Glen and Rita have been instrumental in transforming the Kikongo pastoral training school into the Baptist University of Congo (UNIBAC). Glen is vice-rector of UNIBAC, where he teaches Old Testament, Hebrew and Baptist history. Rita runs the library, teaches English and works with the wives of theology students. Rita and Glen both are very much immersed in the life of the community and the church through village ministry, transportation and environmental ministries such as beekeeping, raising rabbits for agricultural training and planting trees for reforestation, lumber, firewood, charcoal and fruit.
Rita writes – Before Christmas, I ordered a bolt of white cloth from far away Kinshasa for our student wives to sew into uniforms as part of their sewing class. But when the cloth came, I was disappointed. It wasn’t the right kind of cloth! The quality was too heavy for the light button up shirts we wanted to make. Now, what was I going to do, I wondered? I was stuck with a whole bolt of unreturnable material I didn’t know what to do with. As the months have passed, I have remained uninspired… Why did God send us 25 yards of medium weight cotton material only to have it gather dust under its plastic wrapping in our Women School storeroom?
Last week, as protective face masks in public became mandatory in our sprawling capital city of Kinshasa, I decided it was time to download a couple of face mask patterns off the internet. Even though there don’t seem to be any cases of COVID-19 that close to us, I reasoned that we at Kikongo need to be prepared if and when cases do come. When I rolled out my bright African print masks for comment from our school staff, they liked them… but, everyone said, “White. They have to be white.” I got it!! That crazy bolt of white material was just the thing. Our student wife tailor made up a couple of masks that passed our local doctor’s inspection, and we are now in business. The hospital and health zone are desperate for sturdy washable masks to add to the small quantity of 4-hour disposable ones they thought they had enough of until this virus came along. Our first 75, will go to those two medical facilities, then we plan to begin supplying our resident UNIBAC theology families with enough masks for each household. Preparedness. Some peace of mind should COVID-19 one day come through our little community. All from a misdirected bolt of cloth, bought and sent 5 months ago. For such a time as this, Lord? I’m repenting now from all the annoyance I originally felt when that innocent white cloth came by “mistake.”
When I decided that material was just what we needed to sew up protective Corona masks! I’ll have to say, I was a bit annoyed when the wrong kind of white cloth arrived here last November. Whoever knew that it was just what the hospital, the health zone and all of our student families and staff would need for masks 5 months later? Our student wife tailor is currently cranking them out as fast as she can. (She’s well motivated since I am paying her daily for what she sews.) Hopefully, Corona won’t come here at all, and the masks will be only precautionary, but with masks now mandatory all over Kinshasa, people here have also become more aware of their need and utility.