April 10, 2017

This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written.  It may be the most difficult, so far.  Please read it to the end, and please continue to PRAY.

We have been asking for prayer for the Democratic Republic of Congo for years.  The DRC is not a “stable” country. The DRC is not an easy place to live or minister.  And yet, this is where God sent us.  This is where our church family is. This is where we minister and pour our hearts into others. This is our home.  This is where our kids are growing up.  This is where we have seen God do absolutely amazing things.

When we moved to the interior, we told you that the majority of the conflicts in this country were happening in the east of the DRC.  It was true.  There has been fighting on the eastern boarder for decades.  It is nowhere near us, and did not affect us or our ministry.  We live in an area of fishermen and farmers. They don’t want conflict, they just want to be able to feed their families. We live in a very peaceful area.

Things have changed.  There is now a major conflict in the neighboring province to our east.  Where we live in Dibaya-Lubwe, we are on the east side of our province, which makes this conflict a bit close for comfort.  The militia are violent and have been targeting foreigners as well as people that are not from their tribe.  Many have been killed.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

We have sought the advice of many. We have prayed.  Wow, have we prayed!

While the immigration officers, both local and provincial, have assured us that “this conflict will not be allowed to cross into our province”, we are unsure they can deliver on that promise.  There are many details that are difficult to explain. Briefly, if the militia does cross the border on the main road, we will be cut off and unable to drive out; if they cross the border on the river, we will be right in their path. Either way would be undesirable, for sure.

In addition to the problems with our neighbors to the east, Kinshasa to our west is also in disorder.  Today, marches were scheduled in protest against the current president.  Many are calling for people to take up arms against the current administration and defend their country’s constitution, which has an article obliging them to fight against anyone trying to become a dictator.

The DRC seems to be falling apart all around us; literally surrounding us with conflicts on every side.  If things were different… If we didn’t have children…  If a lot of things… we may not be writing this letter. 

One of our many questions has been: When is it time to leave?  After much prayer, we decided to follow Paul’s example while in Thessalonica in Acts chapter 17.  When “the brethren” told Paul and Silas to leave, they did. Until yesterday, the church leaders here said it was best to stay.  We stayed. Yesterday they said, “It’s time to go.” Our sending church in America has given us the same counsel.

This is not an emergency!  We do not feel in imminent danger! However, we do feel that if we wait too long, it may be too late to leave safely. We are looking at leaving here next weekend, or the beginning of next week.  This will give time for the things in Kinshasa to calm down a bit. We will be monitoring the situation there so we can hit Kinshasa during a good window to enter the city.

Where do we go? This has been another of our many questions.  At this point, we will be going to Kinshasa. We have a place to stay.  We will be with other Americans who will be asking the same questions that we are.  We will continue to seek a multitude of counsel. Proverbs 11:14.

“Evacuation” seems like such an ugly word. It seems so permanent and so urgent. For now, let’s not use that word. We are not leaving in the dead-of-night, or suddenly without time to pack or prepare. Dibaya has been so very peaceful and we expect our trip to be peaceful as well.  We fully intend to return.  Prayerfully, this is not good-bye to Dibaya or the ministry in which we have labored and love.

We anticipate that you will be asking many questions as well.  How long will you be away from Dibaya-Lubwe? How much of the ministry will be able to go on in your absence? Besides praying, what can we do?  The simple answer to all these questions is: We do not know.

Yes, please pray!

~Pray for us to have wisdom and a whole lot of grace.

~Pray for us, as we pack up our recently unpacked house. Not knowing the answers to so many questions makes it hard to know what to pack, and how to pack.

~Please pray for our kids as they are uprooted yet again.  Most of the time we have several weeks, if not months, to prepare for a transition.  This one is coming upon us quickly, and with a lot of uncertainty.  Things tend to get a bit tense, especially between siblings, while we are in the middle of big transitions.  This one is HUGE. We just now got into a routine and the kids have been doing really well in school.  This will effectively demolish our routine, and put us even further behind in school. (Furlough is not home school friendly; neither is transition.)

~Pray for the Bible Institute. Things are going surprisingly well in this ministry right now, and it will be so difficult to leave when things seem to finally be moving in the right direction. Sparky is hoping to finish teaching the Baptist Doctrines class on Friday.  He has recorded some of the other classes on MP3 and will be leaving SD cards so at least those classes can be listened to in our absence. 

~Pray for the classroom building.  Thanks to generous gifts toward this project, we are going to be able to leave some finances and here to finish rebuilding the classroom.  Please pray for the men working on it to work safely, but also for them to do a good job without us here as “quality control”.

~Please pray for Beautiful Feet Baptist Church.  Pastor Emmanuel is doing a fine job in preaching and leading this congregation. The church has some good deacons to help him continue to lead well and help point the church in the right direction.  They have grown so much in the last 5+ years, but they still have a long way to go. Please pray they will continue to follow Biblical principles!

~Pray for us while we are in Kinshasa, that we will profit from this time to do some administration and other ministries that will be a benefit those in Kinshasa as well as here in Dibaya.

~Pray that we will be able to return home soon, but always in God’s will and timing.

We have been in close communication with our sending church, and will continue to be in contact with them as much as possible. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our whereabouts or what decisions we are making, please feel free to contact them at notusfirstbaptist@gmail.com. We cannot guarantee we will be reachable, but please also feel free to contact us via email. Please know that we will be in touch as much as we can.

Thank you for your continued support during this turbulent time in our ministry.  We can’t tell you enough how important it is to us to have a solid support team behind us.  You are valuable! Thank you.

In His service,
The Clancy Family