International Ministries

It’s Always Encouraging to Have Visitors

April 12, 2010 Journal
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It's always encouraging to have visitors. First of all, our eldest
son, Taylor, is here. Yay! He just graduated from university. Double
yay!!! He now holds a bachelor's degree in English. What a blessing it
is to see him again after almost a year, and under such happy
circumstances.

Taylor isn't here only to visit us, he's also doing an internship with
SANRU, a public health organization – the same one that Bill Clemmer
and Wayne Niles work with. He is currently working outside of
Lubumbashi in a village called Fungurume, about 1000 miles southeast
of Kinshasa. He's working with a team of experts assessing health care
centers and water sources in that area. Later, in June, he'll be doing
a mosquito netting project in the Bandundu region, where he grew up.
He is very excited about this adventure. He asked us to keep him in
our prayers, not only for safety as he gallivants around some remote
parts of Congo, but also for God's guidance as he embarks on this new
chapter in his life called 'adulthood'.

At the same time that Taylor has been here, we've had a visiting group
from our headquarters at International Ministries. The group consists
of Rev. Charles Jones, Rev. Ray Schooler, and Lonny Bruce. The purpose
of their visit is to fellowship with us missionaries, learn more about
our work, and also learn more about the work of our host church, the
Baptist Community of Congo (CBCO). We have  all known each other for a
long time, so it's been very enjoyable sharing meals and fellowship
times with them.

My favorite part of their visit so far has been getting to accompany
them as they and our CBCO leaders visited various churches around
Kinshasa. I was lucky that they needed another translator. Two of the
church centers we visited were completely new to all of us. Even the
CBCO leaders had never been to them. They were smaller churches in
very very poor areas of Kinshasa. At each of these churches, the
entire congregations were waiting (on a Monday) to welcome us, singing
songs and waving beautiful tropical flowers. It was fascinating to
learn about their ministries. It was also a blessing to pray with them
and hear about the things they dream of doing one day, if God provides
the means.

One of the larger churches that we visited, the Kintambo French
Speaking Church, completely blew us away. It is one of CBCO's oldest
and more affluent churches. The first thing we discovered is that they
are halfway through a building project. In order to accommodate their
growing congregation, and with no outside funding, they are enlarging
their sanctuary to seat 1000 people. They should complete their
project by December of this year. Here's the amazing part about them:
at the same time they are doing their building project, they have also
planted a church in the city of Gemena in the region of Equateur, over
1000 miles from Kinshasa.

Gemena is one of the larger cities in Congo and has been the scene of
much fighting during the war. The Kintambo church feels called to
reach out in the name of Jesus and help the people of that area. I
could barely keep from crying when they showed us a video documenting
how they began with church services under a tree, then once the
congregation grew, how they sent building materials and volunteers
from the Kinshasa church to Gemena and built a permanent church
building (big enough to seat about 300 people). The video also showed
the church's first baptism and their first communion Sunday. To date,
the Kinshasa church has invested over $20,000 in their church plant in
Gemena. They continue  to support the salaries of the two pastors they
sent there. In the near future they are also planning to build a
school and a clinic to help serve the needs of the community.

I can't tell you how awesome it is see a local church, originally
started by I.M. missionaries back in 1933, not only thriving, but also
taking seriously the Great Commission and sending out trained
missionaries of their own. It gives us great hope for the future of
the church in Congo.

When I spoke to the pastor, he shared that it hasn't been an easy
endeavor, but that they are doing what God has called them to do. He
said that if they are to succeed, it is by God's grace alone. I kept
thinking about what a huge risk they're taking – and what great faith
they have.

Love,
Jill