God has been on a mission to redeem the world and that's a very big mission! But there are times when I think God invites us to join with Him in His work. It's almost as if God says “come and see what I'm doing,” “work alongside Me and learn from Me.” He doesn't seem to ask if we want to, or if we know how to, He just says “come” and invites us to trust that He will do the rest.
People ask me why I am going to Congo. The short answer is "I do not know,” but the deeper answer is because God has invited me. God has always been working in the Congo and the Covenant Church has been working there for 77 years. God deeply desires that the people of Congo, along with all people in the world, know Him and live their lives with Him. That was His first design and ultimately is His fulfilled design for us.
If you have a device with a computer chip in it you likely have a piece of the Congo. Coltan, used in making computer chips, is mined in Congo both legally and illegally. Congo is approximately the size of the western United States. The country has potentially the greatest amount of natural resources and yet is ranked 187 out of 187 of the poorest countries in the world. Much of the Congo was colonized beginning in the late 1800s and into the 1900s, approximately 100 years ago, by King Leopold of Belgium. Ten million lives were lost in this Holocaust as the country was inslaved within its’ own borders. Such devastation, followed by civil wars and rebel uprisings, have left the country very unstable and the people impoverished. Today the average life expectancy is 48 years and 1 out of every 5 children dies before the age of 5yrs old. The Covenant Church has been working to bring Christ, and physical health, to the people in the northwest region of Congo. The Covenant Church in Congo is now twice the size of the US church!
I have been asked to go as part of a humanitarian delegation of 6 people from the North American Covenant Church. FCC first sent a career missionary, Barbara Johnson, to Congo in the year 1964 and currently we have Tim Smith from FCC, along with his wife Helen, serving in Congo as career missionaries.
Through a memorial gift from the Norma Peterson Estate, FCC will be partnering with a clinic in a small rural village in Congo over the next five years. The clinic has no electricity or running water and is staffed by one nurse. The closest hospital is a 10 mile walk , there are no roads, and at the hospital there is 1 doctor for 880,000 people. The conditions seem dire and yet…. God has a heart for Congo and is giving us an opportunity to partner with Him.
I would appreciate your prayers as I leave on January 7th. Please pray that God will help me to see and to know what His plans are, and to discover how FCC and the Covenant Church might continue to partner with Him. Please pray that I will be able to share the love of God with our brothers and sisters in Congo, pray that God will minimize the cultural and language barriers that will exist. After I return on January 18th I will look forward to sharing more with you as together we partner with God’s mission in Congo. I believe He has exciting things for us all!