Journals
Posted on March 31, 2021 Change is in the Air
Jill & Mike Lowery
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Change is in the Air!

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

 

Dear Ones,

A few years ago I gave a sermon in Kikongo. We were getting ready to make some necessary budget cuts at the Pastor’s Institute in order to make ends meet and to keep the school alive for the next year. The title of the sermon was “Change is Good” and I referenced an appropriate scripture passage from the life of Christ. Who could argue with the fact that Jesus brought changes that were good for everyone?

Mike preaching in Kikongo

The week following my sermon, it was the turn of one of the students at the Pastor’s Institute to speak in chapel. He made all of us laugh when he announced the title of his sermon: “Change is Difficult”. It was all in good humor, but I felt a little push back from him as he described how hard it is to adapt to new conditions. His point was well taken: Sometimes changes that are good can also be difficult, and we have to trust God to get us through. I know you all can relate to this young pastor’s struggle, as you have been coping with the landslide of changes brought on by the pandemic.

So, why all this talk about change? I’m sure you’re already clued in to the fact that Jill and I are facing some big changes in our ministries in the coming year…

After much prayer and listening for the Lord’s guidance, I have decided to retire from missionary service at the end of 2021. Jill and I both feel strongly that we have accomplished all that the Lord called us to do in full-time ministry in the Congo, and that He is now moving us in a new direction. For myself, I don’t yet know where that will be, but I’m trusting Him to lead me. You may be wondering what will happen to my ministry with the International Protestant Church of Kinshasa. I’m thrilled to tell you that the Lord has provided the perfect young couple to take over that vital ministry. It is a blessing to know that we are leaving that church that we love so much in very capable hands.

Introducing IPCK’s new pastor and family

Jill has big news, too! Her ministry with International Ministries is not at an end. As of April 1st, she will be transitioning to a new ministry role as a donor advisor, serving the West Coast of the U.S. That means we’ll be based in Los Angeles. Jill is very happy to let you know that she will also continue to work with the leadership of Mitendi Women’s Center, and will travel to the Congo periodically for planning meetings, trainings and helping with projects. We’re tentatively planning our first trip back to Congo for early next year.

To some of you, this news may be a surprise, and even a disappointment. We trust that you will understand that the people and our ministries in the Congo have been our lives for much of the past 30 years. The decision to leave Congo has not been easy and has taken us some time to come to terms with. We have always said that we would stay in Congo as long as we knew that God was calling us there, and that when He called us elsewhere, we would follow Him. We feel confident that that time is now.

As we look back over our years in Congo, we’re so thankful to the Lord for allowing us to play a small part in helping build His Kingdom in the Congo. We’re also greatly humbled and thankful knowing that we’ve not been alone in ministry. We are very aware of the fact that we would have accomplished nothing without your partnership in ministry! Jill and I cannot thank YOU enough for the vital role that you have played, and for all of your sacrifices, prayers, support, and words of encouragement. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness!

Mike on a volunteer mission trip to Vanga 1983

 

Lowery family heading to Vanga for a two year mission in 1990

 

Mike worked with the construction crew for the Vanga Mission hospital project

 

Lowerys commissioned as career missionaries in 1996

 

Rev Mike’s ordination service in Kikongo

 

Baptism service in the Wamba River

 

Girl’s soccer ministry in Kikongo

 

Training pastors in Kikongo

 

Jill with CBCO women on village evangelism trip

 

Distributing bicycles for Women’s village evangelism

 

Inauguration of Mitendi Women’s Center 1999

 

Mitendi girls preparing for baptism

 

The pastoral blessing for the opening of Mitendi Primary School

 

Baptism service at the International Protestant Church of Kinshasa

 

Newly completed church facilities for International Protestant Church of Kinshasa

 

Easter Sunday service at IPCK 2018

 

As I mentioned above, this is not the end of our story, and we still need you! Forgive me for being blunt here, but we still need financial support through the end of 2021, and hope that you will continue to partner with us. Jill, as well, needs financial support and we would like to ask you to prayerfully consider transferring your giving to her ongoing support after my retirement. We will be sure to give you more information on how to do that as the time draws near, but wanted to give you a heads up in advance.

As you pray about giving, please also keep Mitendi Women’s Center and Mitendi Primary School in your prayers. We are in great need of scholarship support on an on-going basis for our trainees and students. Any amount is helpful, but so you know, for a primary school student, $140 will cover school fees for a full year. That’s only $12 per month. If you’d like to contribute, you may do so through the Mitendi Primary School Annual Fund using the following link:

Congo – Mitendi Primary School Annual Fund

Fifth grade students line up for class

 

Young students eager to learn

If you’d like to provide scholarship funds for at-risk young women at Mitendi Women’s Center, a year’s scholarship is $380 – or $32 monthly. You can contribute through the Mitendi Women’s Center Annual Fund using the following link:

Congo – Mitendi Women’s Center Annual Fund

New Mitendi Center trainees receive equipment for Beginning Sewing class

 

Mitendi Center graduates modeling their final projects

Mitendi trainee practicing machine sewing

 

Mitendi Center graduates modeling their final projects

Change is good and change is also difficult! These are some pretty monumental changes that we’re facing. It’s hard sometimes not to be anxious about all the moving parts and the unknowns. But one thing that we know for sure, the same God who has been with us throughout all of the good times and the difficult times in the Congo, is the same faithful and steadfast God who is with us now. We put our trust in Him.

Mama Jill and Pastor Mike at IPCK

Again, we are deeply grateful for all of your efforts to further God’s Kingdom!

Much love,

Mike and Jill Lowery

 

Kwenda Mbote!