Praise the Lord, Christine and I arrived safely back in Bukavu this morning!
When we arrived at the airport at 7:00 am, we were told that the pilots had cut the boarding list from 27 to 21, and we would have to fly another day. But we patiently waited and I prayed. One of the baggage handlers is an elder at one of the churches whom I have know for 25 years. He told us we were being discussed. Finally we boarded and left for the flight here. We did manage to take our paper work in to Monuc on Thursday by 5:00 pm.Friday June 30 was Independence Day in Congo. So Christine and I slept in and did some emails in the afternoon, and on Saturday.
On Sunday, I went with Ghamma to the church they are starting at Kamisimbi, about an half hour's drive out in the country, now that the roads are being repaired. The elders have built an elementary school made of sticks and boards all painted black. They are hoping to use the old church to start a secondary school soon. They had the walls up for a church 50 ft by 75 ft. But they did not use enough cement, so when the rains came the walls collapsed. I preached on, A Body Is Being Prepared. Several of the elders said that was the best word they had heard me preach.
Christine went to Sayoni to interview several of the young people on what they thought of economical development in Congo. She got most of the clothes she had ordered. But some of them are still being altered. The owner who was doing her clothes became sick with malaria.
Sunday evening, I was invited to the Scandinavian missionary prayers. It was a special service to honor Christina, who is the hostess of the guest house. She has been here four years working in the head office. According to their rules, she has to go home for a year of R&R. She hopes to teach school in Sweden for a year. I preached from Paul's farewell to the church at Ephesus and compared it to Christine's work here. She has worked here for many years through civil wars and many difficulties. She explained that sometimes when she makes a suggestion at the office, it is not accepted until later. Then the office leadership understands her suggestions and put it in an African context and it works.
Monday morning, Christine and I went to the Pentecostal Mission in Other Lands office, where Leonart made a requisition for Christine to be given a place on the flight to Kalemie. I had received a thank you letter for all the humanitarian aid I had brought from Sayoni Church on Sunday afternoon. We were able to get these in to the Monuc office by 9:30 am. When we came back at 4:30 pm, we were approved for the flight to Kalemie. So on Tuesday afternoon we flew down on a Russian Antenov jet prop.
Stephanie Hagemeier had called Gloria and gotten our phone number. So she was at the airport to meet us. She treated us with the utmost hospitality during the week that we were there. We were spoiled with three meals a day, and a video each evening with her and her African girls, two of whom she has adopted. She also loaned me her Toyota land cruiser to go to most of my meetings. She also took us to the beach on Lake Tanganyika one afternoon where we skipped vine with the girls and they went wading.
My letters which I had sent on May 11, arrived there after we did. So no one knew we were coming except Stephenie and pastor Masangu to whom I had sent emails in May. But I had to reschedule their meetings also as we arrived four days later than planned.
So on Wednesday, Christine and I went around and visited pastors, and she visited the Garanganze mission on Konkomba where she had grown up. The really neat thing for her was to visit the Filtisaf Cotton Company hospital. She took a picture of the operating table and the room where she was born!
On Wednesday evening, I preached at the Int'l Bible Inst. service on, Godly Seed, emphasizing that God made families. There were about 40 there, as it is school break and all the Bible school students are on break.
Thursday, I visited the Cranford Memorial Clinic which I had helped build and open 25 years ago. They have converted Fred and Beulah Gardner's house to a maternity clinic. I took lots of pictures this time. A UN truck visited with water while I was there. I preached at the Assemblies of God on Stewardship. There were about 50 there for mid-week service.
Friday, I preached at Salem Four Corners church on Grace. The church was almost full with 150 for a specially-called service for me. They remembered the messages I had preached there other years. They so much appreciated the message, especially that we should not let our salvation slip away like a ship not tied to the dock.
On Sunday morning, I preached at Masangu's Epiphany church where 260 gathered. They also remember the message I had preached last year. This year I preached on His Riches for Our Poverty. They made a meal of chicken and rice, and packed a bag of my favorite peanuts.
On Sunday afternoon, I ministered at the Garanganze Mission on Converting Trouble into Blessing. Frederick commented afterwards that they would not have had their new elementary school built by the Norwegian Refugee Council if it had not been for the war. There were 50 there. There was a new youth choir since last year.
On Monday, I preached at the Grace Church on Prayer. There were 69 people there for a special service. This church has a female overseer, Nyota - star, who was my student 25 years ago.
I will stay here in Bukavu for two days and see that Christine is settled in her volunteer position at P.M.U. Then I will go to Fizi for a week to check on the Bible school progress and construction. Then Pas. London has promised for me to speak at Sayoni and hold the youth rally on the 23rd.Pray for accountability from the brethren and willingness to continue development of the Bible school. They are expecting more students in September. Christine and I will cross the border on the 24th. Ingeborg has warned us that the border will be closed before the elections on July 30 to keep Rwandese from coming over and voting for their candidates. We will fly to Kigali on Tuesday and fly to Kenya on Friday.
Thank you for your prayers and support. The Lord bless you all real good.