In July 2014 a team of us went out to Bukavu again. This time we didn’t go with the main focus being the building but rather we went out to evangelise, teach and preach. As I wrote in a previous blog Filip Ivanov from Macedonia went with us – in fact he was the reason we went. He had felt God saying to him that he should go and evangelise in Congo and I respect Filip so we went.
Another lady from my church – Cherry Udeze also went with us. Cherry is a valued member of our church and a good friend. She has a beautiful singing voice and she went to sing and also to work with me teaching children’s workers.
Children’s ministry is sadly neglected in Congo and Boniface had expressly asked for some teaching focussed on children’s ministry. We have a lady in our church – Michelle Walker – who heads up all our children’s and youth ministry and she has a diploma in children’s ministry. She has done a great job in the church and she was happy to prepare the material and us for this teaching.
We stayed as always in the Norwegian/Swedish Mission Station and this year we stayed in the big Norwegian Guest house which was very comfortable.
We didn’t have running water for the whole time we were there and sometimes the electricity would be off but never the less we were very well off. Venecia a lady who cooks for some of the missionaries also cooked for us and that was a blessing – she’s a great cook and fresh produce is readily available and delicious. Surprisingly you can also get really good cheese made in Goma just up the road from Bukavu so we ate well too. What a difference now I know my way around a little better in how we live while we are out there!
We also flew the last lap from Kigali in Rwanda to just outside the border of Congo. I used to always go on a 6hr bus journey which is pretty lethal and very uncomfortable but last year on the way home on that journey I was very sick and the bus driver wouldn’t stop so with nothing to be sick into I was sick over much of the front of the bus and had to sit in it and everyone else had to suffer it for 4hrs!
Pastor John Clack who was with me said that was the last time I would do that bus journey (it was my 5th journey) and so we flew for 1/2hr. Praise God for John’s common sense. Of course it cost £100 rather than a few dollars but it was worth every pound believe me!
I taught at a Pastors conference where over 50 pastors attended for 2 mornings and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had been asked to speak on integrity as there is corruption even in the churches and the pastors responded well. I also spoke on Peter’s recommissioning which was a teaching to encourage them and agin they responded well.
We taught children’s workers for 4 mornings and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy it – we had lots of fun as we modelled styles of learning using them as if they were children and we had taken some adult gifts to use in the themed games. Here is a video clip of me using a story bag and Cherry acting the farmer who lost his sheep.
In the afternoons we went to various parts of the city to hold outdoor evangelistic meetings. We had over 100 people at each meeting and many responded to the gospel. There were also some significant events when God spoke into individual’s lives and we saw them change as we spoke with them and prayed with them.
Cherry’s singing was greatly appreciated in the evangelistic meetings and when we went to various churches at the weekends.
One Saturday we travelled about 2hrs up into the mountains to a little church at Mumoshu. I have visited this church every time I have gone to Congo and a number of the leaders have trained at the Bible College. In 2010 I had the joy of leading a soldier to Christ in that church – he had come in uniform with his gun in place and I had felt very intimidated by him having had a traumatic time (along with a friend) travelling through Congo, so what a joy it was to lead him to Christ. At this visit I was delighted to see how much the congregation has grown – they have outgrown their little wooden building and are meeting under tarpaulin outside until their new building is built. Oh for more money so we could help them as well!What a blessing it was to spend all our time in spiritual rather than practical work this time.
On Saturday evenings we met with the missionaries who live at the mission station – mainly women – they are wonderful, courageous ladies who serve God in difficult circumstances. I know of missionaries who have had to go home because the strain of living in Congo has made them ill.
One missionary who is a doctor at the Pansy hospital in Bukavu was very low. Rape is a massive problem in Congo and she told us that now children are being raped, in fact in one village alone 23 children have been raped in the last year and the youngest was only 3 1/2yrs old. She is operating to save these children’s lives who are raped and mutilated and left on the streets of the village. She is convinced something demonic is going on in this particular village as no parent or anyone else will admit to knowing who is doing these awful things. There seems to be a veil of secrecy over it.
Please pray for this village and for the Doctor.
Also please pray for these missionaries. There are some nasty situations that they are dealing with and one missionary has received death threats because of what she is having to do.
Boniface told me that he is hoping to start the new build in September and I can report that since returning to the UK I have had news that the old wooden building has been demolished and its all systems go for the new build.
So far I have received £20,000 for the build. Praise God and thank you for your faithful giving, however we need £60,000. Please pray with us for the money to come in, for openings into churches to speak about the project and please pray for Boniface who is taking on this mammoth job of managing the build. I will keep you posted on development.