Saturday, December 31, 2011

Church visits and Christmas

White Christmas

We are enjoying a white Christmas here in Denver. As in Congo, Christmas is about the Christ Child. We sing with the angels the arrival of the Prince of Peace and the Good News of Hope for our world. God showed his love to us by becoming one of us and identifying with us in every way. God is with us. Hallelujah!!

Family time

It is good to stop for moments after a whirlwind fall. We returned to the States on the 18th of September. A flight on the 30th brought us to Seattle to meet new members of the family. Andrew married Judy in August. She is Taiwanese and also holds a Canadian passport. Judy‘s has just finished her Master’s degree in art therapy. Her parents, Charles and Lois (western names) flew in from Taiwan and China so we could all get acquainted. Charles had worked for Lever Brothers for 20 years and knew his way around North America and food. Going out to restaurants with them was a wonderful experience. Their son, Nelson, also lives in Seattle doing his medical residency at the University of Washington. We are so thrilled for the increase in our family and these wonderful people God has brought into our lives.

Visits to 38 churches

We flew back to Denver on the 5th of October to begin driving on the 7th to itinerate in our supporting churches. This trip took us 7,000 miles to Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. In all, we did 63 presentations in 38 different churches. Some of the churches we were in have been supporting the work in Congo for over 60 years going back to Lori’s parents. One church was our first covenanting church and saw us off 33 years ago with a one year old. What a blessing to have church communities standing behind you with such faithfulness. We are most blessed.

Thanksgiving break

We did take a week break at Thanksgiving to fly back to Denver. Andrew, Judy and Amber came in from Seattle so we could celebrate together with Michelle, Jeff and Elliot. David preformed the wedding of Amber’s best friend that weekend in Colorado Springs.

Congolese elections

The Congolese presidential election has just taken place. The Supreme Court has declared Kabila the winner and has inaugurated him for a second term. However, the European Union and the Carter Center have declared that there were anomalies in the election process. The opposition has claimed victory and has inaugurated its own candidate. Pray for a peaceful resolution.

We pray the Lord’s richest blessings for you and your families for the coming year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mulungwishi update

We want to ask your forgiveness for being so delinquent in getting information to you about what is happening at Mulungwishi. We will explain more but first we need to tell you how much we appreciate and count on your prayers and support. Your faithfulness through the years has meant so much to us. During these past months we have really needed your prayers. So let us bring you up to date.

Deaths from measles

When we returned to Mulungwishi in March of 2011, we found the area in the midst of a measles epidemic. Even children that had been vaccinated were affected. Many died mainly because they were so malnourished. Our medical team along with Lori‘s nutritional team worked very hard to treat and revaccinate the children. Doctors Without Borders and World Vision came with extra food that was given to the people. Over the course of five months we were able to work with over 1000 families in the Mulungwishi area. Just as we left in September, our station received a large supply of mosquito nets from the “Nothing But Nets” program and a team is now working to hand those out to the community. Yea!


As always, Mulungwishi and the ministry there continues to work through the different educational programs and we celebrated several graduations. About 70 finished in the High School program and took National Exams. Because of your support, 18 pastors and their wives graduated this year and are now going out to their churches in the southern province of Katanga in Congo. As we have said many times before, we never know with the political and economic situation whether we will get to graduation or not? It is always a miracle! The Lord is faithful and you have been a part of that!

Family visit, safari

Along with graduation at the end of June, we were thrilled to have Lori’s cousin, Danita, and her husband, David, come out to visit us. They are the first members of our families to visit Mulungwishi. For years, Danita has wanted to come to Africa and see what Uncle Woodie was doing. It was a great celebration at Mulungwishi because the niece of the founder of the Seminary had come for a visit. The local chief was also happy with their visit because his family had been involved with Lori’s parents. Having them there for graduation was very special. Danita worked on sewing projects with the graduates. David and Danita gave out the diplomas to the 18 graduating pastor and their wives. After graduation, David and Danita treated us to a safari to see animals and Victoria Falls. It was so much fun and a blessing! We looked upon it as our "honeymoon" celebration for our 40th anniversary this August!

VIM teams

Mulungwishi was also happy to host two VIM Teams from the El Paso area and the North West Texas Conference. As usual, these Teams were able to minister and bring their talents and gifts to the community. They were blessed and awed by the Church in Congo and the vitality they experienced. The NW Texas Team was able to participate in the University graduation of over 150 students in IT, education and SISCO Systems. A great celebration!

Related links

Monday, July 04, 2011

News roundup

Below is a collection of links to widely varied articles related to the D.R. Congo. Some give hope, some evoke sadness. Continued prayers are needed for the DR Congo -- for its leaders, for its women, for its children, and for its future.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Land issue still hot

We would like to ask you to pray this during the next couple of weeks especially for our land situation. Inspite of having all the documentation, there are still parties claiming mining rites on our property. Dr. Kasap, President of the University, will be going to Lubumbashi this next week to meet with the Minister of Mines to get this situation ironed out. God is faithful.

We also found two interesting articles on BBC pertaining to the mineral situation in Congo. "Kenya & D.R. Congo to Probe Gold Smuggling" on March 4th, 2011. Also, "Can Conflict Minerals Really be Controlled?" on March 29th, 2011. This second article brings in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform which we applaude the Congress and Administration for passing as a step in the right direction to bring a halt to the violence in Congo.

Thank you for standing with us.

Related articles

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Arrived in Congo

Arrived in Congo on Sunday afternoon with only an hour and a half at the border. No problems. Praise the Lord!

The work team that was to be there were held up in London so we had a good night's sleep. They came in on Monday.

We drove up to Mulungwishi on Tuesday and received a warm welcome. So good to be back in our own bed.

Thanks for all the prayers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A fast note...

We had a good trip. No problems with customs at Lusaka. Got all the bags OK and we drove up to the Copperbelt. Staying with friends. Go up to Congo on Saturday or Sunday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fall 2010 to March 2011

The following is sort of a time line of our happenings.

Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Denver

From mid September to November we traveled in Kentucky and Tennessee speaking and ended up going home through Texas. As we wrote, right after we arrived back, Baba Ngoi passed away. He was such a part of our lives and ministry, we will miss him. We arrived home in time to welcome David’s brother John and Dagmar, and son Luke, and Andrew and Amber from Seattle for Thanksgiving.

Of course the main attraction was Michelle and Jeff’s little Elloitt! Or "Mr. Elliott" as everyone calls him! He had lots of attention and it was a great family time. What a delight to have this first grandson join our family. Thank you Lord for this child.

Congo sadness

Right after Thanksgiving, we were broken hearted to learn that the oldest daughter of Rev. Kandolo had died due to medical complications. Irene had been married less than a year and also had had a miscarriage. She had been a friend of Michelle’s and we had watched her grow up. It was very hard for Rev. Kandolo, as he could not return from Canada, where he is studying. Please keep them in prayers.

December in California

December we were privileged to attend a fellow missionary‘s son’s wedding in California. The Wolford family has had two generations of missionaries in Congo with our family. It was good to be with everyone again. Steve and Debbie’s first son Brian was married to Ashley. From CA, we flew to Seattle to spend time with Andrew and his girl friend, Judy, and Amber. We had a great time being with them and meeting more of their friends and surroundings.

Shingles attack Lori

However, during our time there, Lori spent two days in the ER with chest pain and was diagnosed with shingles. Not a fun thing! Shingles put a damper on Christmas but we all had fun and enjoyed Mr. Elliot’s first Christmas. We were joined by Jeff’s parents and brothers and family. Of course, Mr. Elliott had no idea what all the presents meant but he seemed to enjoy all the special attention and the colors and lights! He even examined Santa’s beard and smiled for all! Both holidays were such a blessing with our families.

Sadly, right at New Years, Lori’s cousin Max, (on her Dad’s side) passed away in Texas, so we flew to Dallas. It was a good celebration of his life and special time for the family.

Lori's health

As time went along, instead of feeling better, Lori felt worse and ended up with pneumonia! This stopped all travel plans for return to Congo. We felt mowed down by all this! So now we are on the other side of all this illness and writing to let you know that the GBGM has cleared us to return.

Back to Congo!

Praise The Lord! We will be flying out on March 22nd. Keep us in your prayers as we return and resume our responsibilities and continued health for us. We have to say that being with Mr. Elliott has been so special and to watch him grow and respond. We have been blessed with our family!

We continually thank the Lord for you and the way you have loved, encouraged and stood with us through this time. Thank you for your notes and cards of encouragement. We will try to communicate better in the months ahead. At the same time we still like hearing from you and we continue to keep you in our prayers.

Mulungwishi brochure

David and Lori have sent along a copy of the new "Faces of Mulungwishi" brochure for the Mulungwishi mission station in the D.R. Congo.

It's in PDF format and 906K in size.  We will also link it on the "About Us" page.

You may also note from the web address of the PDF above tghat we are now using Microsoft's Skydrive for storing our files such as this. Microsoft gives us up to 25GB of storage and we can make varied files viewable by everyone.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2010 flew by

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Wow, another year has gone by and 2011 is here! We pray that your Christmas time was blessed for you and yours. We want to reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness to Mulungwishi through the years. We praise Him for the miracles when we thought things looked very bad but He is faithful! When we look at what Congo has gone through, with the turmoil, the wars and the tragic loss of life, it is amazing how instead of fading away the Church has gained strength and despite the difficulties had gone forward with hope and faith. This was exemplified in the theme for the Centennial Celebration of the United Methodist Church in Congo this past July. Yes! We celebrated 100 Years of mission and growth! The Hebrews verse above was the theme for the Celebration and showing their faith for the future in a never changing God!

A great Centennial

The Church leadership did a good job of planning for the Centennial. We have written bits on the blog. It started in Lubumbashi with guests from Switzerland, the States and Church leadership from around Africa. Thousands paraded through the streets of the city coming for 5 hour celebration service outside the Jerusalem Church. All the stops were pull out with dancing, singing, speeches, preaching and worship. It was a blessing to hear reports of how God used different people to bring about the growth in the Church. Two days later, the venue moved to Mulungwishi for the Church celebration and Annual Conference. More than a thousand people were involved. We realized that our families have been a part of the Lord’s work here for the past 74 years!

Again, we look to that verse and see the Lord leading during a very unsettling time for Mulungwishi as He lead us to discover that land taxes had not been paid for over 50 years!! Help!! The University had planned an evaluation and visioning study. Two Congolese gentlemen came down from Kinshasa to do this study. They were excellent at evaluating the situation and the needs for the future. In discussions they realized that the Church and the mission at Mulungwishi had not paid a tax due every 25 years. The Lord brought them at a critical time as mining concessions and diggers were all over Mulungwishi’ s land even though we tried to chase them away! Quickly, Dr. Kasap, our University President, went down to Lubumbashi and started the process of how much and what to do. As we wrote in the blog, things came together quickly and we realized how much the Lord uses our partners. Praise the Lord for the way we received a loan from the Swiss Church and then Churches, individuals, GBGM and GCFA came through to insure the land title for Mulungwishi! The leadership now has all the papers!! He is Lord from the past who started the work at Mulungwishi! He brought us the two gentlemen and all His people in the nowto meet the crisis! Through this, the Lord is leading to the future, in giving us a way to keep our land! Again He is never changing and faithful!

Congo Minister of Higher Ed a blessing

Another person God has used for Mulungwishi has been the Minister of Higher Education in Congo, Dr. Mashako. He has made several visits to the station and has helped with paper work and red tape to keep the University developing. Minister Mashako encouraged the leadership to think about adding a School of Agriculture which the leadership is working on now!! He was traveling around the country evaluating university level institutions. He closed many who were non- viable. In our case, he saw us as a shining example of what a private university should be in serving Southern Congo. Again, God brought the right person into our midst to enable us to keep the University open! The Minister was so excited about the land, the history of Mulungwishi, and its outreach through the years. He was pleased to see the ongoing education and pushing us to plan for the future! Again we see the Lord in the past, the present and the future and He does not change!

Looking ahead in 2011

This year will complete our time in Africa on this contract. We will be returning this fall to itinerate in our supporting churches. We anticipate six months of itineration and then return to Congo. We will then return to the States for six months itineration next year. So we hope to see and visit many of you in the near future. It will also give us the opportunity to strategize for the future in the work we are doing together in Africa.

Prayer is important

Prayer is so important to bring the relationship between churches in Congo and the US. People, there, always say how much it means to them that you are praying for them. We ask you to pray with us for the following:
  • Our health and travel
  • The Congo and the leadership, resolutions of the terrible mining practices
  • Those in ministry at Mulungwishi, the Women’s School, the University, the Primary and Secondary Schools and the medical
  • Two work teams coming to Mulungwishi
Finally, we want to celebrate with you all the goodness and mercy the Lord has given us this past year, the hope and joy the Christ Child brings us. The knowledge that our Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow is such a comfort in this world that seems so often out of control! It is He, who is faithful and He will lead if we are open and willing. You are part of all of this by your faithfulness over the years. Thank you so much for wanting to be a part of what the Lord is doing and we praise Him for who He is! We continue to pray the Lord’s richest blessings for you in this New Year.