a pastor’s house. They are also trying to raise money for the roofing. Despite having been wiped out during the war, and returning to nothing, people have started to rebuild their lives. At the same time, Rev. Kabambe is teaching at the local extension of the national university in the College of Education. The graduates of Mulungwishi are highly sought after because of their academic preparation.

Mama Ilunga is sharing the knowledge she gained at the Women’s School with the women in the area and hopes to start a women’s sewing center. The Church is also working to organize a local kindergarten. Together, they are doing a great deal of counseling with victims of the Rwandese Rebels. Many women and children were raped and families torn apart and have lost everything because of the conflict. There is also a local radio station and Pastor Kabambe gives a weekly message on forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. So in the midst of devastation the Good News is being shared and lived out through Rev. Kabambe and Ilunga.

Pastor Timothy Numbi Lukengo and Mama Banza

Pastor Timothy Numbi Lukengo and Mama Banza were designated to Kyolo where there was no church building! It took them more than three weeks to get to their appointment using the train, steam boat, canoe and finally bicycles! They found a small and struggling congregation. During this past year, they have built the congregation to 500 and have made a temporary structure in which they are worshipping! Due to the incredible growth, they also are burning bricks in order to build a permanent sanctuary and a parsonage. The North Katanga Annual Conference has also provided 80 sheets of roofing. Pastor Timothy also teaches religion in the public school and classes at the Brethren Bible School.

Mama Banza is teaching women in the area knitting and other skills she learned at the Women’s School. Pastor Timothy is also working in a program of evangelism in partnership with the Church of the Brethren, the other Protestant Church present in the area.

Pastor Robert Kalau and Mama Umba

Several times in our letters we have shared about Pastor Robert Kalau and Mama Umba. They had been on route for more than a month to get to their appointment at Kongolo because the trains were not running as they should. They found a foundation for a large church and the existing Church filled. They went to work burning bricks to continue with the construction. A month later, Bishop moved them to Nyunzu where Robert became the District Superintendent. Again, it took them 7 days, on the back of an old truck, to reach their destination. Their work has been greatly involved with bringing reconciliation in the district because of the conflicts in the region with the Mai Mai rebel group and other armies from Rwanda and Uganda . One of the Mai Mai leaders, who was involved with so much witch craft, has become a Christian and is now the lay leader of one of the churches! Praise the Lord!

Other leaders, challenges

Other churches are being established with other lay leadership. It is difficult to describe the depths of the horror, death and destruction the local people have lived through. Now, with very little, their people are making a comeback! They are mainly building with mud brick and grass roofs , digging new gardens ... and trying to find some way of doing commerce locally including sending produce by train. However, these last three months the trains have not run and the prices of salt and other staples were incredible! Can you imagine having to pay $2 for a small glass of salt! It will take awhile to renew the land but also heal the memories of horror and loss.

The Lord is faithful and just this last week, Robert sent us a message that they had baptized 170 pygmies this past week, from a Church in his district! Besides his ecclesiastic responsibilities, Robert is also teaching at the local university extension in the college of education . Umba is taking nursing courses at the university and teaching women in Churches during weekend.

In each step of the way, we have asked for your prayers and you have been involved with support, encouragement and prayers for these ministers. Isn’t exciting to see more of the Kingdom realized! God through His people is bringing healing, redemption, and New Life! Thank you for being apart and for reaching out to people you do not know but giving in faith!

The reality is that not only are they burning real bricks but these young Pastor families are helping to build the growing members of the Lord's Kingdom! Thank you for praying and being faithful. Keep praying! We give the Lord all the praise and glory!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In the news

A few recent news media stories related to the DR Congo...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beware -- email scam

Two of our faculty members, Kongolo and Nkonge, are in Senegal giving courses in our Masters of Leadership program. While there, they visited a cyber cafe to check their email.

Somehow their email address and passwords were pirated along with their address list. People on their list are now getting fake emails from them saying that they are stranded in London and could money be sent by Western Union. This is a scam.

Both Kongolo and Nkonge are getting new email addresses.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pastoral student dies

Yesterday was a difficult day. We lost one of our second year Seminary students to liver cancer. Longesa was complaining of abdominal pains in March and we sent him for an echo[cardiogram] to see what it was. The Doctor diagnosed it as liver cancer. We then sent him to Lubumbashi to see Dr. Delgado, a good friend and 7th Day Adventist Surgeon. After consultation, he did surgery taking out over a third of the liver and a very large tumor (generous gifts from Hobbs, NM were sent for the surgery.) A graduate, Rev. Chal, from last year’s Masters degree, has a Church near Delgado and his congregation helped the family with donations of blood, food and transport. It has been different for us, as the culture here will not tell an individual that he has a terminal disease as they feel this would shock the person and he would die prematurely!

After recovery from the surgery, Longesa returned to Mulungwishi. For several weeks now, he had been going downhill. A week ago, we and the chaplain called in the family to talk with them about the situation and to prepare them for what was to come. We were able to have prayer with the family and with Longesa several times in this past week.

Longesa passed away around midnight on Saturday. His funeral and burial were on Sunday afternoon. Parts of the family and church people from all over the area have come to celebrate his ‘ homegoing’. The ‘kilio’ or wake will be three days. People stay all night and sing and pray. He is the first student that we have had in pastoral student to have died while at school. He is survived by his wife and 8 children. Please pray for them as they face the future.

At the same time, we have lost a sweet good friend, Vicki Owens, a pastor’s wife from Bear, Delaware. She also suffered from liver cancer. Please be in prayer for the Owens family also. We are so grateful for the hope of the resurrection that we have in Christ.

We thank you so much for your continued prayers and we always enjoy hearing from you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Visit by Minister of Higher Ed

Lori & David

We want to thank you for your continued prayers and standing with the people of Mulungwishi in the things that are so pertinent to our lives. In the past few weeks, God has done wonderful things in putting pieces together.

Electric hope

In terms of our electricity, the railroad has ended its strike and there is hope that they will be bringing in another transformer to replace theirs that was burned out. We have ordered a new more powerful transformer for the mission station. It is being assembled in South Africa and we should have it in Congo within 6 to 8 weeks.

College of Agriculture too?

The Minister of Higher Education came to visit the Universities in the Province. Mulungwishi was on the agenda. Everything that he was looking for in a University, he found at Mulungwishi. He said, “The hope for Congo and its educational system is found in the private Christian Universities.” He also wanted us to start a college of agriculture. He commented that our library was probably the second or third best in the country. The Minister also visited the graves of Bishop and Mrs. Springer, who started the Methodist work in this part of the Congo, Mom and Dad Bartlett and Congolese pastors.

Lori destined for TV?

The Women’s School was a revelation to him and he insisted that Lori be interviewed for national television. Over supper, David gave a speech outlining Mulungwishi’s past, present and future. He mentioned the problems of miners wanting to take over the Mulungwishi hill with the cross. That hill is a symbol to the Christian community and an historical site containing the caves where Msiri, a chief who opposed the Belgians, hid during the colonial period. Below the hill is the underground river which is the source of the station’s water supply. David also mentioned the abandoned farm across the road which belongs to the state mining company. Since the minister is pushing us to open a college of agriculture, this farm would be ideal for this project and could the government give it to us. The minister wanted to take all this information and take it back to the capital to the members of the Cabinet.

Be in prayer

We have put together dossiers on the hill, the farm, accreditation for our Masters of Leadership and also accreditation for the College of Public Health at our extension in Kamina. Dr. Kasap, the President of the University, and Bishop Ntambo have flown to Kinshasa to present these dossiers to the various Ministers concerned. Be in much prayer that the Lord would intervene and give us grace in the eyes of the authorities.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More photos

Mulungwishi child

I've completed scanning and posting of the 2008 Graduation period photos. Also, Esther, a volunteer from Switzerland, was kind enough to mail a CD of some photos from her visit to Mulungwishi in July and August, 2008.

The photos are mostly about the Nutrition Program, Doris Bartlett Women's School, and of children, but there are a few others. Included in the newly posted photos are ones of kids at Fungurume, a town about 18 miles from the Mulungwishi campus.

David says, "It will soon be a boom town. There are fantastic copper and cobalt deposits and they are just beginning the production. The big investors are Phelps Dodge out of Phoenix. They have just been bought out by Freeport. But it is an impressive setup and one that would make Americans proud. They really care about safety and the environment. I won't go into details, but it is mining done right and with concern for the population."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Post-Easter news

We have just celebrated Easter and we rejoice in the truth of our risen Lord! What a hope we have. Our local Mulungwishi Church celebrated with special music and baptisms of three babies, eleven children, and thirteen adults and then received thirty-two into membership.

Lori's aunt died

This Easter was particularly meaningful to us as a family this month. We lost Lori’s Aunt Joan on Palm Sunday. She was Lori’s mother’s younger sister and died at the age of 86. Aunt Joan was like a second mother to Lori, particularly when she was separated from her parents when they were in Congo. All through the years she has been encouraging and always had good counsel. She was a wonderful person and we will surely miss her. On Easter Sunday evening, Lori’s second cousin on her father’s side, Kyle, passed away from cancer. She has been battling this for several years. She was in her 40’s and leaves behind her husband and three children. It has been a hard week for the Family. Truly the resurrection brings us hope in the midst of these losses. As Paul says, “Death where is your victory?”

Internet access is intermittent

We also need to catch you up on several items that we asked you specifically to pray about. We have to explain that even though we now have Internet in our home, it does not always work! Smile! Also, we need the generator running … sometimes we think the Internet runs when the power is not on and stops when we put the power on! So we are not always able to keep up with your emails. Keep praying for patience! Wish we could send our parrot, Isaiah, to tell you about everything because he picks things up and makes comments all the time!

Bandits may be under control

First, our concern with the armed bandits that had come on the station several times and have beaten people and stolen their money. Part of the problem, was one of the local chiefs, who was also the police chief for the area, and has a real alcoholic problem. He had come on to the station, out of his head with all kinds of accusations and didn’t make sense at all. He was angry and threatening to anyone who tried to help him. As he got angrier and he said he was calling for soldiers to come and destroy the station and also he wanted to shoot our Dean Emeritus, Dr. Kajoba! Finally he left. It was that night that the first bandits came on the station. So there was a real sense that his people were behind it. The following day police from outside the area came to make an investigation and we called in all the local chiefs and explained what happened. They were appalled and that evening he was arrested and removed. It put everyone in a state of insecurity as we have not had to deal with people with arms before. The District Commissioner and head of the police came and brought a new police chief. We have two policemen, patrolling with arms, on the station and we also have students patrolling from time to time. Things seem to have quieted down but we remain vigilant. Thank you for your concerns and prayers. We trust these were isolated incidents.

Electricity problems

Our second and more complicated problem is that of electricity. The Train Company remains on strike! As you know, our own newer transformer was blown. Then from time to time we were lent one from the Train Company … paying rent for a lesser one and yet it was their fault that ours blew! Then with poor maintenance the small transformers blew also! We need a new one, with more power, than before, as the University keeps growing! We wrote all this up as a project, as well as construction for new dormitories. This project was presented to the Governor of Katanga in mid-February. He gave the order that we be given $50,000 for the project ($25,000 for the transformer and $25,000 for the construction). Will wonders never cease! However, knowledge of his letter and his gift was kept from us by his staff for several weeks. Finally, we got the message! Yea! Dr. Kasap, the President of the University, went to Lubumbashi to follow up on this and get the money. It took him a month to get it! (Kind of like paperwork in our government! ) The lower echelon of government people were not interested in parting with so much money if they did not get something also! Dr. Kasap held firm and didn’t lose his cool but persistently kept pushing to get the money. They cooked up many hurdles to get through! (Someday, we should write a book!) They finally had the money for him. Praise the Lord for answered prayer and using people we did not expect help from!! In a real concrete way, He is bringing light into our darkness!!! We are now working with engineers and people in South Africa, to order the best transformer that fits our needs. Our guess is that it will take two to three months to get it!! Also, we have to have the Train Company up and running and work with the Electric Company. This will mean more leg work and paperwork and getting the right people to work on installing! Keep praying!

Everyday news

On the everyday home front, we keep teaching classes and answering the hundred needs at the door. With the world financial crisis, people, here, are struggling even more than before, if that is possible! The mining groups have closed most of their places for now, waiting for copper to go back up! Soooo much malnutrition and children hurting for help! Thank you, to all those who keep the nutrition program going.

Prayer request

Again, we want to thank you for your continual prayer support during these difficult times. Indeed, God’s presence in these times and your standing with us is a great comfort to us and to all living at Mulungwishi. We are very much aware of the financial crisis in the States and what you are going through, so it means even more, to have your faithful gifts and support! Keep praying!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dozens of new photos

At playAs I scan in more printed photos, the online albums are growing. Most of the latest ones are of the Nutrition Clinic, but they also include a new one of Lori in local dress.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Our hope is in the Lord

We want to thank you for your continued prayers for Mulungwishi Station. The tension has subsided somewhat since we wrote last. The local village chiefs have been around to talk and to help. Also the regional administrator and police chief have been to the Station to investigate. The Bishops have also been following the situation closely. We are comforted by their concern. There are just so many people who have been laid off and are desperate. The use of guns is a new thing here. There have been robberies before but never life threatening with weapons. Everything … classes and work are going along normally during the day but then at night it changes. With no electricity it makes any kind of guarding and prevention difficult. We have students patrolling at different times of the night and even some of the chiefs have been helping out. People are being very careful and lock up their houses as soon as the sun goes down. We know that our ultimate security lies in the Lord and continually people are encouraging each other and praying. This is such a new twist for us here, that is seems that it is not even true! Along with the prayers for safety, we are sooooo wanting to have the electricity back! The Train Company is now, back at work after being on strike for almost three months. (because they had had no pay for 36 months!) So we are now trying to work with the top people to get connected to some kind of transformer. There is always careful negotiations with the top because they are hungry too! Then things will have to be set up … rebuilt and reconnected. Thank you for being there with us.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Shampoo in the rainSurrounded by ants in the bath-basin ... a fight to the death! They are not getting any of my water except what I flush them down the drain with! The spout off the porch roof would make a wonderful shower ... think I'll ask the Lord to heat it a bit! Of course that may not be a good "missionary" connection with the neighbors! David is out washing his hair [photo at right. Click the photo to see it and the other rain-related ones] while collecting water in buckets at the roof spout. I think we should just soap him down and then he could have a bath and we could wash his clothes at the same time! Just think of the millions of people who have no close water supply or it is a dirty shallow well. They walk miles carrying buckets, basins, or any containers that will work ... tied to their bicycles, their backs, on their heads ... with always a line to wait through! We are so Fortunate! that we have the good well and the rain here at Mulungwishi! Pray for others and the many leaders of nations who do not see these issues as important and may it also challenge us to use water wisely. Pray for more rain!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Prayers needed: Typhoid fever and armed bandits

We apologize for not being in contact with you. This is due to a lot of factors. The first being the lack of electricity, which also limits our Internet time. We have also had to hit the ground running in order to catch up on our classes, and different projects that we have. We continue without electricity. This has developed other problems that we can add to what we have already written. There has been an outbreak of typhoid fever in the area due to bad water. We are going into the dry season and we need to pump water so as to provide clean water. We have started to pump twice a week using diesel fuel at $5 a gallon. When we have electricity, it is free and we have it 24x7. The other problem of lack of electricity is the living in the dark. Already twice this month, armed bandits have come on to the station and have robbed, beaten and tortured a number of our teachers. In fact as we write, we are up because four men in black clothes were spotted coming on the the station and looking for our driver. The students are mobilized and are circulating around the campus. However they do not have guns. Since we will be up most of the night, we figured we would try to catch up on some of the e-mails. This is where we are and we need your prayers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We have internet!

Hallelujah! Will wonders never cease! We are on the internet from our living room! Can you believe it? Thanks to Joe Barnes who came out on a team in June of 2008 and our local computer expert, Cedrick, we can receive internet at the house! Amazing! Of course to keep us humble, this only happens when the generator is on! The airconditioning unit the team installed in the computer server room was hooked up and working prior to the transformer blowing. Now it is in the same position as when the team came. No electricity, no airconditioning. Keep praying.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mulungwishi Rain Dance

Catching rain from a downspoutWe are doing a rain dance at Mulungwishi! Since we have no electricity, our water pump is not functioning. We praise the Lord that we are in the rainy season. So every time it rains, we run out with our buckets to collect the water coming off the roof. This is known as the Mulungwishi Rain Dance.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Highs and lows

Green, green everywhere. Thousands of different shades and hues brilliant against the blue skies and white billowing clouds. It is good to also feel and smell the rain.

We are still in Lubumbashi after days of car work and now the Leadership Masters Class. We hope to go with tow of the visiting professors of Leadership to Mulungwishi on Thursday.

Guess what! Again the train company let the small transformer blow. So we are without electricity! So pray!

Monday, February 02, 2009

In Congo

Drove up Sunday to Congo from Zambia. Had a little trouble at the border but got through without having much problem.

We are in Lubumbashi where David started on a leadership training semianr for teachers for the next 4 days. Probably head up to Mulungwishi early next week.

Thanks for the prayers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New photos

Painting the mural

David and Lori mailed a slug of new photos, so I scanned them in and posted them to the Flickr photo blog today.

The photos include several ones of the mural being painted in the Kindergarten classroom. Visiting team members, staff, seminary students, and even Lori contributed to the painting.

New photos also include ones of flowers, people, the Nutrition Clinic, and the Dispensary.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pray as David, Lori return to Congo

The road to Mulungwishi

An email today from David today asks us to pray for he and Lori as they travel back to the DR Congo. The road is hard, from physical dirt road conditions to the hassle of getting bags through customs -- in fact, Lori calls it "hassling the bags through customs".

The trip usually entails flying to Kitwe, Zambia, then driving up through Lubumbashi, on to Likasi, finally reaching their Mulungwishi home. It's a long, slow trip.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 slides into 2009

David and Lori

Time is running by us … Help! It is the New Year! Happy New Year and we pray that this beginning season is blessed by Our Lord’s grace and peace in your lives. We wanted to let you know about the events that have slowed down our return to Congo.

Medical leave

We had originally returned to the States in October to itinerate in New Mexico. Our plans were to return to Congo in mid-December. But during the itineration, Lori had some problems with heart burn and chest discomfort. When we returned to Denver, she visited her primary care physician who ran an EKG. The result was that there was a change in the EKG from the one she had had previously. The GBGM then put us on medical leave in order to find an answer to this problem.

Needless to say, this brought on stress tests which were positive, then a heart cath! ... Which was negative! Yea! We have appreciated the good support from Dr. Tom Maddox, a cardiologist who visited us at Mulungwishi this year. He set us up with a friend for the heart cath. Therefore the weeks leading up to Christmas were somewhat stressful and crazy! Not in our plans at all!

We know many of you have been praying for us and we are so thankful and aware of the Lord’s keeping and healing. Lori has had a couple of other tests and they are negative so we are heading back to Congo the 25th of January. We know the Lord is in control.

Christmas at Thanksgiving

Our original plan was to leave before Christmas, and we had our family celebration over Thanksgiving. Andrew and Amber both flew to Denver from Seattle. It was good for us to be together. We celebrated Christmas with Michelle and Jeff and his family. We are thankful to have our place in Denver and to have so many of you around the States as a supportive community.

A year of violence

This past year was surely a very different one and this new one seems to have started with continued violence and suffering for so many … again … still … the Middle East, and the many different African and Asian countries…and again Congo with the horrifying rampaging of Gen. Kunda in the North east. For us it tears our hearts and we wonder how many people, especially women and children have to scream before their cries are heard? Again, we join with you in praying for leaders all over the world and asking you to contact those you know about this. We pray also for the new leadership in our country and for our nation’s heart to change in our policies and dealing with the world around us. We are excited to be here for the inauguration and we keep the new President and our country in prayers.

Prayer requests

  • Our travels and getting back into our ministries in Mulungwishi. We leave Denver on BA Sunday afternoon and arrive in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday morning. We hope to have our car meet us and we will take a couple of days on car repairs and supplies. Then drive up to Lubumbashi and have several days there with paperwork and supplies before heading to Mulungwishi. We will be traveling with equipment and things for Mulungwishi.
  • Be also praying for the Seminary and University as they continue to train young people for the Lord’s work.

Thank you again for your caring, encouragement and prayers this last year and we know you will be faithful in keeping Congo and us in your prayers in this New Year. We ask that our Lord’s blessing and grace be with you in your lives and ministries. May His strength be a constant reflection of Christ’s Love to this world.