Ivan Giraldo is back for his second trip to Bukavu.  He was born in Colombia and immigrated to the US as an adult, ultimately becoming a citizen.  When he came to the US, he did not know English.  He started in the commercial landscape industry as a laborer and now is an owner of Cleanscapes, a commercial landscape maintenance and construction firm in three cities in Texas.

Ivan is a charismatic leader and the Congolese people seem to bond with him immediately.  He brings great energy, drive and ideas to the effort in Congo.  Ivan’s story of hard work and perseverance is a great example for the Congolese.

Here are his observations:

Since I received the invitation from Greg to come back to Congo, there has been much excitement to follow up, not only on what I left the first time but on all the hard work from Greg’s trips in the past.

I thought I had it all figured out on exactly how it was going to go during our seminars and the visits, but again I was wrong.
God had another plan for me. I had to see more of the town and talk with more people so I can have another point of view.  This made my soul heavy and I had a hard time lifting it up.

I started thinking that maybe the Congolese had to develop two types of hope (like if this was possible).   They needed hope (or trust) in God and hope (or trust) in people.
The first hope would be solid and strong on God and would help them deal with the acceptance of their existing condition.  And because of this hope, they couldn’t wait to meet Him in heaven.

The second one would be hope in people, but their experience was that there could be no trust of people.
However, the next day God showed me Psalm 107 and it helped me to deal with my pain and made me understand that He will help the people here when they are ready.  The issue here then is less about two types of hope and more about obeying God.
Then I realize that another reason why we are here is to remind them to start doing everything according to God’s commandments including business.

We had great groups with a lot of questions and good participation.  I am starting to realize that is them with the help of God that will bring change to this country.
They don’t see nor receive encouragement from anyone, so I felt good when I had the opportunity to do it.
One of our goals is to develop local leaders to keep the work moving forward after we leave and for them to become example to follow by the local people.  And on this trip we started to see this happen.

For all these reasons, I felt very good being here and thankful for Greg’s invitation for the opportunity to spread my blessings.

Ivan Giraldo