Dear Friends and Supporters of this ministry,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is my report for the twelfth and last week of ministry on this 2014 African Safari.
Tuesday to Thursday, November 18 to 20; Pastor's seminar, Community of Pentecostal Churches in Africa (C.E.P.A.C.), Bukavu, Dem. Rep. of Congo:
Pastor Samwel Kabunga came to the Norwegian Pentecostal guest house to welcome me as soon as I arrived in Bukavu.
Seventy-six pastors came for each of the three days of seminar at Sayoni Pentecostal Church, the largest church in Bukavu.
I taught on the three subjects for which I have prepared notes; "The Work of the Holy Spirit", "Giving from Pastoral Ministries", and a brief presentation of "The Second Coming of the Lord".
The pastors especially appreciated the teaching on the Holy Spirit and Giving from Pastoral Ministries. Only five of the pastors present receive enough to live on from their church offerings. It was revealing when most admitted that they themselves were not tithing. It will take a real step of faith for them to start tithing.
By way of history, in about 1996, after I taught on Giving in a pastor's seminar in the old church, Pastor Samwel took up their first offering for a missionary. Pas. Samwel started the building fund with his own pension funds. He told us that the new church has been built without funds from their denomination, mostly from local supporters, and some from foreign sources.
Thursday, November 20; Bethanie Church, Bukavu:
Pastor Baka Wa Bana greeted me to his church.
I preached on, "Predestination and Free Will". Although this was a difficult topic, I was invited to return again.
Pastor Baka Wa Bana is one of the most prosperous business men in Bukavu. He has used his profits to build a church and school. They are in the process of building a beautiful church building with marble floors. Their worship team sang in harmony the best of any church on this safari. They gave me a copy of their latest CD.
Friday, November 21; Calvary Assembly of God Church, Bukavu:
Pastor Bunyema was at the pastor's seminar at Bukavu Bible Institute. He arranged for me to speak at Calvary, where Pastor P. Baylon Ntalisire is now appointed pastor.
I preached on a brief presentation of, The Work of the Holy Spirit.
After the service, Pastor Ntalisire took me around their new building. Because it is on a small plot of ground, the first floor is the sanctuary, the second floor is the balcony, and the third is church offices.
By way of history, when the Willners were resident missionaries in Bukavu from January 1993 to May 1994, we were associate missionaries with the African leadership of the American Assemblies of God to obtain our resident visas. I gave some of the first funds to start building Calvary Church.
Pastor Prosper Ruviga was then the pastor of Calvary Church. He asked me to help him to come to Canada and the U.S. When Ruviga returned to Bukavu, he raised $10,600 fraudulently by claiming that if parents would complete the application forms he had brought from a Bible school in the U.S. that their children would receive a visa and a scholarship. Ruviga used those funds to carry his wife and family to live in the U.S. When these parents realized that they had been defrauded, they took Pas. Ntalisire to court and he was imprisoned several times until the church and he were able to pay back all of these funds.
In spite of this tumultuous road, Nralisire has been able to continue to build a beautiful church building and ministry.
Saturday, November 22; Scandinavian Missionary Fellowship, Bukavu:
This meeting was in the home of another Scandinavian missionary. Charlene from the U.S., Christine from Sweden, and two other missionary ladies attended. One of them spoke on the prostitute Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus with oil for his burial. I never realized that this Mary was the sister of Mary and Lazarus, who was raised from the dead.
Sunday, November 23; Community of the Assemblies of God in Africa (C.A.D.A.F.), Panzi, Bukavu:
Rev. Eciba Lutho, the head of C.A.D.A.F. invited me to minister at the C.A.D.A.F. church in Panzi. The pastor there now is Aoci Ebongya, the former head of C.A.D.A.F.
Again, I preached an abbreviated sermon on, "The Work of the Holy Spirit".
The church has been able to do some more work on their building since I was there two years ago.
The Return Trip Home:
When I left the Norwegian guest house on Sunday morning, I had packed all of my luggage to take with me to Panzi. So, right after church, Ghamma Mulindwa's driver took me to the taxi that I had rented to go to Bujumbura, Burundi. The taxi took me to an economical hotel downtown.
The next morning, a taxi took me to the airport. As I was boarding the plane, I met one of the airport staff who used to see us off on Air Burundi to Kalemie in 1981 to 1984. It was so nice to catch up.
On the plane from Bujumbura to Nairobi, I sat with the Dutch ambassador to Rwanda, and had some interesting discussions about conditions in several African countries.
On the plane from Nairobi to Amsterdam, I had a most unbelievable experience. To make conversation, I asked what my seatmate did. He was a retired veterinarian business man. When I told him that I was a missionary, he said that he went to the Avenue Road (Canadian) Pentecostal Church in Nairobi. I told him that I had been a missionary in Meru, Kenya. He said he was from Meru. I was able to greet him in the Meru language. When I gave him my business card, he said that he knew about my ministry and that of Joseph Mugo! He invited me to preach in his home in Nairobi if I go again to Africa. That was so amazing! Only God could have seated us next to each other. It was like God was saying He is pleased with my ministry over all of these years in Africa.
I was very thankful that my son, Jeff, had arranged for me to fly business class. So I was very thankful for the food, email access, and lounge to rest in the business lounges in Nairobi and Amsterdam. That also meant that I was able to lie down and sleep on the airplanes from Nairobi to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to Toronto.
My wife, Gloria, and my daughters, Ruth and Mina, met me at the Toronto airport. And my daughter, Christine, called to welcome me home. Gloria and I went home with Ruth to rest for the night. We arrived safely back in our home in Harrod, Ohio, on Wednesday.
This has been one of the most rewarding African safaris of my ministry. God has moved in amazing ways, especially with the teaching on, The Work of the Holy Spirit. With a little more prayer and waiting on God, it seems that revival will be breaking out.
Also, praise the Lord that He kept me well on this safari. My foot, where I have had several ulcers in the past, was actually better when I returned home than when I left.
Again, thank you to each of you who have supported me in this missionary Bible teaching ministry. Praise God that all of the expenses for this safari have been met. Your continued support would be appreciated for the ongoing monthly commitments that Open Word is sending each month to several ministries. You may send your donations to one of the post box addresses in the signature block. May the Lord bless you.
Yours together in His harvest, Charles Willner
Open Word Ministries:
P.O. Box 625, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada L2E 6V5
P.O. Box 5001, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A. 65801