This Year in a Nutshell – an update from Wendy Bernhard
Democratic Republic of Congo, September, 2009
It’s been a full year since I returned to the Congo in July 2008 after my last U.S.-Puerto Rico assignment! At the Bible Institute where I teach, six students received their diplomas [see pictures below]and eight more are going into their senior year this year. We held youth rallies and showed films, some oriented toward evangelism, others toward responsible sexuality and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The highlight of the year for me was this past month of August, when I participated in five spiritual retreats in the Bas Congo and Bandundu provinces, east and west of Kinshasa.
People walked for hours, sometimes more than a day, to get to the retreat sites. The theme of all the retreats was “Be strong in the faith” in the midst of trials: poverty, illness, temptation, conflict, bereavement, witchcraft and many more. An outstanding team of Congolese pastors and lay people encouraged the faithful, and prayer and spiritual healing took place. In the evenings we showed films, to the delight of villagers who don’t have that luxury very often. The greatest spiritual needs we found are continuing education for pastors and the training of Christian education workers.
Other notes from the past year -
At Youth Rallies in January in Kimpese -
“Two hundred twenty young people heard the challenge to resist the prevalent tides in today’s society: cheating, corruption, irresponsible sexuality and tribalism. At the end of the day, the speakers gave an invitation for young people to commit themselves to Christ and a Christian lifestyle. Many responded, and it’s our job to continue working with them and encouraging with them.”
On a weekend in June at a historic Baptist Pastoral Institute in the town of Kikongo, Wendy was invited to speak at the graduation service for ten new pastors, and the wives of nine of them! “We marched (danced?) from the Pastoral Institute to the church building. It was a joyous occasion for everyone, though we didn’t forget that the funeral of the retired long-time director, Pastor Muyamuna, was taking place in Kinshasa at the same time.”
Just a couple weeks later, six students, from three different denominations, graduated on June 28, 2009, from the Bible Institute at the Evangelical Cooperative Center (CECO) in Kimpese, Democratic Republic of Congo. Pray for each of these new pastors, that the Lord will enable them to do great things for Him! And pray for the new first-year class that will be coming into the Bible Institute in September!
Wendy preached on “Temptation” at the retreat in the Bandundu province, translated from French into Kituba by Pastor Ngalubenge. She says, “Seated at the left behind me are Pastors Rose and Gustave Lala. Be sure and call the attention of people in Illinois to that note, because it's the women of the Great Rivers Region (Illinois and Missouri) that contributed most to Rose's theological education, way back when! Mama Lala is now president of the Protestant Women’s Federation of Congo; and her husband is coordinator of all the Protestant elementary and secondary schools in the country. Mama Lala is also a congresswoman from the district that includes Miah. She was on an official visit during the retreat. Tata and Mama Lala are both pastors of a Baptist church in Kinshasa. Those special American Baptist Women supported Mama Lala in her theological studies in the 1980s.”
An extension of Wendy's ministry is a twice-weekly, 15-minute FM broadcast on Radio Bangu, named for the bluff that dominates the landscape and towers over the Kimpese valley. The title of her broadcast is "Youth: A jewel and a treasure," designed to remind young people of their infinite worth in the eyes of God, and encourage them not to waste their youth, but to live responsibly.
This newsletter is sent from Wendy Bernhard’s Missionary Partnership Network – c/o Elko First Baptist Church, 685 Juniper Street, Elko, NV 89801 – Wendy’s home church!
If you only receive news of Wendy by postal mail, and you have an email address, please send it to her Missionary Partnership Network email - firstname.lastname@example.org – you will receive many more frequent updates on Wendy. (And pictures come with them!)
With the help of all of Wendy’s supporters around the world, her financial needs for this year have been met! Praise God! As her new fiscal year begins on October 1, we encourage you to remember Wendy in your prayers, and in your giving. Please mark your gifts as “Targeted for Wendy Bernhard” if you wish to support her basic needs. “Specifics” go to her programs – and personal gifts for her birthday (May 3!) or other things go directly to her. Wendy has four more years to go before retirement! Let’s make them four GREAT years! God bless you!
Wendy’s mission verse - "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." 2 Timothy 2:2
Wendy's personal email - email@example.com