International Ministries

Most Thankful

September 20, 2004 Journal

Dear Friends:

Welcome changes are in the air! Church worship usually starts at 9:30 and while it is now 10:45, church has still not started!Why?Because we are being blessed with the first REAL RAIN since last April.NOW people will be able to plant their crops with confidence!

We are celebrating God's answers to several of our Asks, Seeking and Knocking. Matthew 7:7


This weekend we are waiting confirmation of shipment to Kinshasa of 36,000 pre-germinated seeds from Costa Rica.During this our third year, the seeds will help over 200 small groups of farmers establish 600 acres of oil palm plantations.In the Kikongo area, we will be planting 6,500 seedlings. We are thankful that the polybags arrived and were distributed this week for preparing the nurseries where the plants will live for their first year.

Tuesday I will travel to Kinshasa to help facilitate the details of the seeds arrival.Pray for the timely ADVANCE arrival of the customs-clearance documents with no errors, for the safe arrival of the seed, for a smooth transition through customs, for dependable transportation to all the distribution sites in the interior, and for safe arrival at the farmers' nurseries. Since the proto-root continues to grow during shipment, one MUST plant the seed within 18 days of germination in Costa Rica.

Pray too, for good communication between those of us in leadership, and that we will be good witnesses to the transforming power of God's love.


A ram pump uses the power of "falling water" to pump water UP the hill to the hospital and village. After three years of false starts and anticipated solutions, Paul Fountain, who designed and installed the original system, had sent us improved plans of the original pumps. (The pump is "simple," using only a few feet of 4 inch steel pipe, and some sheet steel to make flanges, etc.)

After receiving no bids in Kinshasa, I talked with representatives of 5 companies while in the States for our daughter's wedding. The lowest bid was over $3,000 for one pump, and we need three. Needless to say I was VERY discouraged.

During morning worship at Grace Harbor (Baptist) Church in Tustin, CA, we were asked for prayer requests.Among the requests, we shared the need for someone who could weld the three small pumps at a reasonable price.A man at the back of the church waved his hand and said he was sure that he could help.After the service this man, Andy Thomas, invited me to his company the next morning, where after viewing the plans, he said he was sure that they could do it for the COST OF MATERIALS ONLY!(If you should ever need scrap-processing equipment, please get in touch with me so I can refer you to the Enterprise Company in Santa Ana, where Andy is Shop Supervisor!)

As I write, the pumps are being built. Shipping to the D.R. Congo will be in cooperation with SANRU, a DRC-nationwide health project directed by Dr. Bill Clemmer, a fellow IM missionary. This means that there will be no customs fees demanded for the pumps--another MAJOR "multiplication of the loaves and fishes".We are MOST THANKFUL for Andy, the faithfulness of Grace Harbor Church, and the help of SANRU.


As I write, Lynn while searching in a box on the floor for a file, was SURPRISED to discover a baby scorpion.We are MOST thankful that it was during the daylight and that she discovered IT before IT discovered her!!


About once a month I am asked to preach at morning worship. Since I must compose the sermons in French and then need translation into Kituba, I have to choose my subject well over two weeks in advance.October 10th will be the "Thanksgiving Sunday Offering", and since the first of September, every morning's message has been on giving generously TO the church.

Using 2 Cor. 8: 1-4, 13 + 14, I decided to speak on the reality of how RICH our local church is here in this particular village, and OUR NEED AS A CHURCH TO GIVE TO OTHERS beyond ourselves.(Over half of our families have someone with a monthly salary, even IF it is only $7 a month.Most villages in this area have NO paid jobs. So, our DAILY chapel offering is more that smaller churches receive in an ENTIRE MONTH!)

The sermon the day before mine dovetailed perfectly with what I was planning to share, as the Senior pastor focused on "how rich" we are here, and how these "riches" are a gift to us, beyond just our own doing. While there has been no "formal decision" as yet to share the offering, several folk have spoken to me enthusiastically of various possibilities.


The triplets, for whom we have prayed since our arrival here, were dressed in their school uniforms this past week to start kindergarten.(Most multiple birth children do not make it to 3 years old!)Thanks to all of you who comb the yard-sales for white tops and navy or black bottoms to dress some of the poorest school kids.Our ever-popular work-for-school fees program is underway.


Is having to read wonderful books and research favorite subjects real work?Both of us are being asked to teach several new courses this year--are we ever having fun preparing!And it is getting easier to speak spontaneously in decent French.


We are most thankful for the privilege of having had time together with our family for our daughter Kim's wedding to Jason Lehl, July 31st in San Juan Capistrano.The outdoor setting was as exquisite as the bride was elegant and the groom handsome, but of course we are prejudiced.A spirit of generous giving pervaded not only the wedding event but all of our days together.Our time in the States also allowed brief visits with friends from several congregations, and with Lynn's father in the DC area.We are thankful too, for safe, speedy, and mostly hassel-free travel.

Pray for continuing good health, discernment for use of time and energy, and staying in the deep, abiding love of our Maker.We send you our love with wishes for joy in your present life engagements.


Virgil and Lynn