Sorry you have not heard from us for awhile.
I'm a bit handicapped since my computer went down.Tech support is hard to come by in Congo.
You can always tell when you get to the end of a four year term in Congo. Everything falls apart or wears out.
That goes for us too.Rita had to go out of the country for some medical tests. Thankfully, she is still in excellent health and is back at Kikongo where she belongs.
Kikongo has suffered from various diseases recently.Measles is slowly making it's rounds.Even though there have been some serious cases, thankfully, there have been no deaths from measles right here at Kikongo.My friends tell stories of how measles used to cause so much death in the villages.Sometimes five children would die in a single day.Our rural health zone for a number of years has been doing a heroic job of getting out into the villages and vaccinating against measles.
The village across the river has had 25 cases of sleeping sickness.That disease used to wipe out whole villages.Just last year, the Swiss Tropical Institute has begun a treatment program at our hospital.This area is "hyper endemic" for sleeping sickness.Everyone at the village of Kimbuma is expected to recover.
Malaria is what still causes the most suffering.The children at the pastoral school all sleep under treated mosquito nets. This helps, but many children still manage to catch malaria.
The United Nations says that 1,200 children die every day in Congo due to disease, malnutrition, and the lingering effects of the war.The UN also is reporting that the life expectancy has dropped ten years.It used to be 47 years.
On Sunday I preached on "Jealousy."I used Genesis 26 as the basis for the message.This passage speaks about how Isaac was prospering, but because of Jealousy, the Philistines filled up his wells with dirt.Eventually Isaac was forced to go south with his flocks.It seems that wherever he went, he prospered.Finally, Abimelech went and made peace with Isaac.Isaac received the visitors and even served them a feast.According to Gen. 26:32 "that same day" water was discovered from a new well.This became the source of water for Beersheba which incidentally exists "to this day" vs. 33.
I told the church that I have been to this same city of Beersheba that is spoken of in the first book of the Bible.It truly does exist to this day.In a country like Congo recovering from war, and neglect where the infrastructure is "non- existent" according to the BBC (British Broadcasting Company), lasting work is something extraordinary and highly desirable.
I made application by pointing out that lasting development happens when we make peace with one another.If we are always fighting because of jealousy, we will never prosper, but will move backwards.
It was communion Sunday, so I pointed out the table set before us.We have been rebellious and have fought against God, but yet He sets a table before us so that we can be at peace one with another. God desires to do great things among us.
Kikongo is a place that shows what can happen when people decide to get along and live obediently to God's Word. Besides the present blessings, God offers us an eternal, lasting, and non-corruptible home.Now that is good news in a non-developing part of the world!
Glen and Rita