Congo Trip July 2014 – Update 5

August 2, 2014

Dear friends,

Since my last letter, the work continues at Matende. I made another trip to Kikwit to meet with Church leaders, and then this week David accompanied me on the trip to visit two other missions.

Wednesday, July 23 

Back from Kikwit with boards and screws.  Good discussion with church leaders and Dr Benza, the head of Mennonite Church at Kikwit. On the trip back it took us one hour to drive the last seven miles to Matende because of holes. We had two bananas for lunch. Cold soup in evening but big bowl of rice and crispy Congo cane sugar and big slices of pineapple! 

Friday, July 25

Worked on grinder today, Drain pipes finished tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26

Normally we stop work at noon on Saturdays. But the men doing the building and roof work wanted to keep going until after 3 p.m. All of the rain troughs are finished and connected to the rain pipes. The wall going up in the Church is clear up past the windows. At noon we fed 40 men their lunch. Yesterday I tried to get the grinder functioning properly. It is the machine we ordered from the U.S. and brought with us in our suitcase, for the women to grind manioc flour. I am not yet satisfied with it.Will have to keep trying.

Sunday, July 27

Sun evening, we are sitting out on side of house in a breeze, rather hot this afternoon. Preached in church this morning. This afternoon we tried out the grinder again.  The grinder does not work the way we’d hoped.The women aren’t really satisfied. It doesnt grind the flour fine enough. Too slow. Need to try other settings. Fufu needs to have very fine flour because they swallow it without chewing. When set fine enough, it is hard to crank. But it could be used for other things such as corn or peanuts and can always be used  here in the house. I tell Char the women need to learn how to make corn bread. We eat her granola every morning for breakfast with the powdered milk we brought in our suitcase. No where to buy bread and no ovens for baking.

We are outside talking this evening, David dreaming of a nice pizza or bread and butter. 

Monday, July 28

Hot day even in evening. Good progress. We can hope to finish tomorrow. Macons have got the wall up to the roof. Nelson hauled more water, sand, stones. David connecting drain pipes. We will leave Wednesday for Iwungu-Nsamba. 

Tuesday, July 29

The end of a long day, and the end of the work on the house here with its new roof.

The cistern is all cemented up and painted inside with a nice coat of epoxy.

The rain gutters around the house are finished and pipes are connected to the cistern to capture rain water;

The new wall of cement blocks in the Church is completed

We gave out 34 French Bibles to all the workers and men who are in charge at Matende.

Wednesday, July 30

Today we made the trip to the Mission Iwungu Nzamba, leaving Matende at 10 a.m. and arriving at 3 p.m. The roads are very bad. The buildings of the Mission are in poor condition, and no electricity or running water. But we were given a wonderful reception, and we are happy to be here for the night.

Thursday, July 31

Just finished the meeting at Iwungu. David gone down to where there is the spring where the folks get their water.  When they get back we will leave for Idiofa, at 1 p.m. We arrive around 6:20 p.m. Only 30 kilometers but five hours of driving on bumpy roads, very tiring.

There is no electricity or running water, no connection to internet all this week. I had hoped to be able to send some photos this week but it will have to wait until we return to Kinshasa next week. We stay here tonight. 

Thank you for your prayers. We know that God is at work and we praise Him for his strength each day and protection along the roads.

I Timothy 2:1, 3 and 4: « I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone… This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. »

God bless you each one,

Bud Kroeker and David Torrini

Congo Trip July 2014 – Update 2, Arrive in Matende

Congo Trip # 2
July 11, 2014

Dear Friends,

Thursday night we finally arrived at Matende! Passing through Kikwit on our way, we stopped for dinner at the home of Nelson Kayamba’s sister. She is a very active Christian and mayor of that section of the city. We enjoyed the meal after two days of travel with only bananas and other fruit.

There was a wonderful welcome at Matende when we arrived at 7 p.m. even though it was already dark. The children were singing and laughing along the road as the truck pulled in. We were very touched.

Our stay in Kinshasa took longer than we had expected, but we were very happy for:

The friends we were able to talk with

Dan Gring’s sister and husband who helped us find addresses for stores and places we needed to find, Osée, our truck driver from last year (who is a pastor with their mission), Nelson’s family. He spent the five days with his mother. And then she took a bus to Kikwit on Wednesday to meet us and be able to ride in the truck the last 50 miles to Matende, her home town where all her children grew up.

David Dehan, the Belgian fellow who is an agricultural missionary, came to Kinshasa to meet with us and exchange news and ideas and information. It was good for David Torrini, my Belgian co-worker to have this visit right at the beginning of our trip.

The truck was waiting for us

Saturday morning Osée and Nelson drove it to the Hostel where David and I were lodging in Kinshasa. Nelson decided to apply for a Congolese driver’s license, since his is from Germany where he is a truck driver. So we knew there would be lots of errands on Monday. Passing inspection, paying Insurance, tax, getting the right documents..

Finding all the stores that sold the materials we were looking for

We needed to find paint, a special product for lining the inside of the cistern, boards less expensive than in Kikwit, and even pieces of corrugated tin for the rain gutters we hope to build at Matende. David saw men making them along the side of the road as we passed through the city Saturday. So we stopped and ordered some we could pick up Monday for loading into the truck.

Immersed into the local culture

Saturday afternoon Eric Kumedisa invited us to his daughter’s wedding supper, and this was a wonderful occasion to see first hand the way another culture dresses, eats, talks, sings, preaches and celebrates a very special occasion. David fit in very well, and is totally at ease talking with people and making friends; His smile is contagious in any language, but since everyone there spoke French with him, there were no linguistic barriers. During our time in Kinshasa the weather was actually cooler than normal, so we had no problem of heat. Just a few mosquitos one night. Set up the mosquito nets. David has no problem trying new foods or tastes. And doesn’t mind going without a meal.

Finding a place to spend the night

We stopped half way along the road to Kikwit this time, and found a little hotel in a town. The truck doesn’t go much faster than 45 miles an hour, and the 700 kilometers is long when trying to go clear to Kikwit in one day. So this way we could get a rest before the second stretch of the voyage to Matende.

We found the Congolese Bank (BIAC) in Kinshasa, and they agreed that our Congo Open Heart Bank account had been opened in Paris back in May, and that some money had been transferred, but hadn’t yet arrived. This was disappointing. We had counted on drawing out money for all the purchases in the city, and we purposely wanted to test out their transfer system. More time was wasted looking for bank machines that would take the Visa card in order to draw out cash. I think we tried four or five machines and took out a little at each one. This is the first trip that I didn’t bring much money in my pocket. Fortunately some had been transferred to Eric Kumedisa ahead of time for all the truck insurance, papers, lodging, etc. This bank has also opened a branch in Kikwit, so pray that things will work out there.

We are so grateful for the gifts that have been coming in for this trip. From the U.S., from Belgian friends, and also four transfers were made to the Congo Open Heart bank account from Germany! (in euros) People who know Nelson wanted to contribute to the expenses of the trip. This is the first time we have seen this.

We are filled with joy and thankfulness to God for his protection along the road. He provides day after day in spite of our weaknesses and failures. Pray with us that He will supply us with the necessary strength and wisdom as we face the challenges ahead.

2 Corinthians 4 reminds us: “since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart… For God, who said,

Let light shine out of darkness,  made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

(verses 1, 6 and 7)

In Him,

Bud Kroeker

D. M. Stearns Missionary Fund
P.O.Box 1578
North Wales, PA 19454  USA
designate gift to Congo Open Heart, account 116

Congo Trip 2011: Kinshasa to Kikwit

Mbote, Beto me kwiza na Kikwit.

Salut, Nous sommes arrivés à Kikwit dimanche soir à 22 h.

Greetings, We arrived in Kikwit Sunday evening at 10 pm.

Clement

(Click on each picture to view larger)

“When are You Coming Back?”

In March 2010, Clement “Bud” Kroeker and Olivier Engels traveled to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to begin meeting with local Congolese to learn what is most needed and what can be done. Here is what Clement reported at the conclusion of that trip:

If we had to choose two words to express our trip they would be joy and sadness. We were welcomed so joyfully everywhere we went by a large number of people and pastors who expressed their gratitude and thanked God we had come to visit. We were touched meeting so many faithful Christians.

But the sad part was to see things in such a poor, run-down condition. Former buildings of schools, churches, and health centers lying in ruins or very dilapidated, or nothing left at all. The people have not been able to rebuild since the wars and rebellion of the Mulele troops in 1963 followed by Mobutu’s troops. Here and there a few metal roofs cover a torn down wall or two. Pieces of bricks or other walls give evidence of buildings that were built there over 50 years ago, but now the tall, wild grass covers everything. Besides this there is a total lack of Bibles, Christian literature or education materials for the schools.

We had hoped to visit 15 of the old mission stations, but the condition of the roads makes it impossible. Nor was there time. Nor were the vehicles in good enough condition to make the trip. But we were able to visit six mission stations that I knew well in my youth, plus three cities of the province in addition to Kinshasa that makes ten centers of contacts. They were happy that I still could understand and speak Kikongo, but getting back into practice, we used French most of the time.

Before returning to Kikwit at the end of our time in the bush, we went back a second time to Matende, the last mission station where I lived with my family until 1950. Everyone agreed that this area is the most logical place to rebuild. It is closest to the highway, and closest to Kikwit. The leaders of the Matende area are eager to rebuild and show the most enthusiasm. Parts of a clinic and a school still are used although in terrible condition. A Christian doctor comes to work several days each month. The mission still owns its plot of 25 acres of land plus 150 acres of agricultural land.

We talked with the Christian leaders and pastors at Matende, again in Kikwit and again in Kinshasa and discussed ways of turning this land into a center for spiritual refreshment, education, agriculture and communication. The project has no funding but there is a desire to pray and work. If it is God’s will, there will be help for the building of schools, churches, dispensary and housing for volunteers and personnel. Also discussed was a way to use clean energy, have Internet connection, and start a library or even a small printing press.

Each time they asked the question: When are you coming back?