April 8, 2020

It does not sound like the COVID-19 virus has impacted the rural interior parts of Congo. At least not in areas where our efforts are concentrated.

However, a few of our Ndjoko Punda people are among those quarantined in Kinshasa. Kinshasa is on lock down for 30 days. Some reports suggest it may be lifted earlier, but that remains to be seen.

• Joseph Mbuyi leads our farm to market program. He also was overseeing the construction of the school. (You may recall that Joseph and Daniel returned to Ndjoko Punda after their training in December 2018. https://hope4congo.com/2018/03/09/daniel-and-joseph-return-home/)
• André Kalenga recently graduated from the Protestant University in Kinshasa from their school of theology. (This is the same university Daniel graduated from.)
• André’s wife, Mbombo, trained as a seamstress and is certified to teach. The planned sewing classes will utilize the 10 machines we sent in 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, Joseph traveled to Kinshasa for some medical needs and then helped André purchase supplies for the construction project.

André and his family lived in Kinshasa while we supported him through school. He was making arrangements to move his family (the couple have 6 children) back to Ndjoko Punda when the quarantine was announced. So all of them are held up in Kinshasa.

Once the quarantine is lifted, everyone looks forward to their safe return to Ndjoko Punda where they will all work as a team along with Daniel.


We are so thrilled to see our investments in people

and projects begin to bear healthy fruit.

We look forward to beginning the same efforts at Mukedi with the leadership of Leonard Kiswangi who lives in that area.

Praise and thank the Lord with us. Pray this will be healthy fruit that will remain. And please continue to pray for the people of the DRC.

© 2020 Hope4Congo

March 29, 2020

Some of God’s Beloved People

Hope4Congo continues to forward reports to our readers. Today’s post includes two different perspectives.

Pastor Quarantined in Kinshasa

A Congolese pastor among the quarantined in Kinshasa sent an update via email on March 27. The following are translated excerpts from his update.

“I do not know how the States with their leaders at all levels guide you, but I would like to share with you our painful news in the DRC.

“(Authorities) have made the decision to confine the capital city of Kinshasa for 4 weeks. Let’s say near the end of April 2020. Kinshasa is in a state of emergency . . . isolated from other provinces . . . no flights of aircraft . . . no vehicles, no exits, no entrances . . . to save the 22 provinces not reached (by the coronavirus).

“Thus Kinshasa and its 12 million inhabitants are under quarantine. The big problem . . . the economic crisis which involves the non-payment of wages . . . People live day by day . . . rising food prices . ..

“The brothers and sisters in Kikwit, Mukedi, Kandale, Kamayala, Tshikapa, Kalonda, Nyanga, Mutena, Banga, Ndjoko-Punda, Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi are not affected.

“However, we are mourning 2 Mennonite brothers and 1 sister who died of a long and painful illness:
Rev. Pasteur Ndala of the CEFMC, Former Enos Kangu Swalala, and widow Maman Francoise Kanzenze (aunt sr Colette Ramm).”

MPH Guesthouse

On March 25, the Dunns updated their FB page. The following are excerpts from their message:

Things in DRC change daily and even hourly due to the pandemic. The government announced all domestic travel by plane, road and river will be stopped. Only cargo will be moving.

Because of travel restrictions three guests are stranded at MPH:
A German missionary (Fr Friedhelm, from the Vanga mission hospital, Bandundu) is in mandatory 14 day quarantine since he came back from Germany March 13th. Paul and Marty Law are on a voluntary 14 day quarantine since they arrived from the U.S. They can’t get to Lodja.

The Dunns have kept their distance from their quarantined guests by putting food on disposable plates outside their doors. Once the quarantine is over, the Dunns will ask these guests to help share the chores.

The U.S. Embassy arranged the last evacuation flight for Americans on Thursday night, March 26.

The guesthouse is adequately supplied with food stuff. But there are other challenges. Because the government has limited the number of people in taxis and busses, transport is hard to get and drivers have jacked up prices. The Dunns had to increase what they pay their sentries to reflect the increase in transport.

If the Dunns or their guests catch the virus, there is NO MEDICAL CARE for any of them. They will have to isolate themselves from one another and self-medicate the best they can.

The Dunns testify: “We know that God is Sovereign and nothing surprises him. We use the wisdom he has given us and the faith we have in HIM, to pull us through.”

Encouragement

The pastor quarantined in Kinshasa sent a scripture passage to edify all confined to their homes:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~II Chronicles 7:14

Prayer

Praise God for his faithful servants of all nations who continue to work for the kingdom of God.
Prayer requests for all those in Congo.
• Pray that this pandemic passes quickly.
• Pray about MPH finances. The costs are hitting MPH hard.
• Pray about how you might be able to help.
• Pray for those 12 million quarantined inhabitants in Kinshasa.
• Pray that God would grant wisdom to the Congolese authorities and they would implement it.

The Dunns offer prayers for their family and friends around the globe who are affected by this virus.

The quarantined pastor also sent this prayer: “May our God also keep you, all of you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, scattered throughout the world.”

Amen!

© 2020 Hope4Congo.com


Home Safe

Charles Buller made it home (from Kinshasa to the USA) safely at 4:00 a.m. March 1st. He wrote: “Our plane having tiptoed through powerful thunderstorms swirling through Indiana at that time. Grateful to be on the ground and in the arms of mon cheri (he means his wife, of course).”

I think you will enjoy the story of their return journey as told through photos and descriptions provided by Charles.

h4c-back2civilization
Caravanning our way back to civilization

h4c-mukoso-10pm
Arrival in the village of Mukoso (halfway from Kahemba to Gungu) where we spent the night. We felt dirty and fatigued. The church elders kindly provided heated water for sponge baths and somehow pulled together a fabulous meal for us at 10 o’clock at night.

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Enjoying a group meal . . . good to the last drop.

h4c-ranoutofgas
Due to unusual fuel consumption in one of the vehicles, we ran out of fuel, requiring someone to ride out to us with a 30 liter drum of diesel fuel on the back of his motorbike.

h4c-lookingcool
Aberteen and Andre looking cheerful in the steaming heat of our 8-hour bus ride from Kikwit to Kinshasa.

Praise to God for His Answers to Our Prayers:

  • Praise God for safe return of the CLCN team members
  • Praise God for the healthy ministry that occurred
  • Praise God for the leadership of each team member
  • Praise God for Andre Kalenga’s willing new leadership

h4c-andre-leadershipCharles wrote: “(Andre), the youngest member of our team, stepped up to the task of leading the soccer clinics and won the hearts of the next generation of leaders. Here they bid him farewell in Gungu, giving him as a gift a live rabbit.”
__________________________________________________

Charles will fill us in with more details from their trip as he is able.

Since Andre had to step into new leadership so recently after graduating, he has been on my prayer list. I’ve been thrilled to thank and praise God for what He has done through this young man. No doubt there will be many other things for us to praise God. In the meantime, please continue to pray. ~sk

Prayer Requests:
• The political situation in Congo is still of concern
• A Catholic seminary experienced vandalism
• Wisdom and integrity for those involved in negotiations
• Lessons shared by the CLCN team will have lasting affects in Kahemba & Gungu
• Rest & restoration of the CLCN team members

© 2017 Hope4Congo

From the Bush to the Bush, Part 2

GUEST POST
Today we continue Part 2 of Matthew Harder’s guest post. Click this link to read Part 1.

From the Bush to the Bush, Part 2
by Matthew Harder

The environment of the private Christian college I attended fueled my restlessness. I was surrounded by its monoculture, its materialistic, small sliver of humanity and way of thinking. While this did lead to the redefinition of my personal faith, it also made me realize again, despite my appearance, I did not relate to those around me.

During my sophomore year of college we were forced to choose a major to study. As I tried to decide there was a moment when I was struck with the sense that I wanted to return to Africa. I wanted to build roads, bridges and infrastructure there to help those less fortunate.

This verse ran through my mind:
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required…” Luke 12:48 (NASB)

The eye opening exposure of my youth impacted my desire to return to assist those in need, to try and make the world a better place. I wanted a combined profession—one that suited my personal altruistic drive and quest for adventure.

I had been given a great growing up experience, an exposure to adventure and a world beyond the American shores that didn’t allow me to settle down. Meanwhile I gained a marketable education in civil engineering. Fortunately, my strong points were in the sciences and math.

For several years I worked in the corporate world going through what I considered the pre-requisite process with my sights set on returning to Africa. The restlessness kept me going—an unquenchable thirst for new countries and adventure.

The years dragged on. Finally I caught a break and was hired by an engineering company. They were building critical infrastructure in the war torn country of South Sudan.

I stepped off the airplane in Africa’s suffocating hot humid air. Sweat poured down my back as I stood there. Unique bird calls, sounds of everyday life and vehicles, the friendliness of people all combined to create something familiar and alluring. I felt welcomed by it all.

Even the headaches were somewhat endearing since this was my chosen adventure. It was all part of the package and I just rolled with it.

To further satisfy my restlessness, I returned to Nyanga when I was twenty-five years old. It had been over fifteen years since I was last in that village, ten years since I left Congo (then called Zaire).

The journey from Kinshasa to Nyanga is a story in itself with all the typical Congolese headaches and problems.

End of Part 2
______________________________________________________________________________

This is a good place to stop since it gives us something to look forward to next week. Join us then for Part 3. In the meantime, here are some news items and prayer requests.congo-protest-9-2016-3

News from Congo:

  • According to Reuters, there have been anti-Kabila riots in Kinshasa this week. Estimates vary, but between 30-40 people have been killed or injured. The Congolese government officials now state they will hunt down and punish those responsible for the riots. Link to the full article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-politics-idUSKCN11R1TG
  • Charles Buller and his team from the Congo Leadership Coaching Network arrived in Congo this week. He reported: “…given that streets were still largely vacant due to events of the last two days, we made it into town in 40 minutes (that’s fast!). Very thankful for traveling mercies so far. Thanks for keeping us and our Congolese sisters and brothers in your hearts over these next three weeks. By God’s grace we’ll keep walking forward under the Cloud and Fire (Ex. 13:21).”

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Peace and Stability in Congo. May cooler heads prevail.
  • Pray for Safety and Blessing on the Ministry of the Congo Leadership Coaching Network’s congo-9-2016-1team

congo-protest-9-2016-2______________________________________________________________________________

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© 2016 Hope4Congo

March 2016 Report for Congo Leadership Support Network

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Baking Bread for Hungry Souls

Charles Buller arrived in Congo earlier this month. He and Congolese leaders hoped to print 150 copies for the seminars. Two printers ran non-stop for hours along with other machinery to get the job done. Unfortunately they were only able to make 75 books before they ran out of toner.

Afterward he and two others took the bus from Kinshasa to Kikwit (9 hour ride). The bus was packed as evidenced in the photo. The ride went well except for the time when the bus driver with a cell phone to this ear, headed straight into oncoming traffic so he could get onto the other side of the boulevard. Size does matter when it comes to driving in Congo.

Mputu and Charles along with 75+ passengers
Mputu and Charles along with 75+ passengers

They tried sleeping overnight in the bus along with most of the other passengers, but temperatures inside soared to well over 100 degrees. They had a short night.

Charles has been able to communicate via short phone calls almost daily with family. The first seminar went very well. They appreciate everyone’s prayers. More people showed up than expected. Traditionally, mostly men attend church leadership events, but this time their spouses also attended. Having many pastoral couples attend is a breakthrough for Congo. Leonard did all of the translating. Together, he and Charles sensed the Holy Spirit leading the flow of the seminar.

Please pray for the requests on their Prayer Calendar
The Kikwit Seminar is from March 21 – 24 (Monday – Thursday evening)
March 24 – For deep hunger to engage the peer coaching process as they prepare to take the principles and practices of coaching home
March 25 – For good closure to the seminar and adequate time for the team to debrief this second seminar
March 26 – For safe travel as several team members head back by bus to Kinshasa
March 27 – Preach @ Mbanza Lemba
March 28 – March 29 – Wrap up administrative details and expectations for coaching team
March 30 – Travel back to the U.S.
March 31 – Arrive home

In addition, please pray for Charles’ health. He’s been suffering from a very bad bout of gastro-intestinal distress, which often comes with traveling.

* * *

We’ll return to the testimonies of our Congolese youth after translations are completed. Meanwhile, we need to make a correction to Naomie’s Testimony  (the previous post dated Thursday, March 17, 2016).

Naomie’s name was translated incorrectly. Her name is: Naomie Tite Kangu Kangu.
Corrections have been made to that post as of this writing.

© 2016 Hope4Congo

Bamboo Bicycles, Part 3

421283_166100513559579_308627681_nToday we finish our series on the Congo Transport to Market Bicycle Project. As noted previously Chuck Regier and Craig Calfee traveled to Congo in July 2015. The excerpts taken from their report have been edited for clarity on our website.

Below their report we’ve included a series of photos to illustrate part of the production process. All are labeled.

Next Steps:
1. Work on a more comprehensive business plan. Under consideration are options for a larger production facility in Kinshasa, a number of smaller local producers, and a combination of these.
2. Improve the supply chain for both locally available and imported parts. Ease of communication for key contacts is critical. A smart phone was purchased for UPDAP allowing better and more frequent communication.
3. A return trip to Khoma by Chuck and Craig is needed within six months.
4. Shipping another set of parts to the Congo soon is important to maintain project momentum and meet the greater project goals.
5. Engineering and sourcing an improved shifter design.

Your Support is Essential
Although the goal of the Congo Transport to Market Bicycle Project is to create a profitable self-sustaining enterprise, it still relies on contributions as the concept is tested and refined. To reduce overhead and keep the project nimble and simple they have not created a new organization, but are working with existing ones already involved in Congo: Hope International Development Agency and African Inter-Mennonite Mission.

For more information about the project including how to donate, click on this link to their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CongoTransportBikeProject

New bamboo curing oven loaded with smoked and drying frames/bamboo tubes
New bamboo curing oven loaded with smoked and drying frames/bamboo tubes

Preparing fiber to mix with epoxy and wrap the frame
Preparing fiber to mix with epoxy and wrap the frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Craig and UPDAP coord. Nico Kassama show the wrapped frame and rack to a Nyangan pastor

Label: Maker's Pride
Label: Maker’s Pride

 

 

 

 

Chuck on the plane headed back to Kinshasa with a just completed transport bike ready to be taken to other parts of Congo for demonstration.
Chuck on the plane headed back to Kinshasa with a just completed transport bike ready to be taken to other parts of Congo for demonstration.

©2016 Hope4Congo