Here’s a quick note – essentially a request for prayer.  

Mike Scheffelin, Ben Ryan and I leave Sunday for Congo Trip #9.  We will return on February 9.

I can’t explain completely why an all-powerful and sovereign God asks us to pray, but here is what I know:  When people pray, God’s will gets done. When people don’t pray, not so much. So please pray. And not just for us, for the Congolese. We are asking them to take some huge steps of faith.

The quick summary is CAR – please think of us and pray for us as you are driving in the car.

• C – Courage.  It is difficult for me to proclaim spiritual truth to people who are physically needy.  We try to help in physical ways – that is why we promote the formation of businesses, among other things.  But what will truly satisfy, independent of any circumstances, is a dynamic, personal, two-way relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is no set of circumstances which is greater than His ability to provide His grace to quite literally overwhelm the circumstances.
• A – Answers.  We have lots of questions around how to help people start businesses capable of employing other people.  We need Jesus to provide answers.  Answers to questions like how to help them brainstorm ideas; how to create ownership of those ideas; how to determine who is really designed by God to start a business; how to deal with a culture where everything is shared; how to handle money where repaying loans is a foreign concept.
• R – Relationships.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see and our ears to hear so that we can respond just as Jesus would.

Some more specific prayer requests are at the end of this email.

Here’s what we have planned on the trip:

• Last trip, we trained 11 Congolese YoungLife volunteer leaders on the Biblical basis for work as well as the practical aspects of planning, starting and operating a business.  Since there are few jobs, we believe that the only way to create permanent solutions to poverty is to train people to build Christcentered businesses.  We have had monthly conference calls with them since our last trip – continuing the training and encouragement.  This trip, we will do some market research and help them formulate or refine ideas for their businesses.
• We will need to work with them to come to a consensus about who is really ready to start a business.  We also need to work with them on developing a loan program.  Our previous loan programs have not worked well.  Both of these task are incredibly difficult due to cultural differences related to money and their desire to treat everyone exactly the same – regardless of commitment, gifting and education.
• We will visit a town where many solar powered MP3 players with the Bible in Swahili and French by a trusted friend.  We will meet with pastors to hear their stories of life change.  We have been asking the Holy Spirit to drive God’s Word deep into their hearts, minds and lives.  We are taking 100 players on this trip.  If you would like to “adopt” one by praying for the recipient, please reply to this email.  You can find more information on this strategy at our Indiegogo site here.
• We will exhort people to trust in the provision of Jesus Christ. When one lives in a society that has been victimized for generations, one ceases to believe that Jesus Christ is personal and powerful.

Here are the detailed prayer requests.

Prayers for Bible Distribution:  

• That God would use us to inspire a vision for Bible listening and prayer that would help the Congolese know a powerful and personal God.
• That the recipients would share the Word with many others.  That they would listen to God’s Word together, grow together and lead together.
• That God’s Word would teach husbands to love their wives the way Christ loves the Church.
• That the Holy Spirit would convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Prayers for Business Formation:

• That we would have unity in Christ in the plans for establishing businesses and loaning money.
• That God would show people how to start and build profitable, Christ-centered businesses.
• That their faith would be in Jesus not in Americans.

Prayers for Relationship Development:

• That God would help us understand how the Congolese think and view the world.

Prayers for the Trip:

• That God would show Mike how to use video in Bukavu to bring glory to Him and help the people.
• That God would give us great insight into ways to solve issues related to electricity generation and the need for electricity (cell phone charging) – ideally developing a “starter” business for people.
• That God would give us keen insight into His creation –resources, environment, culture, and people – and show us a creative approach to help the people develop economically and spiritually.
• That we would be strong in the Lord, with the full armor of God, able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
• That the Holy Spirit would give us great discernment as to the spiritual battles around us.
• That God would keep us free from unnecessary health and safety issues.
• That “things” would be very “quiet” on the home front.  (Frequently, our families have had issues while we have been gone.)

A great reminder:  “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  (John 14:13)

Thank you guys so much!