Transposed from our newsletter Nov 2016.
It was a year ago this month that Mary and I traveled to Kinshasa for the first time. What we have found are amazing people working very hard, struggling to improve their lives in a location that can be difficult.
Mary and I are realizing how challenging it can be to not dive into projects but instead to listen and learn more about what so many are already doing for their neighborhoods. We see pastors and servants who are aware of what is needed in their communities and modeling Christ at the margins. Many times these servants just need to be understood and encouraged but sometimes Mary and I are able to find a partner church, or a local or international NGO to work alongside. Many times we have learned that we serve best by listening, caring and loving and just being present.
We were told when we arrived a year ago to expect a long time of relationship building. I believe that all we do is relationship building!
And from these relationships we have begun to identify programs that can be strengthened with a connection and not just in the DRC. Many congregations in the USA will benefit from connecting to our new Congolese friends here.
We have learned that our Mission is not only with the Congolese but also with Americans, Europeans, Cubans, British, Ghanaians, Liberians, South Africans, Ohioans, Nevadans, North Carolinians.
Being a UMC Missionary in Congo has provided the place for us to understand how connected the world really can be.
CONNECTIONS THAT WORK
Mary and I would like to thank all that are encouraging us in prayer and support. We especially want to point to some of the connections that have been made since our last newsletter.
We are so grateful for the support we have had from congregations in the USA. Reno 1st UMC (Nevada) and Gay Street UMC, Mt. Vernon, Ohio both have held special events for our support and connection.
Gay Street also had a special fundraiser to provide seeds for the farm operated by Pastor Roman’s school and congregation in Lingwala. The summer children’s program raised funds to provide school supplies to the UMC/ECC Orphanages.
Reno 1st UMC has not only agreed to be a Covenant Connected Church but has also raised funds for us to use in our ministries as we move into the interior next year. Reno UMW is in the process of connecting with a Small Savings group that supports individual street businesses through an Eglise du Christ au Congo program.
We have received support for a mission vehicle from Tuscarawas District, East Ohio Conference 3Cs Missions Committee and the East Ohio Foundation along with a large contribution from Gay Street UMC. The funds have been secured and we are waiting for their distribution to the DRC. This will enable us to answer invitations from Congolese partners to visit their ministries which have to date, been out of reach.
We are thankful for the support provided by Trinity UMC, Orrville, Ohio and the 1st UMC Mansfield. Mary and I are humbled each time we see our information and blog shared on your web sites and newsletters. We feel very much a part of your ministry and look forward to the time that we can share in person.
Most of you have been following the political unrest in the DRC. The last month has been difficult for the Congolese and difficult for us to move around Kinshasa. We understand that the disagreements have not been settled and this leaves the population tense and uneasy. We pray for a resolution and understand that a settlement is still in the future.
In the meantime, Mary and I continue to work within our ministry sites as best and safely as possible. We continue to work with the churches in the neighborhoods around Kinshasa. Mary is trying to locate resources to help the orphans with polio and chronic illnesses to receive regular treatment. We are looking at a vocational program in a village in a nearby province. We continue to discern how to help the church in Yolo Sud with the community orphans. Only this week we have been in talks about possible needs in the province of Kasai and Mary has been invited to meet with an ECC vocational program for young mothers this week. There are many ways that congregations are serving their communities.
Giving Tuesday. Tuesday Nov.29 is the United Methodist special day for mission AND is also our wedding anniversary. Consider your Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts early and help Mary and I celebrate.
umcmission.org/give Aaron-advance # 3022154 Mary-advance # 3022155