Dear family and friends,
Many of you know that Ed has been part of a multi-disciplinary team preparing a proposal to manage several aspects of an agricultural and rural development program for USAID in Congo. For the last 7 weeks they have pulled together 5 church-based agriculture, rural economic development, and health programs here in Congo to design an integrated program aimed at improving the livelihoods and well-being of farm families in 30 rural health zones. For the first time in a long time, several Christian confessions are cooperating on an agricultural development project -- Evangelical Covenant, Presbyterian, Baptist, Mennonite, Disciples. What a tremendous opportunity for Christians to have some influence over how US international aid money is used for the benefit of the Congolese people -- not just for the benefit of the people who manage the aid contract.
But it is also a time when Christians put to the test -- to put up or shut up. Sometimes we talk about how our relationship with Christ and the character and motivation that grow out of it make us more efficient and effective managers of limited aid resources. Now is the time to show that lives dedicated to Christ can make a difference in how AID funds impact the lives of poor and marginalized people.
The PRAISE is that the proposal was finished Friday, touched up Saturday, and should be sent to Nairobi (regional office) on Sunday. We are probably prejudiced, but the proposal design team thinks that it could have a tremendous impact not just on farm families in the 30 health zones, but on agricultural centers where research is done, schools, producers' cooperatives and other institutions and groups that help shape a vital rural economy and its ability to develop.
Now we need your prayer support -- over the next three weeks the USAID regional office and the USAID/DR Congo office will look at a dozen or more proposals like ours. They will decide who seems to have the best strategy for investing in rural Congo. In our pride we could ask you to pray that our proposal would come out on top. But pray with us for this: that God would guide the reviewers to select proposals that truly bring benefits to the Congolese people, that give them hope and access to new opportunities, that give them the greatest benefits for the resources available. If other proposals are better, more effective than ours, pray that they will be blessed, that God give His best blessing to the Congolese people through them.
It may seem trivial, but pray that fax machines, and e-mail and courier services will function properly so that our proposal arrives intact, on time, in the right hands. From Congo to Washington, D.C., to Nairobi is a long journey with any number of transfers that can go wrong. Ask God to protect the proposal so that it receives a fair review. In the end we pray that the people of rural Congo will be blessed and that God will be glorified by the quality of Christian's work and the character of our lives.
Depending on your intercession,
Ed and Miriam Noyes