Saturday, July 24, 2010

Congo Trip Report

Dear Friends in Christ,

We arrived back from Congo on Saturday night (July 17) around 9:30 pm after being up for almost 48 hours with little sleep. Edie contracted a bug on the last day in Congo and had a grueling trip home. She finally has gotten the right medication and is starting to feel better now 5 days later.

Overall, our trip was outstanding. The Shammah church that we worked with most of the time we were there received us really well. They are a rather affluent church for Africa and did a great job of organizing the training conference. We had expected to train a small number of pastors and, as it turned out, we had large crowds. In the mornings, we had around 200 with half of those being pastors. In the evenings, we had 500 or more. Al, and his partner Mark, both had to change the materials they had prepared to fit the larger crowds. Chairs were set up outside for about half the crowd. Edie had about 100 women in the sessions that she taught.

In the evenings, singing groups, famous in Congo, were brought in to lead worship. They were excellent. Everything was videotaped and played on a TV for those outside to watch. They gave us CD’s of the entire conference to take home with us.

One of the Shammah pastors commented that they were glad we were offering the pastors an alternative to the “health and wealth” teaching that is so prevalent in the Congo. We hope that the biblical foundation we gave them will help to steer them away from this teaching and other heresies that are abundant in the churches there. On the weekend, we presented several teachings on marriage and it really seemed to help them begin to establish a biblical perspective on marriage.

On Saturday, they wanted to take us to a cave that was about 3 hours from Kinshasa, so we got to see some of the countryside. The cave was quite a challenge. It was undeveloped and we walked a long ways to get to it and then down a steep hill into a ravine to the entrance. Inside we hiked further down to a waterfall at the bottom. It was a difficult trip in but much more challenging coming out. The Africans had not been there before and were as surprised as we were about the hike. Happily, we all made it out okay, although we were a little sore the next day.

The following week we spent a couple of days with the Free Church pastors in the Kinshasa area. It was a delightful time together to begin to build relationships with these men. We only taught a couple of times and spent the rest of the time listening to their stories and learning about their challenges. We hope to return to help train them in the future.

Once again, we want to thank you for your prayers and support that make it possible for us to do this work. We saw God provide in marvelous ways. Please continue to pray as we prepare to travel to Kenya and Burundi August 10 through September 5.

Al and Edie

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