March 04, 2020

DRC Feb 2020

It is always such a challenge to write a prayer letter just after returning from the DR Congo.  Where do we start? SO much happened! God is doing SO MUCH!  We are overwhelmed.  We don’t want to overwhelm all of you.

And so, we will take the next few months to unpack a bit of the DRC happenings.  Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to process, and give us more prayer letter “real estate” in order to communicate better, include more details, and add a few pictures. 

Mike Webster was an incredible blessing to have along! He had a marvelous attitude and was so flexible.  You will see him in pictures and we will be referring to him a lot as we tell you about this trip.

The Ups and Downs
American life is busy and often feels a bit like a go-kart race.  Congo is more of a rollercoaster ride. The downs seem lower, the ups higher, and we tend ride from one extreme to the next quite quickly and unexpectedly.  True to Congo fashion, this trip was no different.  On our way back to the capitol city, we were packing up the tent from what should have been our last night on the road.  Sparky asked Mike, “Are you looking forward to a hot shower and flushing toilet tonight?” to which Mike answered, “I’ve been in Congo long enough to know not to look that far ahead.” Good point. (We ended up NOT getting showers and toilets that night, as we arrived early the next morning.)

As we recount the happenings, don’t get discouraged with the “downs” as there are so many amazing things to tell you about that are so exciting! Nearly all the “downs” had a corresponding and greater “up” that God allowed us to see.  He truly works evil for good and can turn discouragement into triumph! 

No one to pick us up at the airport

How many times have you thanked someone for being late? Or thankful for a traffic jam? We were so glad our driver got stuck in traffic when we arrived!  We got a chance to witness to all these men for over an hour in the parking lot … and got see how blown away Mike was at their openness to hearing the Gospel.

Where are all the Bibles?

Rumor has it, they are stuck at customs due to lack of funds to get them out. It’s been a long time since there were simply no Bibles to buy in Kinshasa.  Instead of being able to purchase cases, we had to search for and buy them one at a time.  This cost a bit more, as we weren’t dealing in bulk quantities, and took a lot more time.  The ones we were able to buy went quickly when we got to the interior.  Usually we are able to leave a good stock of Bibles in the interior, however this time we left NO Bibles at the Bible Institute.  Please pray for the customs issue to be resolved and for the Bibles to be available again.  We left funds to purchase several cases as soon as they are available.  Now we wait.

We have seen a distinct increase in how people are valuing the Word of God.  Sometimes God allows for things to be limited so we appreciate what we have even more.  Could this be the reason for this “down”? Perhaps.  

True Congo Experience

God provided for Mike to get a true Congo travel experience.  They weren’t the worst roads we’ve seen, but they were the slowest.  It took us three days to get from Kinshasa to Dibaya-Lubwe! At one point, we rounded a corner to find the road was completely washed away in front of us.  This meant we got to spend an unplanned night in the nearest village. Mike was very thankful for the tent, as he got quite up-close and personal with some bats, with only the tent between them. In the morning, we were able to spend some time with a high school professor that had extremely good questions about the Bible and Christianity.  We were able to put him in touch with a near-by pastor to help with any further questions and invited him to come to Bible Institute.  He seemed very interested and we look forward to touching base with him again this summer! It was so worth the delay, extra night in tents, and road work!! We were able to hire about 20 of the village men to help build us a new road to avoid the eroded one. After hours of hard work, we were able to be on our way again.

Our road-making crew

Stuck in Quicksand
(Thankful for a 6-wheel-drive cargo truck 
that came along and was able to pull us out!)