Duration: Wednesday 29th July to Thursday 13th August.
Arriving in Kisangani in Congo (DRC) The realities of Christ’s concern over the people of his time ‘…. Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a Shepard..’ (Mathew 9:36) Everybody seamed harassed and everybody is harassing everybody else. Big Lorries harassed small cars out of the road, cars harass motorbikes, motorbikes harass cyclists, Cyclists harass pedestrians and pedestrians harass one another. Tabitha, one of the missioners asked one motorbike rider why he had to hoot all the way as he was taking her to some place and his response was, ‘if you don’t hoot nobody will get out of the way’
Our trip started on the wrong foot because we missed the bus we hard booked, a 7.00 pm Kampala Coach. I was stuck for two hours between Guru Nanak to River road where we were boarding the bus. Tabitha had to walk from Westlands to get to town in time. Pastor Paluku, our Congo associate who was following visas for us had to keep updating me on how they were negotiating with the bus company. Alice and Tabitha strangely never panicked all this time. By the time I had arrived they were in a supermarket getting snacks for the jouney. We finally boarded the 10.00pm bus that was from Dar Es Salaam. The bus was so fast yet very comfortable. We were in Kampala by 10.00 am.
We dropped at Kireka, outskirts of Kampala at Nick Warui’s house. We were refreshed and later did some tour of Kampala. By 6.00am am the following day we were at the bus pack for Kasidi bus (Kasidi is the border town on Congo side, The Uganda border town is called Mpondwe). We crossed Uganda Congo boarder around 6.00 pm E A time and 5.00pm Congo time. The people on Congo border customs refused to allow us in giving many reasons, one of them, they were not sure we had money to take us to Kisangani. They demanded I show them the money but I refused. I knew they were capable of taking some or even all. We made many calls both in Kenya and Congo. In fact when I ran out of telephone credit is when they finally released our passports. That was after about an hour. We were directed to the health office where we were asked to pay $6. When we asked for the receipt we were rudely dismissed.
By God’s grace we were squeezed into a Toyota saloon, 7 Passengers, 5 at the back and 2 with the driver. The driver was a pastor but all the way he cursed shouted and insulted other drivers. We got Beni at around 10.00pm and were accommodated at CECA 20 Francophone. At first the host looked surprised, later he told us he had no idea we were on the way. The pastor in Bunia had assured us he had done all the arrangements although later when we asked him he admitted that he had not communicates with the host in Beni. Early the following morning we took another saloon car (taxi) to Bunia, about 250km. We got there at 1.00pm and were warmly received. We stayed in Bunia from Friday, the day we arrived till Monday.
On Monday we were meant to leave for kisangani at 10.00am but did not leave till 2.00pm.It was not until the time of departure that we were assured of space in the mini bus. It was hired by the Church to ferry some pastors who had graduated from Sharom University in Bunia to Kisangani and Neighboring towns where they came from. They had their families and luggage so we needed to wait until all the packing was done. We had no choice because the only bus to Kisangani traveled on Tuesday.
We arrived in kisangani slightly after 2.00pm the following day, about 24 hours of travel. At about 5.30pm, Robert, a young man from Parklands Baptist Young adult fellowship, working in kisangani picked us and took us to his house. He took care of us till we left on Monday 10th.
After ministering from Wednesday to Sunday we boarded a 33 Seater minibus though it had more than 50 passengers. We somehow squeezed and were not crashed though we had to do with lots of smoking. They were shocked that we could complain and actually our complains seamed like it was an encouragement to more smoking. We got to Beni about 3.00 pm and immediately boarded a saloon car to the boarder. We got there a few minutes before the border was crossed and miraculously the same customs people who had harassed us when we were entering helped us to get transport to Uganda side. We leant later that the customs boss had been sacked three days earlier.
The Uganda customs office had crossed so we had to get lodgings for the night. By 8.00am the following morning after we had cleared with Uganda border, God provided a bus that had ferried some peace keepers to Bunia in Congo. They were on their way back to Kampala. We were able to get to Kampala at 4.00pm in time to get a Kampala coach bus from Kigali-Rwanda to Nairobi. We got to Nairobi at 6.00am.
Our ministry started in Uganda. I needed to get updates on the Pastors seminar our associate Nick Munyiri. Nick exited us with news about a children’s home cam school his ministry is taking over in western Uganda. The home has 81 Orphans and they need about Kshs12000 per year to feed and educate them. He trusts that God will provide people to sponsor those children. So far 12 children have gotten sponsors. The exiting bit is that the community had trusted him because of the previous ministry to them. We also learnt that the pastors that attended the leadership seminar in may were doing a lot of outreach within their provinces. We were not able to get real statistics because we did not have much time in Uganda.
In Bunia we got exiting reports of the effect of the evangelism training we had in March. In fact the host church was concluding their one month outreach and we were fortunate to attend their final open air preaching. Those who attended the training came with their evangecubes and counseled with those who were getting saved. The leader of the evangelism ministry proudly told us how easy it is for members to share the gospel and especially one on one. On Sunday the pastor preached on an evangelizing church.
After the service we met with those who had done the Evangecube training. The reports were many and exciting but we did not have much time. The most exciting of all is about one man who has a ministry to the pygmies. Since the training he has reached over one thousand pygmies and over 600 had prayed to receive Jesus. Many who had gotten out of faith were restored and had gone back to sharing in the Holy Communion. He was planning a major baptismal service for the pygmies. It was Gods working because he never lived in Bunia. The two times, the time of training and the time of the review he had arrived in town on other businesses and it coincided with our arrival.
Our work in Kisangani had so many obstacles. The original hosts changed their minds and decided not to be involved with us. They could not even allow us to use their church buildings. The church that had accepted to host us was not ready to accommodate us or communicate our presence. Two Pastors we had gone with from Bunia had to use their connections to get us venues and do invitations.
By the time we arrived in Kisangani our materials the Evangecubes were still stuck in Butembo almost a thousand kilometers away. By Gods grace one new friend we had made, a Pastor and also a businessman used his connections to have them flown to Kisangani. He also paid the cost. We were finally able to train about 150 people how to Evangelize using Evangecube. We also did three True love Waits seminars with about 130 youths.
Compared with the responses we get in Kenya very few youths made commitments to sexual purity. The pastor told us that sexual purity talk is a very rare thing. One Pastor confessed that he is yet to join in marriage a man or a woman who has not been sexually active. He said that most of those he had joined in marriage had confessed having had sexual relationship with the one they were marrying.
From Nairobi God placed angels strategically to minister to us.
1.Alice one of the girls we were going with almost missed the yellow fever vaccination because she got there a few minutes before the city council clinic crossed. She did not have enough cash but the man in the clinic accepted to give her the vaccination and wait for the money as he crossed the clinic.
2.The transport company did not seem disappointed that I arrived late. They were actually sorry even as they helped us into the 10.00pm bus.
3.In Kampala Mrs. warui refreshed us and Mr. Warui took us to the bus park to board a bus to Congo.
4.From Beni to Bunia, since we did not have a good rest and reception God provided passengers who ministered to us all the way. In fact the car took us directly to the host church and handed us to the host at no extra cost.
5.Pastor Mathe was available to minister to us and even accompany us to Kisangani. It would have been impossible to do anything in Kisangani if pastor Mathe was not available. He really moved around on our behalf. He also helped a lot when our Kiswahili proved too hard.
6.In Kisangani, after realizing that we had no place to stay Robert came to our rescue not only providing us with a place to stay but also assuring us of taking care of us as long as we were there. He fed us and gave us all the water we needed. (kisangani is very hot)
7.Still in Kisangani God gave us Pastor Samson who not only provided ministry but also made arrangements for evangecubes to be airlifted from Butembo to Kisangani. He paid the cost. A few times he sent motorbikes to take us places also at his cost.
8.Traveling back we were shocked at change of attitude by Congo immigration officers. They not only cleared us overtime but got us a lift by some buses hired by UN to get us to Uganda immigration offices.
9.The Uganda immigration offices were crossed so we needed a place to stay. We put our luggage in front of a shop that was crossing. The girls from the shop made it their responsibility to get us a place. They even agued with some motorbike taxi people who tried to trick us into traveling to the next shopping centre ageing that there were no sleeping places. We moved with them till we got a place. They left after we had paid for the rooms.
10.After clearing with Uganda Customs, one of the buses hired by UN to take soldiers to Bunia came with the drive, a UN official and a man with the bus company. The agreed to take us to Kampala at the cost of 50 000Ugshs. It was fairly had to get a direct bus to kampala.
11.At Kampala we got there and was told tat all the buses were fully booked. Just before we left to look for a place to spend the night the conductor with Kampala Coach from Kigali got us three places and we were able to travel to Nairobi the same night.
God Is Faithful:
Thank you for praying and generously giving. The Lord Jesus abundantly bless you.