Our number one rule as Missionaries, Do no Harm.
Mary and I had several conversations this week about our philosophy as missionaries about the new paradigm of mission work. That is to work WITH our hosts. Listen to what the communities needs, has, can bring to their ministries and understand better how we can work WITH them as a partner. We talked about the new 50/50 initiatives and sustainable programs.
Missionaries no longer bring a check book to a community. We look to be present as the locals bring their talents and resources and connect other congregations to their ministries so that they will continue when Mary and I are reassigned or retire (again).
Looking for visitors;
Time was spent understanding what needs to be done to begin accepting teams here next year. We had a couple of calls back to the states last week, to understand better how we can connect US congregations to Congo. I went and toured several guest houses to see about available housing, locations,and meal possibilities. Time was spent looking for at 4-wheel dive vehicles that will be needed to transport the groups. Many are available and it appears the price is dropping for election season. Now we just have to secure funding.
On Wednesday we announced the ECC team to begin a program called “Passage”. It is a a pilot program in Kinshasa organized by Georgetown University, Tearfund (British) and USAID. “Passage” is a long term study and program to address gender issues, violence,early marriage and family planning in Congo. Theses are difficult subjects and so important to increase the safety and opportunities for girls to be educated and become a respected part of society. I am humbled to be able to work on such an important issue.
On Thursday Mary and I were able to visit one of Universities associated with the ECC. The campus of the UCKIN. The Christian University of Kinshasa. A much larger program than I expected ( again with my expectations). On the campus is also a church,a primary and a secondary school and of course a very large football (soccer) field. UCKIN has a study program of Theology, Medicine,Law,Economics,and Conflict Resolution.
There were no classes in session. We attended during the last two days of school when the senior were taking their oral exams. A big difference than in the USA. The families were also there. Eating, laughing. Everyone was dressed in their best, balloons, flowers. What a festive family affair. Mary and I would love to see these devoted educators connected to the teachers,professors and theologians that we encounter in our journeys.
Following church yesterday, Mary and I met a group of Christen Cartoonists and artist from the neighboring country of the Republic of Congo. Affectionately referred to here as Brazzaville, Congo. They are attending a seminar in Kinshasa. We talked about the United Methodist church in Brazzalville. She was very interested in having us come across the river a form a connection. I don’t think we have many United Methodists in The Republic of Congo and there are no Global Missionaries there. It may prove to be an interesting connection. God is always in control.
Finally, Over a week ago, I had a conversation with a missionary about a need for a water pump on a farm. The farmers haul water from a near by river, one bucket at a time for the crops,AND its the dry season. We could really need a pump to reduce the labor required.I listened, made a mental note.
Last Monday I had an email from a person in Reno, Nevada. She asked about supporting our ministry here. ” Oh, by the way I know a Hydrologist that has experience in Africa but not the Congo. If we ever need a water expert, let me know”. I have never talked about water with this person. But there it was!!!!
On Friday, I received an unsolicited quote from a “farming engineer”( I think), detailing all of the parts and hoses along with labor. $2400 US,to install the pump on the farm. It seems that almost everything just came together without me doing anything. I like that!
Now, I’m assuming if I continue,my work strategy the rest will happen.