2 Corinthians 7:6 "God cheers up people in need" in Kikongo where Lynn and Virgil Nelson are ministering.
MINI-VBS. Over 200 children had fun at our Good Samaritan Camp. They tried on for size Jesus' teaching in Luke to love one's neighbor as oneself: by acting out the parable of the good Samaritan, by making gifts for another person, and through sharing in cooperative games. Music, delicious food, and loving Pastoral Student couples as guides enlivened the experience of being good to oneself and others. Lynn co-directed the camp with the Director of the Institute Pastoral and led the crafts team, while Virgil photographed the doings and led the team directing the outdoor games. 105 children asked for forgiveness for cruel attitudes or wounds they have inflicted on others and welcomed Jesus into their hearts. Some of the leaders want to take this camp 'on the road' to other villages!
Hot pink patterned contact-paper publicizes the Book-Mobile Box that has been circulating the neighborhoods of Kikongo in the late afternoons this month. Lynn has trained and supports two teams of 3rd year pastoral students in evangelism through literacy work with emphasis on outreach to new readers. The box holds 42 books and magazines in 3 languages, offering items on health, spiritual growth, sports, arts, current events, sciences, humor, and great stories (traditional African, Bible, and new). Adults and teens are invited to sit apart from the noisy youngsters involved in their read-aloud animated sessions. Few of those reading have ever entered a library much less touched a book. As the sun sets, the Bibles and other books are reluctantly replaced in the pink box. The 2nd week of operation, the number of adults and children looking at or reading books doubled, to 138 adults and 278 children! People know that on a certain day each week the Pink Box comes to their neighborhood --and that in the future, they can go to the library to find even more books like these.
Files, Files, Files!
The floor surrounding Virgil's living-room work-desk is covered with blue "hanging files" filled with folders documenting over 5 years of PALM PROJECT activity with each of 99 different member groups.
Virgil is working with the Treasurer and the Executive Committee to finish setting up the central files and bookkeeping systems as we prepare for US/Puerto Rico assignment next June. The trees will begin bearing fruit next year, and groups will then begin to repay their loans. Their payments will then be again "recycled". The major challenge on the horizon is the investment in the appropriate locally sustainable technology to process the nuts, and to transport the oil to market.
Bare Shelves No Longer:
Dr. Muntantu and the hospital administrator Kimona CHEERED as over 360 kilos of WHITE CROSS supplies were unloaded here August 12th thanks to the faithfulness of your efforts in Women's Circles and churches there, and to the organizing efforts of missionary Katherine Niles in Kinshasa.
The rolled bandages, medical, surgical and infant supplies are critical in the health care ministries, especially since most patients families are living on less than $90 a year, and can afford to pay only a small portion of the actual costs of their care.
Do all these numbers matter? Outcome-measured success is hot stuff. The Bible is full of reporting large numbers and accountability, but it also impacts us with profound one-on-one encounters. Pray that we do not become so immersed in 'project outcomes' this last year of our ministry here, that we lose the spirit of God's very personal touch. Jer. 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Presidential Elections, Kinshasa:
The "numbers" DO MATTER to all of the Presidential candidates, as you know from recent reports of violence in Kinshasa. While the "final" election results are not in, it has been announced that there will be a run-off in October between President Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba.
Pray that supporters in both camps will lay down their arms, and that Kabila and Bemba will commit to eliminating the violence between their respective parties.
We can be of good cheer because we know that justice will ultimately be done. (John 16:33).