Greetings from Congo!
I had a great meeting with the women this morning and wanted to give you an update on what we're doing.
I'm sure that many of you remember that our program at the Mitendi Women's Center is suspended due to the fact that someone is trying to steal our land and brought soldiers to live on our property. The court case has been going on for over a year. Our goal is to get our property back and reopen Mitendi Center by the end of September. One of our major obstacles is that the “gentleman” who built a house right in the middle of our property and has soldiers guarding it refuses to appear in court or participate in any way in the proceedings. The women have done everything to keep up the pressure to settle the case. They've had several meetings with the judge and the lawyer in the last couple of weeks. Today they happily shared with me that the judge is finally ready to move forward. He wants to look over all of documents one last time before making a decision. We really need your prayers. Corruption is pandemic in the Congo and getting this case settled without having to pay a massive bribe will require a miracle. We are praying that the government officials that we're working with will not fall into that temptation and will do their jobs honorably and justly. I will keep you posted on our progress.
I also wanted to give you an update on our Women's Restaurant Renovation Project. The women's restaurant is the main source of funding for our national women's office. Without it we would have almost nothing to work with. For years we've wanted to do renovations since the building is so small and dark. We also have many more clients than we can fit into the restaurant. Suddenly, a few months ago we received a small financial gift from a woman in the U.S. We've just finished building a paillotte (pronounced 'pie-yote'), which is like an African gazebo. This nearly doubles our seating. We also reworked the plumbing in the kitchen and built a new sink and counter. Next we'll be painting everything inside and out and will begin work on the landscape. If we have any money left we'll buy new dishes and silverware, etc. It's exciting to see this old building become new again.
The women's restaurant not only provides meals for the hungry business people in our area, it is also a place where our girls at Mitendi can receive on the job training in restaurant work. As a matter of fact, the lovely young woman who manages our restaurant is from our first graduating class at Mitendi. It is our desperate hope to reopen Mitendi so that more young women like her can be rescued from a life of prostitution.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11
Our hope and confidence is in a God who is infinitely capable of making His plans a reality in our lives.