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.