Together with Gloria and Ruth in Bukavu 2006

Dear Friends,

Here is the Bukavu report from the week of Monday to Friday, June 15 to 19.

We arrived in Bukavu one day early because the boat schedule from Kalemie to Uvira was changed. We returned on the same freight boat, finding accommodation in one of the same staff room of a Christian.

Gloria and slept in a single bed, and Ruth slept on top of the luggage on an air mattress. There was smoked fish on the boat, so there were cock roaches everywhere, including getting in our hair.

The Hagemeiers packed a wonderful lunch for us of sandwiches, cheese, and best of all cold water with frozen ice in it. We arrived in Uvira on Sunday morning, too late to go to church. So we rented a taxi to climb the mountain road to Bukavu so that we would not cancel our Congo visas by going through Rwanda on the paved road.

The view from the escarpment was spectacular as we wound around dirt roads always looking down hundreds of feet to the Ruzizi River which is the border of Burundi and Rwanda on the east with Congo on the west.

It took six and a half hours instead of four. We found accommodations at the Norwegian Pentecostal Mission. Ingeborg came to Congo when she was eighteen to teach school. In her eighties now, she is still full of life and friendliness. What a blessing to get a hot bath and wash away all that dust.

Monday we ministered for the first time at the Oasis Church where Matthew Wilonja is pastor. In a small wooden building down a steep slope he has a church, small Bible school and a ministry to violated women. The women who have no place to go sleep in the church on the wooden benches and do their wash beside the church.

I was able to minister an impassioned message on, Turning Your Troubles Into Blessings. While they were looking for material help, many came forward to forgive those who had violated them, and to be loosed from the shame and despair they are living with.

Nine of his Bible school students graduated with the B.B.I. students below. Tuesday, was the graduation of thirteen students from the Bukavu Bible Institute where Malanda Ubonga is the director. I taught in this school in 1992 and '93. I have helped Malanda itinerate twice in the US and Canada to raise support for his ministries. He was a wonderful help in making arrangements for the boat and guest houses.

On Wednesday, we had good fellowship with some Christian business men and their wives at the new home of Ghamma and Madoe, although they were in Dubai buying and having a rest. I spoke on, The Children of God, how we should raise our children. There was a good meal afterwards, although Ruth had to go home without it because her stomach was so upset.

Earlier, we had fellowship with the Rich and Kathy McDonald. They have been here for more than forty years all through the civil wars. He was the purchasing agent for the US Information Center. For the last twenty years, he has the first Christian short wave radio station, in association with HCJB Equador.

Thursday, we went down to Bujumbura, Burundi in preparation for Ruth to leave on Friday for home. We got the last room at the Anglican guest house, where again Ruth had to sleep on the floor on cushions with the bugs. The food was good. When we went to the airport the next morning at 7:00 am, we found that Kenya Airways had resheduled for 1:00 pm. Our Christian taxi driver took us to a nearby snack bar to wait.

After Ruth's plane arrived, Gloria and I went to the Congo embassy to buy a one month several entries visa so that we would not have to travel on that mountain road again. But Friday evening, we were settled in a clean, efficient and economical motel in Uvira, Congo.

I will report on our adventure to go to Fizi and back. Needless to say, we made it, and are safely back at the Norwegian guest house in Bukavu. We will be here for a week before Gloria goes back to Ohio.

Thank you for your prayers for us, for the anointing on my preaching, for health and safety as we travel. We also want to thank the Lord for His provision for all the expenses of this ministry. Everywhere we go there are people living in desperate conditions. But the ministry of the Word to these beautiful people is so much appreciated by them.

Charles Willner

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