Off to DR Congo
Encouraging Relationships — Bibles, Business, Prayer
Well, I am embarrassed to say that once again I am drafting an email update on the verge of another trip to DR Congo. The only difference is this time I am actually already in Africa – Zambia to be exact.
Back to DR Congo. Paul Austin and I will enter Bukavu, DR Congo on July 8 for eight days. The absence of email updates has more to do with all the good stuff going on than my being a slacker. However, I do feel bad about it because I know it gets hard to continue to pray when you hear nothing. Prayer is so very important for the people and the country. I have posted a few updates on the blog, including some great articles written by the wise young man that I met on Trip 2. On the blog, we are calling him Solomon to give him some measure of protection. You can subscribe to the blog to get notices of updates by going to www.CongoBlessings.org.
Here’s the update since the trip in October.
You may recall that we trained about 40 people in starting a business. We received nine business plans – more than I expected. Now some of the business plans were barely recognizable as business plans – must have been a problem with the teachers. J However, one was so good that we funded the businessman already through a $17,000 loan. This gentleman wanted to expand his internet café and offer voice over internet protocol (VOIP) for international calls and train people to use various computer programs. I really like this business because it is an “infrastructure” business that should benefit the entire city. I am excited about two other plans because they would greatly enhance the agricultural infrastructure of the city. This gentleman “gets” the importance of infrastructure. Unfortunately, he is one of the few who do. On a Skype call recently, he told me, “Greg, it is so helpful to talk with you about these things because you understand. No one here understands what I am trying to do.” I praise God for choosing me to help this man.
We also experimented with hiring someone for three months on a part-time basis to do some work for us there – mainly information gathering and exploration. That experiment was neither a bust or a great success, but we probably will not repeat it.
As I mentioned above, Solomon has been quite faithful in doing some writing. You may recall that we gave him a netbook computer because he wanted to do some writing about cultural and spiritual issues. You can see a couple of samples on the blog.
Here are the details for the July trip.
As you may recall, we do three things on these trips and ask you to do a fourth:
- Distribute Bibles (The Word of God increases the knowledge of God and brings change.)
- Promote the development of Christ-centered businesses.
- Build relationships.
- Pray for the people receiving Bibles and for the country – that’s where you come in.
We have changed the way we are using the solar-powered MP3 players. I have never had complete peace about our Bible distribution efforts. So, this time we are going to try an approach I learned from Faith Comes By Hearing – a really fascinating ministry. We are going to form listening groups to share a solar powered MP3 player. We will train them how to listen together and then discuss what they heard. We hope to implement this plan on a broad scale in a few churches so that there might be revival in these churches. Will you pray to that end? Then, we hope these churches will be “contagious” to other churches in the area so that we will have more churches interested in participating. We also plan to implement some type of reporting system to monitor results.
We will follow up with the people who submitted business plans – helping them improve their plans, with the goal of making them fundable. I expect some have dropped their plans.
We will also continue to work with the owner of the internet café – mentoring him in business and Christian matters. He is also a leader of his church’s youth group so we will spend some extended time with him and 10 of the youth teaching them how to study the Bible.
We will also spend time with Solomon and Joseph (the bishop over 42 churches).
Here are some things to pray:
Prayers for the Bible Listening Groups:
- That God would inspire the leaders to persevere in forming and leading the groups.
- That the Word would inspire servant leadership.
- That God would provide for their physical needs.
- That God’s Word would teach husbands to love their wives the way Christ loves the Church.
- That God would use His Word to build their faith.
- That God would use His Word to build unity and purity in the church in Bukavu and beyond.
- That God would bring peace, acceptance and forgiveness to a long suffering people.
Prayers for Prospective Business Owners:
- That God would show people how to start and build profitable, Christ-centered businesses.
- That God would prompt these people to live a life like Jabez who blessed generations to come (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
Prayers for Relationship Development:
- That God would provide us with divine appointments with people with which He wants us to begin enduring relationships.
- That our presence and love would be encouraging.
- That church leaders would realize that Jesus Christ, not money, is the solution to the city’s problems. That the Holy Spirit would give them specific direction for solutions.
Prayers for the Trip:
- That God would reveal to us what He is doing in Bukavu.
- 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 and not make them the target of violence.
- 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 God would keep us free from unnecessary health and safety issues.
Thanks for the help in making earth a little more like heaven!
P.S. If you want to “adopt” a listening group by committing to pray for them, let me know: [email protected]
Greg! So excited for all that He has your family doing this summer. I have enjoyed getting your letters and posts while we are in China! I know that He has big plans to continue to use your family to faithfully serve Him and love others. I am so encouraged by reading how you are able to use both your family and your career together to serve in two very different places in two different ways. Reading about your Emily made me cry. You must be so proud of her! I am excited for the day I can experience a little bit of that with my children. Lifting you up!