There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4-6)
Along with the day-to-day tasks of administering budgets, developing course curriculum and constructing buildings, we do well to remind ourselves that our primary motivation is the Great Commission: going into all the world, making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything God has commanded in His Word. To that end, teaching solid doctrine is paramount (Eph 4:4-16), and everything flows from that. Our African staff members tend to these duties daily, while our American team gets to join in at our annual Congo Bible Camp. So we’re thankful to God that the Covid restrictions are, for the most part, behind us now, and our international travel can resume relatively unimpeded.
Congo Bible Camp
This year, our annual Congo Bible Camp took place in the city of Goma. It’s been about ten years since we last met here. John Gakuru, our primary contact in Goma, arranged for me to speak at a 3-day regional conference at his church prior to the week-long conference we had with our annual deaf group. John chose “The Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man” as the title for his conference, and was well attended by a number of people from his church network. I confess I had mixed emotions when the conference ended and a number of people asked me for my PowerPoint files, saying they’d never heard these verses before. While I’m thrilled that many of them gained a deeper appreciation and excitement for God’s Word, I’m also sad that the fields are so white for harvest. They insisted I come back next year. We’ll see what the Lord has in store.
Our camp with the deaf also went very well. We had about 130 people from ~15 different cities in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Our morning classes continued our extended study through the book of Genesis, focusing on the lives of Isaac and Jacob. Our evening classes dealt with hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible) and lectures on God’s sovereignty. Among the many conversations I had with various attendees, two people stood out: Didi Luanda, a Roman Catholic, and Chance Bakunzi, a Muslim. They both had very poignant questions about the Protestant Christian faith. Please keep them in your prayers.
Democratic Republic of Congo
We praise God that our new classrooms in Baraka were completed this year! Although Covid disruptions to the supply chain caused the project to run $7,000 over budget, the school was finished just in time for the 2022-2023 school year. We still have several administrative buildings and fencing to erect, so pray with us that these can be completed soon.
In the spring of 2023, we plan to begin construction of our new school in Uvira. We’ve long outgrown the 2-building facility, and to make matters worse, the landlord wants us to vacate the premesis. Pray that we’ll be able to complete this project before the 2023-2024 school year starts in October.
After much labor, our administrative buildings have been completed, and construction of the second story of our multi-purpose building began in March. Progress is slow, but as of this writing (November, 2022), the 2nd story walls are mostly up, the 1st floor rooms are already in use, and construction of the roof will begin soon. It’s exciting to see it all come together now!
We had quite a scare in the late summer. The annual flooding of the Chari River was the worst it’s been since 1990. Hundreds of thousands of Chadians were affected, and a number of parents of our deaf school brought their kids to our school for safekeeping till the waters subsided and homes repaired. Director Yves reports that although the increase in students boarding was unexpected, it was a welcome opportunity to minister to the displaced families. We’re thankful for our many friends in the USA who rushed in to help carry the financial burden.
This year, our oldest and youngest kids got married! Micah, our daughter, married in October and moved to Pennsylvania with Zach, her new husband. Daniel and his wife, Annie, were married in April and live in Fort Worth. We’re now ready to become grandparents! Noelle, our middle child, moved back home with us about a year ago, and expects to move out again in the spring. We’re also beginning to plan for Sheryl’s mother’s declining health. She’s having a hard time with mobility and will be relying on us more and more.
Truly, your prayers are coveted.