We have had a busy few weeks since returning to Kinshasa. I can’t begin to explain how having a vehicle changes what we do. Thanks to Toyota engineering and 4 wheel drive, we have been able to climb some steep hills and gingerly move through deep water. But we are reminded, as we move around more freely than before, that many who support these ministries locally, are less mobile.
Last week, Aaron and I visited an orphanage in the Kinshasa suburb of Munga Fula. This orphanage is west/southwest of the city and takes about 40 minutes to drive there from “downtown.” They have 57 children and one girl who grew up in the orphanage, who is now attending university. The property is uphill, and overlooks one of the valleys that feeds into the city. From this home you can see out over thousands of rooftops and dirt roads. The building is clean and neat, but the rooms are small, with as many as 12 children sharing a bedroom. Innocent took us here so we could see the need for the mattresses we spoke about in an earlier post. Our hope here is to find ways to have bunk beds built locally for the mattresses.
While we were there a young woman, whom we had passed on the long drive up the hillside, came walking into the compound carrying a 25 kilo bag of rice. As it turns out, she had seen the television report on Innocent’s orphanage “Christmas Party” arranged with the help of the MONUSCO Ghanaian troops last December. After watching the program she decided she needed to make a contribution to the orphanage in her area! No small gift and no small effort to get it to these children.
The children all attend school, thanks to support from a farm managed by Jacob, the Mennonite leader who runs the orphanage. The farm is located east of Kinshasa which means the properties are about 4 hours apart, in good driving conditions. When the crops are good, each hectare is producing $1000 to $1200. His good stewardship has been helping keep these kids in school since 2001.
Everywhere we go, we see people living out their call to care for orphans and widows and those who are in need. Although we hope to connect them to needed resources near and far, we are acutely aware of the work that is already being done and thank God for this local support of the ministries of the church.