I wanted to let you know that three other men and I are headed back to Bukavu, DR Congo as I write. I believe this trip will be a trip of surprises.
The surprises began even before we left. Two of the team members had some serious health problems after they had agreed to go on the trip. They were determined that the health problems would not interfere. My daughter, Emily, had an appendectomy last weekend. I get even more excited about the trip because of those issues. We will see what God has planned.
Our theme verses for this trip are Philippians 4:6-8 (“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving …”) and 2 Corinthians 12:9 (“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”) When we contemplate what we are trying to accomplish in Bukavu, we definitely are weak. Therefore, with no other real choice, we are doing what Paul did – rejoicing in our weakness, knowing the Jesus will be strong for us.
Please join us in praying to that end.
Speaking of prayer, I know that a number of you are praying consistently for the people of Bukavu. I am humbled when I hear someone tell me how they continue to pray for the people who have received Bibles in Congo. I thank you for your commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and His people in Congo.
A recent email from a friend there helped me understand the depth of deceit that Satan has inflicted on Christians there. The context is that he told me that he could not get people to listen to the Bible because they thought the Holy Spirit was sufficient – that they do not need the Bible. This explains why some of their theology is corrupted. (Note their understanding of God and His work in our lives tends to be corrupted because of ignorance. In contrast, our understanding is corrupted because we like to segment our lives and want to put God in the “Sunday morning” box.)
“Yes, as I said, people here believe that only the Holy Spirit can teach you the Bible, and what amazes me is that they condemn these who do theology at the University.
“They are used to saying that Peter and others disciples didn’t attend school but Jesus called them to preach his gospel.
“They agree to go to church and listen to the sermon of the pastor or another preacher but when it is about learning the Bible, they say that for understanding the Bible you do not have to go to school, but the Holy Spirit who calls you will teach all to you.”
This friend is a young man, but he sees things very clearly. I value our relationship. He has tremendous insight, is not intimidated by the culture and has a gentle, humble spirit. I hope you will be able to meet him one day.
This level of deceit related to the need to know the Bible and how to study it demonstrates why prayer is so important. We must pray against these strongholds of the evil one. We must pray that the Word of God penetrates deeply into the hearts of men, women and children.
Here’s a picture of a group listening and discussing the Bible. Note the dirt floors and walls.
- That this group and the others like it will continue to meet to hear the Word of God
- That the Word of God will penetrate deeply into their hearts and
- That as a result, the culture and community begin to glorify God
Let’s rejoice that God’s Word is living, active, full of power, profitable, necessary, and never fails to achieve its mission (Isaiah 55:11, Heb 4:12, 2 Tim 3:16-17, Matt 4:4).
Here are our plans for the current trip:
- Train another class of potential entrepreneurs in starting businesses.
- Distribute another 100 MP3 players with the New Testament in French or Swahili. This time we will also test some with the Old Testament in French.
- Meet with the four people who have seriously engaged in the business plan process. (We funded an internet business. A clothes making business doesn’t need funding. A rice processing business and a commercial chicken raising business may need funding soon. We have worked to improve their business plans and increase their probability of success.)
- Encourage the local missionaries and continue to build relationships with other Congolese people.
- In going on these trips, we pray that we would be an answer to the prayers of others. Please pray that the people who need (and want) we are offer would be at the meetings.
If you would like, here’s how you can pray:
Prayers for Bible Distribution:
- That God would provide a method for effective distribution. (We are still experimenting.)
- 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 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 bring unity, purity, peace and forgiveness to a long suffering people.
Prayers for Business Formation Seminar:
- That God would bring the “right” people.
- That God would show people how to start and build profitable, Christ-centered businesses.
- That God would prompt 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:
- For God to reveal to 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.
I believe all of these prayers are consistent with what Jesus would want to happen. Accordingly we have a magnificent promise in John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Thank you for your partnership. May God bless our efforts on His behalf.