Kikongo by Air
I just got back to Kinshasa from a week in Kikongo. I went up for the first week of school in order to get the students oriented to me and my “Distance Education” style of teaching. I came prepared with the class work that the students need to do while I'm absent from Kikongo and a calendar for the rest of the school year with their assignments. This style is quite unusual here in Congo, but it's the only way that I can continue to teach at the Pastor's Institute and live with my family about two hundred miles away. Now that I've been making these monthly trips to Kikongo since 2004 it's understood that this is my style and for the most part I get a lot of grace from the students and the faculty.
This first trip of the 2010-2011 school year was different for me as well. Instead of being the first to be dropped off by Mission Aviation Fellowship, the pilot decided to drop me off last on his way back into Kinshasa. I got to tag along as the pilot picked up medicines at one stop to deliver to a rural hospital at another stop. I met a Catholic doctor who has been working in a very remote mission station for 47 years. Like all the rest of us she wonders how her work will continue when she leaves.
At another stop I was introduced to a Congolese hospital administrator who spoke English! Not only was that very unusual, but he also had been trained as a doctor in India and had quite a few interesting stories to tell. It was a great testimony of his Christian walk that someone of his qualifications chose to live in near poverty in a very rural location in order to keep the hospital running. I can only imagine the heroic things that he's done that we will never know about. But, God knows.
On our way back west toward Kikongo we stopped in Vanga to pick up two young volunteers who had been helping at the hospital there. Both young ladies were in tears as they were leaving behind a place and an experience that had changed their lives forever. They had been working with German doctors who have given their lives to serve the community in Vanga. One of the volunteers in particular spoke to me about the great impact that working along side these doctors in such desperate conditions had had on her life. She had trouble finding enough Kleenex to wipe away her tears as she spoke in appreciation for what God had shown her there.
When we finally reached Kikongo later that afternoon, I was met by friends and fellow missionaries and was very warmly welcomed. It was great to be there after a long summer break and soon I was feeling quite grateful to be in my home away from home.
The first week of classes went very well. Most of the students were back from Summer break and ready to study. The third year students especially were excited to start their last year at the Pastor's Institute. There was a real healthy feeling of excitement at the beginning of the school year and I was again very thankful that God has made it possible for Jill and I to serve Him in Congo.
Please pray for this school year that has just begun.
Pray for the students and their families to remain healthy throughout the year.
Pray that the Institute will find ways to meet the financial responsibilities of the year.
Pray that these men and their wives will be well prepared to take Jesus to rural villages in Congo.
Thank you for your support,
Mike and Jill Lowery