Greetings from Kisangani!
As I write this, I'm preparing to leave the third largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where we've just finished an AIDS awareness seminar for 30 pastors, teachers and youth workers. In addition, we spoke in churches and school assemblies to over 2,000 adults and young people during the week.
Kisangani is a city which was ravaged by several wars over the past few years, including a six-day confrontation between invading Rwandan and Ugandan troops who fought each other inside the city limits! Everybody has a horror story to tell, and the scars of war are still visible. Among other things, the soldiers brought the HIV/AIDS virus with them as a "present" to the population.
Thanks to a grant from the Global Fund, through Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA) and the rural health program which is administered in the Congo by my colleague Dr. Bill Clemmer, a team of four of us was able to come to Kisangani for a week. One of the seminar participants wrote on the evaluation form, "Thanks to the training we've received, we will be able to train others and reduce the speed with which AIDS is progressing in our area."
An unexpected blessing I received here in Kisangani was the chance to meet a dozen United Nations peace keeping soldiers from the country of Malawi, who are Christians and who have worshiped at the local Baptist church during their term of duty here. They sang "Stand up for Jesus" at the Sunday church service, and expressed thanks to the congregation for the welcome they received. Praise God for these Christian soldiers, and pray for them as they return home at the end of this month.
Thanks for your prayers and gifts, which make it possible for me to continue ministering here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Next week, I will return to the Bible Institute in Kimpese, and continue working with young people there.