Monday, July 21, 2014

Mulungwishi news

Nutrition Program challenges

We always hope when we come back that the number of kids needing help with nutrition will be way down. But every time it seems worse and these past months were no exception! First day, Lori was down for the program, we checked 71 kids! We still have about 20 that are critical and managed to keep some of them in the hospital to feed especially, to help them.

For many families, this is harvest season, and the whole family moves out to the gardens to work. This can be as much as 10 miles from the village where they live! Therefore the kids go too! When they come back for a checkup, we see many slip even further! Pray! It is so hard for the mothers to balance all the needs of the family and the work that needs to be done!

We keep trying to give extra food and needed medical care. Out of the blue, one “little” girl showed up with her grandmother. Two years ago her sister brought her, at 12 months and at 6 pounds! Her mother had died at birth. We got her up to 8 pounds then they disappeared again! This year the grandmother showed up in January for a while, then again now. The girl is almost 3 but weighs only 12 pounds and does not sit, or stand or talk! We keep trying and teaching! Pray!

We are hoping to get some of the special Plumpy’Nut feedings for special cases but the government wheels turn agonizingly slow! Pray!

Lots of Conferences

During the 4 weeks we have been back in Mulungwishi we have been involved in taking care of three lay conferences preparing for Annual Conference. Our Southwest Conference will start the 13th of July. Bishop has already driven 600+ plus miles to do two other conferences! Pray!

One of the lay gatherings was the United Methodist Women. They are very strong group in Congo and a real part of the Church. It was faith building to see their joy and commitment has they discussed their different ministries and programs.

One special blessing is that they have been helping our nutrition program here with funds from time to time! It was neat to see all the “yellow” scarves and to know their commitment to Jesus. Good singing and dancing too! :)

Texans to help with projects

We are looking forward to a team from Texas coming in at the end of the month. They will be involved with construction, medical and our Kindle project to provide resources for the Seminary students. Bishop Earl Bledsoe of the NM and NW Texas Annual Conferences also will be with them. This will be his first Episcopal visit in this part of the Congo. His Annual Conferences are partnered with the South Congo/Zambia Episcopal Area.

Thank you for the continued love and support.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Back at Mulungwishi

Mulungwishi internet frustration

Our first blog post after returning to Africa comes late. Why? The station has lacked internet services for three months! The station is still deciding if it is possible to get something cheaper than they have had previously. We were told that buying a modem for the local phone company would work but that is a joke! Internet connection lasts 5 minutes … maybe 10 if you are lucky, but usually 1-2 minutes and then it cuts off! We hope they work this out sooner than later because it is very frustrating and we miss Skyping with the kids! Pray!

Zambia to Congo

On June 1st, we had a good crossing from Zambia into Congo in spite of a few minor problems with authorities wanting hand outs! Our faithful driver, Nkonde, did a fantastic job doing all the negotiations. We spent two days in Lubumbashi buying food supplies and getting our passports sent off to Kinshasa, the capital, for the transposition of our visas into our new passports.

A Mulungwishi welcome

On Wednesday the 3rd, our Mulungwishi driver, Jacques, came and drove us up to the mission. All the women of the Women’s School were at the house, singing and dancing to welcome us back. They were so happy to see us and especially their Mama Lorene. Throughout the next few days groups of people would come by to greet us and thank the Lord for our return and safe travels. Several prayed that the blood of Jesus would cover the water, the food, and the air we would take in so that we would not have problems adjusting back to Africa. Women are bringing our favorite foods: beans, pumpkins, okra, sweet potatoes etc. knowing how much we enjoy the local foods. We have most definitely been blessed.

Sunday celebration

Three days later was Sunday, and it was quite a celebration! Our Bishop came to “install” the District Superintendant. Five hundred guests were invited. Church was held outdoors because there was not enough room in the church, which seats 1,000! So right at the start Lori was involved the meal, which fed probably 600! The practice of installation is something our Bishop started a couple of years ago. In African tradition, there needs to be a formal installation of those who have leadership and care of others. So to contextualize the church for the African culture, he is installing the Superintendents, who intern install the new pastors in a church.

Heavenly choirs

Definitely the Congolese are going to be the heavenly choir. The Mulungwishi choirs united for the effort and three other choirs from the District were present. Of course there was plenty of dancing to go with the music. Definitely, Church here is a celebration. The different entities of the district (UMW, MYF, Methodist Men, construction, medical, etc.) all presented symbols (including the District Flag which Lori had created the night before) of the work that they were going to do together. The DS gave a wonderful sermon how nothing can be accomplished without the Lord and how He is able to do beyond anything we can imagine!

Back into the thick of it

Within the next three days we started teaching classes! Sooooo … we are back running! David is completing the courses he started in September-November. Lori is teaching Wesley, one of her favorites, and Nutrition, plus she’s busy sewing with the graduation classes!

We can’t thank you enough for your continued loving support and prayers.