“Without training, we cannot succeed.” – Solomon (a young man in Bukavu)
And that is why we go. We follow the model that Jesus demonstrated long ago. We proclaim truth; we demonstrate love; we develop relationships; and we train. We try hard not to “do” for them.
Here’s his full quote: “Without training, we cannot succeed. We have everything we need (in terms of natural resources). But it is not enough. We cannot even build our own roads; we have to let the Chinese build our roads.” You can sense his frustration. The answers seem so close. Instead, there is the love of money, greed (which as Paul said is idolatry – something God detests), failure of leadership, failure of purpose, failure to marshal resources, failure to invest instead of consume, failure to plan instead of subsist – the list goes on.
That’s what I am asking. I cannot believe that I am headed back to the Congo – just four months after my last trip.
There are two reasons for Trip 7 to occur now:
· I want Pat and the kids to meet my friends there. They have heard stories for five years. It is time for them to live the stories. I like to go during the rainy season. Only in Congo would the rainy season be preferable to the dry season – more water for human needs and less dust. So school schedules and the upcoming dry season say, “Go now.” Emily, 21, and Ben, 15, are with us.
· Out of a class of 25, we received 13 business plans – our best results so far. The plans are fascinating. They tell a story. I explain more below. We will be continuing the training as we help them think through their business plans. We will train them to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and to think differently about profits and money management.
Tell me about the business plans
Yes, the business plans indeed tell a story. The plans include farming, food production, food processing, internet café, computer sales and repair, gold mining, and soap manufacturing. From these plans, you can begin to see a picture of the needs in Congo – very basic.
The amount of money that people think they need to start a business is $8,000 to $150,000. Those figures also tell a story. The $150,000 request contained no revenue. Maybe I need to improve my teaching methods. When I asked him to add revenue, he showed a significant loss – in the food business. When food is in short supply, it is hard for a business to lose money. To complicate matters, he is a faithful man of God – an overseer of pastors who loves his people.
Congo is a tough place to do business. The World Bank says that it is almost at the bottom of the list in terms of ease of doing business. That survey is based on the rule of law, taxation (340% of pre-tax income – yeah, I know, that doesn’t work), and ease of starting and stopping a business. They don’t consider infrastructure – things like:
· Any business that needs electricity needs $2,000 – $7,000 for electrical infrastructure.
· Any business that needs space needs $1,800 – $3,600 to pay rent at least 6 months in advance.
Yes, in a word, Congo is complicated.
On the positive side, a few of the businesses are almost ready for funding. At least one will be funded by funds raised locally.
I have two requests.
If you feel Jesus tugging at your heart as you read these emails or see the posts on The Congo Purpose Facebook page, let me know. I need to get more people involved in this effort. Some of you need the people of Congo just as they need some of you to train them.
Please pray for us and the people of Congo. I have listed some requests below.
You can see some quick daily posts and pictures on our Facebook. Be sure to “like” us and “share” the posts.
You can give at https://igg.me/at/CongoBiblesV2
You can see more information about these efforts at www.CongoBlessings.org.
Here are our 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 God would bring unity, purity, peace and forgiveness to a long suffering people.
Prayers for Business Formation:
· That God would bring the “right” people to us.
· 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 who could be effective leaders in Bukavu.
· That God would help us understand how the Congolese think and view the world.
· That God would use us to answer the prayers of His people in Bukavu.
· That God would help us communicate the need for counter cultural leadership.
Prayers for the Trip in June 2013:
· 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 we would enjoy the time together as family.
· That God would keep us free from unnecessary health and safety issues.
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”