Rebuilding Kalembe Bible Institute, Fizi, Congo, November 2005:

 

"There are signs of the war everywhere. The Free Methodist missionary told me that all the roofs were looted and the doors burnt from every one of their 180 school buildings, and all the equipment at their hospital at Nundu was stolen. Soldiers burnt all of her papers and chopped up her piano for firewood. It is the same for every mission and government building and most houses in eastern Congo. Thank God that now there are several non-governmental organizations helping to rebuild in eastern Congo.

 

The Norwegian Refugee Council is building hundreds of new primary schools, and thousands of mud-brick houses for refugees. ACTED, an Italian N.G.O., is resurfacing hundreds of kilometres of roads using 300 manual laborers, which has created many more jobs. The International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Tear Fund, and CARITAS (the Catholic relief organization), are also helping. While I was in Baraka, the first of 250 refugees brought from Tanzania by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees were marching down the streets singing. The UNHCR are repatriating 800 people a week. Even at this rate, it will take more than two years to return the 100,000 who fled to Tanzania, some as long as ten years ago. So there is a feeling of hope in the country once again.

 

"Several times while I was in Bukavu, the director of the Kalembelembe Bible Institute, Ekyochi Eciba, and the head of the Assemblies of God, Ebongya Aoci, met with me about our plans to rebuild the Bible school. Aoci purchased $500 US/$625 CA of tools in Bukavu. We carried these 120 kms/72 mi. to Uvira at the head of Lake Tanganyika. There Aoci and two local pastors purchased $4,500 US/$5,625 CA of materials. Aoci traveled 100 kms/60 mi with these to Baraka. The first load was carried 36 kms/21 mi to Fizi by a Norwegian Refugee Council truck.

 

"I finally arrived in Fizi on Tuesday, October 11. At a meeting with the elders, we agreed to rebuild a classroom building they had purchased and make it into a dormitory 25 m/70 ft by 6.5 m/ 20 ft. So I drew up plans to divide two of the class rooms, one into an office and teacher's accommodations, the other into an office and dining room. The third classroom is to be a student dormitory. The youth of the Assemblies of God church had hired 10,000 bricks in a kiln. They agreed to sell them to us for half of their asking price, $400 US/$500 CA.

 

"When Aoci did not return as expected from Uvira with the second load of materials, Eciba and I set out to find him. It had taken two days to get enough passengers to make a full load. This time, Aoci negotiated with the truck driver to bring our materials all the way to Fizi. So, we negotiated with them to bring five cubic metres of sand. They brought less than three, but I still paid them the agreed price of $150. In the middle of the night, I woke up praying about how to get more sand and gravel. The next day, we went back to Acted, who had already refused us. We "happened" to meet with the top men in charge, one of them being a Pentecostal church elder from Sayoni Church in Bukavu! They agreed to give us the use of one of their trucks and drivers to go 101 kms/60 mi return to Lweba. There we found five cubic metres of gravel collected from the lake by one of the elders of the Assemblies of God church. He sold the truck load for $15, giving us a $5 discount.

 

"With all the materials finally in Fizi, including lumber, metal roof, cement, sand, gravel, and reinforcing rods; the Bible school students, Aoci, Eciba, and I set out in earnest to get as much work done on the building as possible in the remaining week and half. First, the Lord showed me how to make the forms for a cement sill on top of the exterior walls for the reinforced metal rods, which took three days to build. Then we made ten roof trusses in a little more than two days. Another two days were spent repairing the windows and doors, and two corners which had been shot out during the war. Finally, two days were spent putting in the footings for two walls to divide two classrooms, and for the ten pillars to support the trusses and to made a veranda across the front of the building.

 

"Unfortunately, my time was finished. So, Eciba and the students were left to put on the roof. The forms for the sills will have to be taken down, and cleaned off, because these are the boards that the carpenter will useto make five doors and thirteen windows. Then they will have to lift the heavy hard wood trusses to the top of the building and put them in place with the metal banding that we embedded in the cement sill. They will haveto nail the strapping in place in order to put on the metal roof. Finally, the brick pillars will be built up under the trusses

Kalembe Bible Institute

Fizi, Congo

"When I arrived back in Bukavu, my friend, Ghamma, was led to loan me $300 US/$375 CA to buy the wooden straps needed to nail the metal roofing onto the trusses. Aoci promised to take them to Fizi, and pay the students to finish putting on the roof! All in all, I was amazed at how the Lord helped with this project! The Lord used Aoci to negotiate the lowest prices for materials and "road tax" (soldiers pay). He loaded the first truck without breakfast. He slept on the road, literally, for two nights.

 

"I thank the Lord also for Eciba who ministered to my personal needs. He purchased food for the daughter of the head pastor to cook. He heated my bath water each evening. He was in charge of the tool room to make sure all the materials were returned safely each evening. And now he is carrying on the project to make sure it is finished. Among the students, there were three students with masonry experience and two familiar with carpentry. Praise the Lord that the students worked in unity and we had a lot of fun. I praise the Lord for the good weather, with only one afternoon that we had to go  home because it was too hot. Most days were cloudy so it was cool. One or two days it rained, but for only an hour or two. I am thankful for the taxi which brought me to Fizi for reasonable prices. And the Lord helped us with transportation of materials and ourselves when we did not have our own vehicles.

 

"I left Bukavu by bus on Monday, October 31. On Tuesday, I flew from Kigali to Nairobi, and on to London, England. On Wednesday, I flew from London to Toronto arriving safely at noon, on November 2.

"Thank you to all who helped provide for this mission safari in Kenya and Congo, and those who provided all the funds to rebuild the Fizi Bible school. The Lord bless you all. Thank the Lord for his faithfulness."

 

Excerpt from, "Missions Report from 2005 Safari" - Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania are still in recovery of the devastating ethnic genocide cleanse of 1994 that spanned through all three neighbouring countries. For more on this war see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide 

 

To read the rest of the report, click here:

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Email: charleswillner@yahoo.com