Updated 8 June 2009
With three thousand kilometers behind us, and as many to go, the mission is going extremely well. Our new Toyota Corolla Station Wagon is a tremendous blessing to the ministry.
Pastor Augustine Nyinsinga, our partner in Central Africa, my friend Phillip Haynes from Atlanta, Georgia and I have visited three churches and associated projects in Rwanda and Burundi over the past week. Land has been purchased in Gihara, Rwanda for a church and school. Meetings with the Governor of Murumvya Provence, Rwanda and Administrator of Beterera Sector, Burundi have resulted in gifts of land for church and school projects.
Additionally, we have introduced 250 Water Purification Devises into the remote villages where we have churches. In these villages waterborne disease is a continual threat to the lives of the new Saints.
We have been blessed to partner with Kingdom Fellowship Church of Central Africa in the planting of a brand new church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC).
You may know that the DRC has been embroiled in a conflict with rebels in its northeastern region for the last several years. While hostilities have slowed tensions remain high within the region. Heavily armed UN peacekeeping forces, and the DRC military, have a huge presence in the area and patrol twenty-fours hours a day.
The cities of northeast DRC are filled with refugees fleeing from the brutality of the rebels. The streets are filled with women and children who have lost their husbands, many raped by men infected with HIV.
It is in this tumultuous region that this new church has been planted.
Approximately thirty kilometers due north of Goma lies the village of Mudja. It is inhabited by 7200 Batwa Pygmy's and people from the Bakumu Tribe. There are no evangelical churches in the area. However, I was very surprised when I asked the Batwa Elder what religion he was. "True Bahai", he replied.
We must not forget that evangelical Christians are not the only people who hope to spread their beliefs throughout the world. Cults of every kind send their representatives "to the ends of the earth", as well. This knowledge alone should cause us to intensify our commitment to investing time, energy and resources into the work of combating the message of death spread by the evil one.
The Mudja village elders have committed to give land for the church and a pastor will be posted there by Kingdom Fellowship Churches.
To make matters worse, the village lies only 10 kilometers from Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano. Half of the city of Goma was destroyed in 2002 when Nyiragongo erupted. Recently, scientist have recorded increased activity and heat coming from Mount Nyiragongo, and its sister volcano, Mount Nyamulagira, which lies 25 kilometers away. Experts are predicting that Nyamulagira may soon erupt.
The villagers in Mudja can see clouds of steam and smoke coming from Mount Nyiragongo and the air in the area is frequently thick with volcanic ash. By night, you can often see the red glow of burning lava trickling out of the summit of the nearest volcano.
We were unable to use our own car to get to Mudja. The terrain is covered by rough lava flows and rocks making it necessary to borrow and 4WD SUV.
For us, living in the shadow of an active volcano is far from our reality. We live safely within the cocoon of our suburban American lives. We have more than we can consume. Even in our recession we enjoy a standard of living far above the rest of the world. For us, there is little sense of urgency to change anything within our comfortable lives. But for the villagers of Mudja, who live in imminent danger, news of a Savior who offers eternal life, brings joy and comfort and peace as never before. It is a change that they will exuberantly embrace.
Looking forward, I begin the second half of the mission today. Pastor Reuben ole Tiges, the Bishop of our partner churches in Kenya and Tanzania and I will dedicate three new church structure and visit our church and school at Lake Jipe Orkung'u, Kenya.
Watch for the full story, and photos, in the coming weeks!
I pray that we all realize that there are many worthwhile projects to support. However, there is nothing more important than the eternal salvation of the lost. Please prayerfully consider supporting our work so that we continue on.
May God Bless You,