International Ministries

Lowery - International Ministries The latest from Jill and Mike Lowery https://internationalministries.org/teams/75-lowery.rss Nzunzu!! (Moving Forward) <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Dear Ones,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">I'm so excited to officially announce that we're building a new building for the Mitendi Primary School (which currently holds classes inside the Mitendi Women's Center), and thanks to some very generous donors, we're kicking off the fund-raising with half the funds needed already in hand! Amazing!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; text-align: center;">Have you ever wondered if you would do something that would impact the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids in Congo? Well, here's your chance to make a double impact!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><b>OUR STORY</b>: During the last 10 years the Mitendi area of Kinshasa has experienced a population explosion. The majority of the families that live in the area surrounding the Mitendi Women's Center have fled to the capital city to find work, but sadly, they live at what we would consider refugee status. The government is unable keep up with their needs. The Congolese Baptist Women, who run the Mitendi Center, could not ignore the fact that there were over 1,000 children in the immediate neighborhood not attending school. Mama Mfulu, a Mitendi staff member, said to me, “This is a disaster waiting to happen. We can either wait 5 or 10 years, when all of these children are deeply imbedded in gang life and prostitution, to reach out to them then – or we can do something now to provide for their education and a more secure future. For me there is no choice!”</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">In 2011, the Congolese Baptist Women opened a primary school in the Mitendi Women's Center building.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>OUR SITUATION</b>: The current primary school has reached its maximum capacity of 330 primary school students (grade levels 1-6).</span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">With those 330 students, 95 at-risk girls in our training program, and 13 permanent staff members, we are exploding at the seams of the Mitendi Women's Center building! It simply is not feasible to continue to accommodate both programs in this one building.</span>&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><b>OUR SOLUTION</b>: We have prayerfully considered building a separate primary school building.&nbsp; God willing, we will begin construction in May 2017. With 12 acres, secured within the beautiful wall, we have plenty of space. The school building will include six classrooms, a meeting room, a library, storeroom, administrative office, and all the furnishings. It will have the capacity to serve over 700 students – more than double the number of students currently enrolled in the primary school – and will free up the Mitendi Center building for its intended purpose: ministering to young at-risk women.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">The building cost: $167,351.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><b>YOUR OPPORTUNITY</b>: Generous donors have already pledged half the amount of the project ($83,000) and are challenging others to respond with the additional funding. Give to the “Mitendi Primary School Building” and your donation will have a double impact. Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar and will release the challenge money to fully fund the project!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Most importantly, your gift will provide the school where thousands of the most vulnerable children in Congo will build a better future.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">HOW TO GIVE:<o:p></o:p></span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops:list .5in"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Online. </span></b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Use the following link: </span><a href="https://internationalministries.org/projects/255"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt">https://internationalministries.org/projects/255</span></a><span style="font-size:11.0pt">. Locate the GIVE box on the right. Enter the amount you would like to contribute and use the give button to donate by credit card.<b><o:p></o:p></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops:list .5in"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">By phone. </span></b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Call Carol at</span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Liberation Serif&quot;"> </span><a href="tel:(800)%20222-3872"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Liberation Serif&quot;;color:#0000CC">1-800-222-3872, ext. 2323</span></a><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Liberation Serif&quot;;color:#0000CC">, </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">to give by credit card.<b><o:p></o:p></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops:list .5in"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">By check. </span></b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Make your check payable to International Ministries, write “Mitendi Primary School Building” on the memo line, and mail to International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops:list .5in"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">NEW ONLINE GIVING OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">1. </span></b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">With your help, through the <b>Mitendi Women's Center Annual Fund</b>, we will provide scholarships for 65 at-risk girls and women in the Mitendi Women's Center training program.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2; tab-stops:list .5in"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-size: 11pt;">$380 provides housing, food, and materials for a young woman in our residential training program for a full year ($95 per quarter). <b><o:p></o:p></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">To give, use the following link:</span></b><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> </span><a href="https://internationalministries.org/projects/256"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Liberation Serif&quot;;color:black">https://internationalministries.org/projects/256</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt;">. Locate the GIVE box on the right. Enter the amount you would like to contribute and use the give button to donate by credit card. You may make a one-time donation or subscribe for a recurring gift.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size:11.0pt">2.</span></b><span style="font-size:11.0pt"> Through the <b>Mitendi Primary School Annual Fund</b>, we hope to provide scholarships for 200 of our most vulnerable primary school students.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo3; tab-stops:list .5in"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-variant-numeric: normal; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-size:11.0pt">$140 provides school fees and materials for a “most vulnerable” primary school student for a full year ($35 per quarter).</span><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-size: 11pt;">To give, use the following link:</span></b><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> </span><a href="https://internationalministries.org/projects/257"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Liberation Serif&quot;;color:black">https://internationalministries.org/projects/257</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt;">. Locate the GIVE box on the right. Enter the amount you would like to contribute and use the give button to donate by credit card. You may make a one-time donation or subscribe for a recurring gift.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">*If you have any questions, please contact Zofia Dripps, I.M. Mission Advancement, at 610-768-2311. You can always e-mail me, as well.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and for being part of this exciting project that will transform the lives of hundreds of Congo's most vulnerable women and children!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; text-align: center;">God bless you,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; text-align: center;">Jill&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><o:p></o:p></p> Mon, 08 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65069-nzunzu-moving-forward- https://internationalministries.org/read/65069-nzunzu-moving-forward- Another Unbelievable Mitendi Story <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="text-align: center; font-size: 11pt;">It was a long journey returning to the Congo from the U.S.</span><span style="text-align: center; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="text-align: center; font-size: 11pt;">After 9 months of almost constant travel, it felt so good to arrive back to our own little apartment and unpack our suitcases! We're happy to be settled, and as Michael said, “to be able to do the work instead of just talking about it for so long.”</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">I didn't hear much from Mitendi Women's Center while we were stateside. The CBCO/Mitendi leaders tend to spare me the details when I'm away so I can have a break. Needless to say, I was anxious to get out to the center and see things for myself.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">I was still jet-lagged, but made a surprise visit just days after we arrived back. I was flooded with relief as we pulled up to the gate and saw the Mitendi wall and everything intact. As I neared the building, I was bombarded with the happy sounds of the primary school classes in full swing. I had a wonderful welcome as staff members and many of the girls from our training program rushed out to greet me. They gave me a quick tour of the center and I was able to greet each of the classes. It was great to see the classrooms filled with all of those bright faces and the center's programs running smoothly.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">As a few of the staff members were walking me back to my car, I had a chance to congratulate them on how good everyone and everything looked. My joke about how it must have been a year with no problems was met with awkward laughter and a lot of nervous glances between the staff members. Tata Bienvenu, the primary school director, finally said there had been some challenges, but except for one incident, nothing critical and God was faithful to see them through it all.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">That one incident turned out to be another one of those “unbelievable Mitendi Stories”:</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Just after our departure, there was one last huge storm before the start of dry season in June. As a result, there was a major land slide across the road from the women's center that even took away half the road that runs in front of the Mitendi property, just a few yards from the wall. This is the main access road in and out of the capital city on the west side of town. In order to properly repair the road, they needed to divert the traffic. Our powerful “friends”, who have long been trying to steal the Mitendi property, saw it as an opportunity. They approached the Chinese road crew and “gave them permission” to knock down two main sections of our wall so they could put a temporary road right down the middle of the property.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Tata Bienvenu found out about it early in the morning, just as the backhoe was poised, bucket in the air, ready to knock down the very portion of the wall that we had fought so hard to complete last December! Without hesitation, he sprinted to the spot and put himself between the backhoe and the wall. With his arms stretched out, he shouted, “Arrete! Arrete!” It was a moment of total panic, and utter confusion on the part of the backhoe operator – who thought he had been given permission. The folks who illegally gave the permission were there, too, shouting at Bienvenu and threatening him. Tata Bienvenu stood his ground and said, “I'll die before I see you knock down this wall!” The backhoe operator, egged on by the crowd, went so far as to push the bucket down on Tata Bienvenu's head saying he would crush him if he didn't move. Thankfully, at that point, several other Mitendi staff began arriving for work and stood alongside Bienvenu until they could convince the road crew that they did not, in fact, have permission from the proper authorities, and before they could touch that wall, they had to produce official paperwork to prove it.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">All was quiet for a few days, and then a man showed up with an official letter from the government authorizing them to put a road right through the middle of Mitendi Center. Work would begin in the morning. Bienvenu was devastated. The road would literally divide the property at the very place where the squatters want to claim rights to the center's land and would re-ignite the whole land battle.&nbsp; He said he went to bed sick that night asking God, “after all we went through to win this battle, how can you let this happen?” He said surprisingly, he slept, but awoke in the middle of the night with a realization. Though, at the time, it wasn't showing because it was dry season, during the rainy season (8 months out of the year), in the very spot where they wanted to put the road, that area is basically a swamp. Because of the landscape, the runoff from the heavy rains all pool in that one area and has no where to go. Bienvenu knew, without a huge investment in fill dirt and gutters to divert the water, as soon as the first heavy rain hit, their temporary road would be useless.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Early the next morning, when the road crew arrived, Tata Bienvenu was waiting for them. He approached the engineers and calmly said, before you start your work, I just want to show you one thing.” While other Mitendi Staff members kept vigil near the wall, he took them to the site and explained about the water drainage problem. It was their first time inside the property. He said the engineers listened carefully, then walked around examining the powdery soil and conferring with one another in Chinese. After quite some time, they came back to him and said he was right, considering what it would cost to prepare the ground, it made no sense to put a temporary road through the Mitendi property. On top of that, once inside property, they discovered the school and the women's center and said they didn't want to endanger the children or disrupt the work going on there. Needless to say, our “friends” were not happy to hear the news. In a funny turn of events, the engineers became our advocates in defense of keeping our wall in tact and found a better place for their temporary road.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Hearing this story reminded me how privileged I am to work alongside people like Tata Bienvenu, Mama Jackie and the other Congolese Baptist Women. In a country where the majority of people are overwhelmed by the daily struggle for survival, these dear brothers and sisters willingly and at great cost to themselves, look beyond their own needs and live to serve the most vulnerable children and young at-risk women in their community.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life – a ransom for many. ~ Matt 20:28</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">As Tata Bienvenu stood with his arms stretched out reenacting for me how he faced down the backhoe, I saw a perfect picture of Jesus before me. One who desperately wants to bring God's love, hope and new life into this broken world – and one who is willing to sacrifice himself to make it happen.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">As we journey toward Easter, thinking about the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, I hope you will also keep in prayer these dear servants of Christ who are striving to make a difference in their community in Congo.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Happy Easter! He is Risen!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Jill and Mike <o:p></o:p></span></p><div style="mso-element:para-border-div;border:none black 1.0pt;border-bottom: double black 1.0pt;mso-border-alt:none black 0in;mso-border-bottom-alt:double black .75pt; padding:0in 0in 2.0pt 0in"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border:none;mso-border-alt:none black 0in;mso-border-bottom-alt: double black .75pt;padding:0in;mso-padding-alt:0in 0in 2.0pt 0in"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> </div><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">If you'd like to sponsor students at the Mitendi Primary School or at-risk girls in our training program in Mitendi Women's Center, you have two new options to give:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">1. Mitendi At-Risk Women's Annual Scholarship Fund:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">- $380 provides housing, food, and materials for a young woman in our residential training program for a full year ($95 per quarter).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">2. Mitendi Primary School Annual Scholarship Fund:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">- $140 provides school fees and materials for a “most vulnerable” primary school student for a full year ($70 per semester).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">Here's how you do it:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">1. Send a check filled out to “International Ministries” (any amount is appreciated)<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">2. On memo line please specify either “Mitendi Primary School Annual Scholarship Fund” or “Mitendi At-Risk Women Annual Scholarship Fund”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">3. Mail check to:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt">International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482</span><o:p></o:p></p> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64909-another-unbelievable-mitendi-story https://internationalministries.org/read/64909-another-unbelievable-mitendi-story Mitendi Baptism <div>Dear Ones,</div><div><br></div>I love baptisms! On a Saturday in June, I had the honor of witnessing the baptism of seven of our Mitendi girls! When we headed out of Kinshasa to the church early Saturday morning, I thought we were going to see only our girls baptized. I was wrong. In fact, they were part of a huge baptism celebration involving 8 churches. There were 46 baptismal candidates in total! To start the service, the head pastor gave a great message about what it means to be a follower of Christ. He explained the meaning of baptism and its place in the life of the believer. He also explained that baptism wasn't a spur of the moment decision for these candidates, but that each one had attended classes at their respective churches before deciding to make this public statement of faith.&nbsp; <div><br></div><div>The candidates were then called up one by one to give a short testimony. It was inspiring to hear them express their statements of faith. Each one said, “I am a follower of Jesus!” Many also added another proclamation like “I was lost in the dark, but Jesus brought me into the light” or “I was enslaved to the world, but now I'm free!” or “I was among the goats, and now I'm a sheep!” or “I was lost in the jungle, but Jesus put my feet upon the path!” At each statement the crowd cheered them on.&nbsp;<div><br></div><div>&nbsp;After giving their testimony, it was time to get in the long line to be baptized...&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>As the candidates lined up, the rest of us crowded around the baptistry to watch. The head pastor again asked each one, “Do you promise to follow Jesus all of your life?” With each affirmative answer, the pastor carefully dunked the person, making sure that every hair went under the water. I noticed that many of the young people seemed afraid and some even fought back. I realized that 90% of them had never been in water that deep. It made for some pretty dramatic emergences from the water.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>We were pretty packed together there by the baptistery, but I loved getting to stand with the excited family members as they witnessed their loved ones being baptized. My favorite part, of course, was seeing the baptism of the final seven (our Mitendi girls).Getting to see their expressions of joy and being part of the celebration of one of the most important moments in their lives is something I won't soon forget. What a privilege! I wish you all could have been there with us!&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Please pray for these young women as they seek live out their faith in very difficult circumstances. Five of the seven who were baptized are the girls who came to us from Inongo forest region, from the Batwa (Pygmy) tribe. Please pray that they will remain close to the Lord even after they return to their tribe, and for the impact they will have on their community through their faith and also the education and skills they are learning at Mitendi Women's Center. I am so grateful to all of you who make it possible for Mike and me to represent you in Christ's service here in the Congo! Thank you, also, for all your prayers and support for the ministry of the Mitendi Women's Center. You are helping change lives!&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;Much Love, </div></div><div><br></div><div>Jill</div> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:29:45 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59343-mitendi-baptism https://internationalministries.org/read/59343-mitendi-baptism New Outreach Opportunities for Mitendi Center <p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">I had a great meeting with this lovely lady yesterday. Mama Mayala is&nbsp;a literacy specialist. She trains teachers who teach others to read.</span></p><p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">She is going to help us improve our literacy program at Mitendi&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">Women's Center - both for our girls and also for women in the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">surrounding area.</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">Mama Myala doesn't only work in Kinshasa. She will literally go&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">anywhere in the country where she's invited. She reminded me that in&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">2005, she began working with a very isolated tribe of Batwa people&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">(Pigmey tribe). They invited her to stay with them in the forest and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">teach them to read.</span></p><p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">Since they have contact with the outside world&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">more often now, they know it's the only way they can learn about&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">what's happening and improve their lives. Since 2005, Mama Myala&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">has been raising her own support through local Congolese churches and friends,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">and she goes back as often as possible to continue teaching, as well as to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">encourage the Batwa people in their Christian faith. She's a true&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">missionary!</span></p><p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">Mama Mayala just returned from a visit with them last Wednesday. She&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">had some inspiring stories to tell of how the Batwa church is growing.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">They baptized 8 believers while she was there! Her main concern was&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">for 4 bright young teenage girls. They have no education, except that&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">they can read. They expressed interest in learning to become&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">seamstresses. She wanted to know if there was any way that these girls&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">might come and study at Mitendi Women's Center. I was thrilled to be&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">able to say yes - thanks to all of the folks who are contributing to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;">the scholarship fund for Mitendi Women's Center we can help them!</span><span style="font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: normal;"><br></span></p><p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Mama Mayala is making arrangements for the girls to come to Kinshasa&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">via boat. It will take them at least a week to arrive. Please keep&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">them in your prayers as they travel, and also while they settle into&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">life at the center. I'll keep you posted on their progress.</span></p><p align="LEFT" style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin-bottom: 0in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Again, I want to sincerely thank all of you who&nbsp;are&nbsp;giving&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">scholarships for Mitendi Women's Center. Because of&nbsp;you,&nbsp;we will be&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">able to help more girls than ever before.</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Another exciting development, we are adding two new teachers to&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">reinforce our classes in restaurant work and esthetiques&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">(cosmetology). Pray that the Lord guides us to just the right women&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">for this ministry.</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and all the ways you support&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">the ministries of Mitendi Women's Center. We can't do it without you!</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Much Love,</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: tahoma, verdana, segoe, sans-serif; line-height: normal;">Jill</span></p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 01:23:14 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55580-new-outreach-opportunities-for-mitendi-center https://internationalministries.org/read/55580-new-outreach-opportunities-for-mitendi-center Desks for the Mitendi School <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateContainer" style="border: 1px solid rgb(221, 221, 221); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><br><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateHeader" style="border-bottom-width: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td class="headerContent" style="border-collapse: collapse; color: rgb(32, 32, 32); font-family: Arial; font-size: 34px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 34px; padding: 0px; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;"><span style="font-size: 48px; font-family: georgia, serif; color: rgb(51, 102, 153);">Lowery Congo Update</span></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateBody"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="bodyContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr mc:repeatable="repeat_1" mc:repeatindex="0" mc:hideable="hideable_repeat_1_1" mchideable="hideable_repeat_1_1"><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="20" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><div style="text-align: right;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">May 2013</span></span></div></div><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/75" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153);"><img src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/MELpuisJEL_560.jpg" alt="Jill and Mike Lowery" border="0" width="560" height="251" style="border: 0px none; height: 251px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; text-decoration: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; max-width: 560px;"></a></div><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><h4 class="h4" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px 0px 10px;">Desks for the Mitendi School</h4><p><u>Colossians 3:23-24</u><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;">&nbsp;-&nbsp;Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.</span></p><div><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The last several years trying to set up the Mitendi Center have been full of new challenges. Usually these have been huge and discouraging hurdles: things like political and economic problems, military coups, bureaucratic corruption, and legal battles. Sometimes, though, we're blessed with new and exciting ways to serve.<br>&nbsp;</p><h4 class="h4" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px 0px 10px;"><img align="none" height="330" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/9de2ca86-40c0-484d-b571-8331167741ac.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 330px; outline: none; text-decoration: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"></h4><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I got back from our last trip to the States and went to visit the Mitendi center, I was surprised to find it full of children from the neighborhood. Mitendi is an area on the very Western outskirts of Kinshasa. In the last several years, a few Congolese military and government officials have been building huge, beautiful homes for themselves in the area, but most of Mitendi is as poor and about as developed as any village in the interior. There is little running water or electricity, and aside from the main highway, no paved roads. In spite of some of the difficulties of living out there, it has been a wonderful place for the women our center helps—the view of the African grassland and the open spaces are a huge contrast to the mud-filled slums the women come from in the city.<br><br><img align="none" height="330" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/5d954477-dadc-41f3-bb3a-8417b81b9b5d.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 259px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>However, another resource that the area lacks—one that is even more crucial for development than electricity or water—is education. While the women of CBCO were working hard to create a center that would protect and retrain women who have been the victims of poverty, they were watching all the children of the area around the center grow up into the same problems the center is trying to solve. A combination of a population explosion and the poverty of the area means that there are literally hundreds of children who aren't in school.<br><br><img align="none" height="330" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/5397106d-0615-462e-98cc-2cbe7a059105.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 322px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>So when I walked in that day, I found that in addition to the courses for young women, the CBCO women had opened an elementary school! As Mama Pauline explained to me, "We realized that we could wait until these children are already gangsters and prostitutes, or we could do something to start helping them now. These children are the future of Congo.” We're very excited about having a program that impacts so many vulnerable families in the area. The school started with over three hundred school children and just eight volunteer teachers and staff. The students sat on the floor, sat on plastic chairs, and had no space to write—but they are happy to be there, happy to be learning, because thanks to the Mitendi Womens' Center and by the Grace of God, they now have a future. &nbsp;<br><br><img align="none" height="259" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/5fdf2969-b58e-49ef-a71f-52fd9f551254.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 302px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>For months, we were forced to use our center's plastic chairs for classroom seating, but the kids were so close together that they were easily distracted and left without a good workspace for writing or studying. However, thanks to the generosity of Olive Drive Church in Bakersfield, we've been able to provide these young students with beautiful new wooden desks!<br><br><img align="none" height="302" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/b2ece411-516d-4c85-8b3e-e764faf6a78e.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 303px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>I can't tell you how exciting it was the day the truck arrived with them. The director of the school had all the boys of the sixth grade class ready to help unload and move the desks into the classrooms. They were so excited to try them out that they kept setting them down right in the road and piling in! Thankfully, one of the blessings of Congo is that the only materials available for carpentry are African hardwoods—not just beautiful, but extremely durable!<br><br><img align="none" height="384" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/d0f4f6eb-9b7b-40af-87e7-e75e82840ba5.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 384px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>As we stood admiring them, Mr. Bienvenue was emotional as he explained to the boys that there was no school in Mitendi with desks anywhere close to the quality of ours, and how long they will serve generations of students studying at those desks.&nbsp;<br><br><img align="none" height="270" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/c9043ec6-5039-4196-83c5-b8a81b1fa14b.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 270px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br>Now the Mitendi children are thrilled to start the day's classes. They sit three or four to a desk, but they have the space to write, take notes and concentrate on the day's lessons. Children like these all over Congo are the future of Africa—and by God's grace these children starting to have a future they can believe in.<br>&nbsp;</p></div><div><img align="none" height="357" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/ea536360-8bc7-4181-90aa-ae1eda2b233e.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 357px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><img align="none" height="298" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/f947f7b2-c3bf-4332-a521-5a4e726f495e.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 298px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><img align="none" height="386" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/ba9d2d31-9728-49ac-9c04-d985a0f7c23a.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 386px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"></div></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateFooter" style="border-top-width: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="footerContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="social" style="border-collapse: collapse; background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250); border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153);"><img align="none" alt="International Ministries" height="66" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/american_baptist_international_ministries_english_logo.300.jpg" width="300" style="border: 1px solid rgb(73, 113, 186); height: 66px; line-height: 12px; outline: none; text-decoration: none; display: inline; width: 300px;"></a></div></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="350" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px;"></div></td><td valign="top" width="190" id="monkeyRewards" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px;"><div style="text-align: center;"><br></div></div></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="utility" style="border-collapse: collapse; border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><div><hr><p>The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. &nbsp;(<span lang="en-US" style="text-decoration: underline;">John 17:22–23)</span></p><hr></div><br></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> Wed, 14 May 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53981-desks-for-the-mitendi-school https://internationalministries.org/read/53981-desks-for-the-mitendi-school He Has Risen Indeed! <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateContainer" style="border: 1px solid rgb(221, 221, 221); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateBody"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="bodyContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr mc:repeatable="repeat_1" mc:repeatindex="0" mc:hideable="hideable_repeat_1_1" mchideable="hideable_repeat_1_1"><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="20" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><h4 class="h4" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px 0px 10px;">Easter Sunrise Service in Kinshasa</h4><p><em><u lang="en-US">Matthew 28:6</u>&nbsp;-&nbsp;<span lang="en-US">He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.</span></em><br><br>Will There be Easter Sunday Celebrations in Heaven?<br><br><img align="none" height="270" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/7ee3c69e-4c5a-4aee-bd37-6e25a7fb818d.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 270px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>I know we'll be singing "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us." We'll be celebrating a lot. In heaven, I think we'll look a lot like the group that met this Easter for a sunrise service on the Congo River.<br><br><img align="none" height="323" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/80ffb45e-9ef0-4dec-b38c-ac6bd0447f9c.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 323px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>There were people from around the world: many tribes and nations. There were poor people, rich people, influential people and not-so-influential people. There were women, children and men from all parts of the world.<br><br><img align="none" height="359" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/6663fbc6-059f-4477-83dd-9a641d652faf.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 359px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>We were there for one reason: To Celebrate the Risen Lord. We had baptisms, singing and worship. There was a message about Christ's victory over death.<br><br><img align="none" height="362" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/33f706ae-e4d6-4f8e-939f-2a6d8e2aebab.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 362px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>We shared our celebration with our brothers and sisters around the world who were gathering with the same purpose.&nbsp;It felt like a taste of Heaven. Our diversity added to the celebration.&nbsp;</p><p><img align="none" height="179" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/aea9221e-09b8-4807-b8ff-e7bb9ff2fbda.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 179px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>Not only had Jesus gained victory over Death; but, He was victorious in all our lives. No matter the tribe or the nation, Jesus was Victor over Sin and Death. We were gathered to lift up the Name above All Names and He was with us.<br><br><img align="none" height="290" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/7d6f191d-cbd8-49b7-baeb-dce05e05daf9.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 290px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>If there will be Easter Sunday Celebrations in Heaven, I think it will look a lot like the one we had here. Only, I'm sure it will be infinitely more joyous and more splendid.&nbsp;</p><p><img align="none" height="329" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/0021e88b-4c24-4797-b705-f165f1f9598f.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 329px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px; margin: 0px;"><br><br>He has risen, indeed.<br><br>God's Blessings,<br><br>Mike and Jill</p></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateFooter" style="border-top-width: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="footerContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="social" style="border-collapse: collapse; background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250); border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153);"><img align="none" alt="International Ministries" height="66" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/american_baptist_international_ministries_english_logo.300.jpg" width="300" style="border: 1px solid rgb(73, 113, 186); height: 66px; line-height: 12px; outline: none; text-decoration: none; display: inline; width: 300px;"></a></div></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="350" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px;"><br></div></td><td valign="top" width="190" id="monkeyRewards" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px;"><div style="text-align: center;"><br></div></div></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="utility" style="border-collapse: collapse; border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><hr><p><u lang="en-US">Luke 24:34</u>&nbsp;-&nbsp;<span lang="en-US">saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”</span></p><hr></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53984-he-has-risen-indeed- https://internationalministries.org/read/53984-he-has-risen-indeed- 24/7 Solar Power for the Kikongo Internet Project ! <div><h3 style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">Psalm 37:3 - Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.</h3><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">What started out as a dream in 2007 or 2008 has finally become reality. All we can do is praise the Lord for His faithfulness and for His favor in accomplishing this great work. Last October a team from The Summit Church in Boise, ID came out to complete the Power Phase of the Kikongo Internet Project. It took a lot of preparation and logistics to get the parts and the people in the same place at the same time. Jill did a lot of planning to make sure we had food, transportation and lodging for the team. Once the Boise group got going on the project, there was no holding them back.</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">The "Outside Team" were able to build frames, install panels and feed down line. The "Inside Team" worked on all the connections needed for lightning protection and over and under charge of the batteries. They installed and connected the batteries and set up a power converter to power the VSAT and the wireless connections necessary to provide Internet connections to the Pastor's Institute. It's a miracle of God's grace.</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">Our thanks to International Ministries for providing the initial funds for purchasing the satellite equipment. Thanks also to The Summit Church for taking on the solar portion of the project and for sending a team to install the equipment.</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">The next phase of this project will be to teach people who have never used a computer how to best use the Internet. Is there a a volunteer or two out there that would like to come to Congo and do that? That would be awesome!</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">Please pray for this new technology in Kikongo. Pray that we will find ways to use it to advance the Kingdom of God. Pray for protection, peace and provision.</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">Below are a few pictures that will give you a much better idea of the scope of this project.</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">God's Blessings,</div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Tahoma; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; widows: 2;">Mike and Jill</div><br></div> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/53745-24-7-solar-power-for-the-kikongo-internet-project- https://internationalministries.org/read/53745-24-7-solar-power-for-the-kikongo-internet-project- Massachusetts Associate Minister Endorsed for 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mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Kathy Charland of Westfield, Massachusetts has been endorsed by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to serve as a missionary in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:1"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Working with IM partner, the Baptist Community of Congo, Kathy will work at the Mitendi Center in Kinshasa which provides training in job and life skills to women at risk. Jill Lowery, current IM missionary, has been serving at the Mitendi Center since it opened its doors in 1999, and will serve as Kathy’s mentor as she becomes accustomed to the new environment.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">Kathy currently serves as Associate Minister at Progressive Community Baptist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is also a teacher at a private Christian school and the registrar and an instructor for the </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM) School of Ministry. <span style="color:black"></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">When asked why she feels called to this ministry, Kathy responded, “When I traveled to Zambia [and worked with IM missionaries, Charles and Sarah West] in 2007, I was struck by the vast disparity between those in the world who live comfortably and those who do not. I wondered how best to assist people like those I met there. My experiences in Zambia were never far from my mind.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">The regional Executive Minister of TABCOM, the Rev. Dr. Tony Pappas, is in full support of Kathy’s endorsement. “We have long known that Kathy’s heart was to serve the Lord and we are thrilled that such a significant opportunity is opening up for Kathy to do just that.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our prayers and blessings go with her!”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma; color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">As an endorsed missionary, Kathy will be working in the months ahead to build her Mission Partnership Network.&nbsp; She will be inviting individuals, groups and churches to partner with her by committing to share the spiritual, relational and financial support needed to begin her ministry in the DRC. </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma">Please join IM in celebrating this new endorsement and praying for Kathy as she invites others to join her in ministry. You may send words of encouragement and communicate directly with Kathy at <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/637-charland">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/637-charland</a></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">. Emails may be sent directly to Kathy at <a href="mailto:kathy.charland@internationalministries.org">kathy.charland@internationalministries.org</a>.</span></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">For more information, contact Catherine Nold: catherine.nold@abc-usa.org</i><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p></p> Tue, 22 Oct 2013 02:19:25 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50885-massachusetts-associate-minister-endorsed-for-missionary-service-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo https://internationalministries.org/read/50885-massachusetts-associate-minister-endorsed-for-missionary-service-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo Solar Power Equipment has Arrived! <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateContainer" style="border: 1px solid rgb(221, 221, 221); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateBody"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="bodyContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr mc:repeatable="repeat_1" mc:repeatindex="0" mc:hideable="hideable_repeat_1_1" mchideable="hideable_repeat_1_1"><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="20" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><h4 class="h4" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px 0px 10px;">The Equipment Has Arrived!</h4><p><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span lang="en-US" style="text-decoration: underline;">Matthew 17:20</span>&nbsp;-&nbsp;<span lang="en-US">He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”</span></span></p><div><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br>Just the logistics and connections required to get $15,000 worth of Solar Equipment to the Congo stretches my faith.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Here's how it happened...</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Our Pastor's Institute and missionaries in Kikongo needed Internet service. Through a grant supplied by International Ministries through the One Great Hour of Sharing we were able to purchase the equipment needed to receive Internet in the interior of Africa via satellite.&nbsp;</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Mission Aviation Fellowship arranged to ship in the equipment and install it at the Pastor's Institute. They even waved the power requirements temporarily so that we could have Internet for one or two hours a day. But, they insisted that eventually we would need to supply the system with power 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. (In my limited faith this seemed like an&nbsp;insurmountable&nbsp;obstacle. How could we ever make that happen?)</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><img align="none" alt="24 Deep Cycle Batteries for Kikongo" height="315" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/24Batteries560.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 315px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px;"><br><br>When the Summit Church in Boise, Idaho heard about this need they joined with the Northwest Region of American Baptist Churches and raised $15,000 to purchase the solar power system that we needed. That was a miracle in itself.&nbsp;</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But then we had to design the system and order it. We were put in contact with a group of people who do just that. Within a few days we had the system designed, purchase and shipped to a warehouse in Maryland. Another miracle.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">From there the equipment was loaded in a sea container with medicines and mosquito nets and other items headed for Africa for &nbsp;the needs of folks here. The equipment arrived in the port in Congo, was trucked up to Kinshasa and arrived in perfect condition. Another miracle.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><img align="none" alt="6 Large Capacity Solar Panels for Kikongo" height="315" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/6LargePanels560.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 315px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px;"><br><br>Then it was loaded in a Mission Aviation Plane, flown from the capital city to the interior and delivered to the missionary's door step in Kikongo. More miracles.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If I had one of those world maps like you see in the movies, I could draw a big dotted line from the origin of the equipment to Kikongo in Africa's interior. It's just amazing all that had to happen for the needed equipment to arrive here all in one piece. God truly is good.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But wait! There's more.The project isn't done yet! All this equipment still needs to be installed. The Summit Church is sending our a team in October to put all the equipment in place and get our 24/7 power system going. Again, ... a miracle.</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><img align="none" alt="Solar Panels will be installed on the roof of the Institute." height="315" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/OurLocation560.jpg" width="560" style="border: 0px; height: 315px; line-height: 14px; outline: none; display: inline; width: 560px;"><br><br>I would ask that you would pray for this team that is coming out to Congo to install the solar equipment. Please pray that they will stay healthy and will be safe. Pray also that the installation will go well and that no one will get injured or no equipment damaged. Pray that the team members will sense God's presence and that they will return home to their church praising God for all the miracles that have surrounded this project. Pray too for our brothers and sisters in Congo that this project will help them to grow and move forward in their own lives and that God would be glorified in all that we do.<br><br>(More to come next month...)</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br>Thank you and God's blessings,</p><p align="LEFT" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Mike and Jill Lowery</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td align="center" valign="top" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="600" id="templateFooter" style="border-top-width: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" class="footerContent" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="social" style="border-collapse: collapse; background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250); border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/" style="color: rgb(51, 102, 153);"><img align="none" alt="International Ministries" height="66" src="http://gallery.mailchimp.com/11fa9316d797279dfb7094e0f/images/american_baptist_international_ministries_english_logo.300.jpg" width="300" style="border: 1px solid rgb(73, 113, 186); height: 66px; line-height: 12px; outline: none; text-decoration: none; display: inline; width: 300px;"></a></div></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="350" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px;"></div></td><td valign="top" width="190" id="monkeyRewards" style="border-collapse: collapse;"><br></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" valign="middle" id="utility" style="border-collapse: collapse; border: 0px;"><div style="color: rgb(112, 112, 112); font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px; text-align: center;"><p><span lang="en-US">"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -&nbsp;</span><span lang="en-US" style="text-decoration: underline;">Matthew 28:19–20</span></p><hr><br></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53986-solar-power-equipment-has-arrived- https://internationalministries.org/read/53986-solar-power-equipment-has-arrived- Dreaming for the Congo In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King's inspiring speech " I Have a Dream ", I was asked to share what I would dream of for the Congo if funds were not limited. The following are some of my dreams for our ministry with the church in Congo.&nbsp;<div>&nbsp; <div>I have a dream: For $500 per year a church or individual could adopt one of our Pastor's Institute families. They would be paying all their school fees, all their medical needs and their transportation from their village. – For $1500 a church or individual could support a family for the entire three years of Pastoral training. What a great way to invest in the Kingdom of God and the church in Congo!&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>I have a dream: With $3600 I could pay for the Internet Satellite yearly subscription and not have to burden the missionaries to meet this cost.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>I have a dream: With $5000 I could purchase reference books for the library at the Pastor's Institute in Kikongo. I could purchase a Bible dictionary and a concordance for each student to use when they are placed in their future churches. I could provide daily devotionals for the pastors to read and to share with their congregations.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>I have a dream: With $5000 I could expand the Internet Satellite system at Kikongo to become a full-time Cyber Cafe that would serve the community day and night. Doctors could do research. Pastors could find helps for their sermons. Teachers could find materials for their classes. Everyone would be able to email and to stay in touch with their family members in all the world.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>I have a dream: With $10,000 I could install a solar panel and battery lights in every pastoral students home so that they could read at night. They would not need to light their homes by candles and they would have a lighted space for their families at night. The pastors family would be able to see to do their home work and to do other family activities at night.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>I have a dream: With $20,000 I could pay the salaries for the Pastor's Institute professors for one year. It's the single largest expense that the Institute faces each year and we don't see the resources for next year.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>Thanks to your generous support, we've been able to serve here in Congo for 19 years. But we're not done yet! There's still much that can be done, lots and lots of dream that need your help. We need your prayer support - that's absolutely vital! We need mission volunteers who can come to Congo and work alongside us and our ministry partners. We need your financial support. The only reason we can remain here is because of faithful supporters.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>Give to the 2013 World Mission Offering, direct your support to our ministry, and join us in making these dreams come true! Click <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/12">here</a> to donate.</div></div><div><br></div><div>God's blessings on you and yours,</div><div><br></div><div>Mike Lowery</div><div>Democratic Republic of Congo</div> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 02:28:19 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50336-dreaming-for-the-congo https://internationalministries.org/read/50336-dreaming-for-the-congo New Bandal Project <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">I've been having so much fun over the last couple of months working with Mama Jackie and the girls at our new Bandal Center, officially called “Marie Matty Maison de Couture.” The Bandal center is a continuation of our program at the Mitendi center. It's an internship program to help our Mitendi graduates perfect their sewing skills and get used to working in a professional environment. It also helps them earn an income, as they get paid for each sell-able item they produce.</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">The theme verse for our program comes from Colossians 3:23-24, which says “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Our core values are: Faithfulness, Determination, Transparency, and Quality of Workmanship. My favorite part of each week has been during our devotion times, when we've discussed the meaning of these verses and guiding principles, and how they impact our lives in concrete ways.</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">We're starting out slowly with just a handful of interns. Our first couple of weeks were spent hammering away at the basics: measuring, cutting, ironing, sewing techniques, etc.</font>&nbsp; With the more experienced girls, we jumped right in making items to sell: layettes (fancy baby sheets) and school uniforms, both of which are items that are easily sold here.</p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">This week we will begin producing our main income generating item, surgical drapes. We already have a standing order with our medical supply coordinator, Katherine Niles, for all our Baptist hospitals. If our quality is good, they will buy as many as we can produce! Katherine will be using White Cross funds to purchase the surgical drapes (and soon other medical supplies) from the Bandal Center. For those of you involved in White Cross, you are making a double impact here – you're helping provide medical supplies for local hospitals and helping support Mitendi girls at the same time!</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">During the summer months, we are also working with a handful of current Mitendi students getting them used to sewing on electric machines. With them, we are also working on producing simple items for sale that will help them earn income. This week we started making some very colorful cotton hankies, using donated and leftover material. Next week, we plan to start making dinner napkins and table runners for Christmas.</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">These last few weeks, I've thought especially about all of you American Baptist Women and many other dear friends who love missions, love to sew, and love serving others. I know you'd be here, too, sewing and teaching alongside Mama Jackie and me, if you could be. I count it a huge privilege to represent you as I work with these precious young women. Thank you for always standing with us in prayer!</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">Much Love,</font></p><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">Jill Lowery</font></p><p> </p><ul> <li><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">Please keep the Bandal Center in your prayers as the Lord guides us in further developing this program.</font></p> </li><li><p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" align="LEFT"><font size="3">Please pray for our young women as they become, not only women of God, but also Christian business women and entrepreneurs.</font></p> </li></ul> Sun, 25 Aug 2013 22:24:40 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50049-new-bandal-project https://internationalministries.org/read/50049-new-bandal-project Historic Event in Kikongo! <p></p><p>Their questions were very tentative in the beginning. The students were a little timid before the computer. But, before too long, they were taking part as if they had grown up their entire lives with this new technology. It really was a historic occasion for the Pastor's Institute of Kikongo.</p><p>It started this way ... For the first time since I've been making monthly trips to Kikongo, I was unable to make the flight due to illness. It came at a difficult time because the students are preparing for their final exams. My absence during this time was especially hard for the students and they let their worries be known to missionary Glen Chapman. Glen, who has been enjoying the Internet in Kikongo since we installed the Satellite dish, immediately came up the idea of using Skype to connect me and the students for a class session. It was a novel idea that has never been done in Kikongo. We were even able to get photos of the event on both ends as the class was being taught.</p><p>It's hard for most of us to imagine how "outside the box" this idea is in Kikongo. We have become accustomed to cell phones and computers and SMS and Skype. But, most of the students have never even touched a computer before. They don't own phones. In fact, they live in such remote areas that there aren't any cell phone towers. There isn't even any electricity! So, for them to speak to someone in Kinshasa through the computer was a life changing event.&nbsp;</p><p>For me this was especially rewarding because our hope in the future is to make computers and the Internet more available to our students. Missionaries have always brought with them new technology to Africa. Whether it is vaccinations or books, hospitals or schools, Bibles or new varieties of crops, missionaries have helped Africa to develop by establishing new technologies that provide services that the country isn't able to provide. Our hope is that this addition of Internet connectivity will help our Congolese brothers and sisters to move forward in every way.</p><p>We appreciate your prayers and support.</p><p>Please pray for this project that it will be successful and help the church to move forward in its mission in Congo.</p><p><br></p><p>God's Blessings,</p><p><br></p><p>Mike Lowery</p><p></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 00:27:18 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/48423-historic-event-in-kikongo- https://internationalministries.org/read/48423-historic-event-in-kikongo- Finally! Email and Internet Access in Kikongo! <h2>Finally! Email and Internet Access in Kikongo!&nbsp;</h2><div>What started out as a crazy idea in 2007 became a real necessity in 2012. In those days we only dreamed of having access to the Internet in Kikongo in order to communicate with the rest of the world. By 2012 all other means of communication from Kikongo had evaporated. Our missionaries there had no way of sending messages or communicating with folks back home. Now the need was serious.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>In such a remote area there were no local Internet providers. The only way would be by satellite connection. But, I could see no way for us to ever raise the funds for such a large project. After much prayer, research, and conversations with Mission Aviation Fellowship, I presented the project to Charles Jones at International Ministries. He in turn presented it to those in charge of our One Great Hour of Sharing offering. By God's grace we were awarded the funds for the project and we were on our way.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>After a few setbacks getting started, we finally were able to begin installation of the satellite dish in March of 2013. In Kikongo there are no cement trucks or cranes for building. Everything is done by hand. However, there are lots of hands and the work goes quickly.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>We were able in just under a week to install the support column and the satellite dish. While the foundation concrete was drying we were able to install solar panels to power the system temporarily until a more robust system can be installed next October.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;We were also able to install a wireless transmission antenna that will enable Glen and Rita Chapman to connect to the Internet from their home. We configured computers that were donated from the States to connect through wifi, as well, for the staff of the Pastor's School.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;Once the concrete had dried we were able to install the dish and the rest of the hardware needed for the connection. Simeon Avuta, the MAF technician, then logged in to the satellite and connected Kikongo for the first time. That very day, after I had to leave on the MAF flight, the Chapmans were sending emails and uploading photos to Facebook. It was a historic day in Kikongo.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>Our hope is that once we get a better power system installed, we will be able to open a small “cyber-cafe” in Kikongo that will allow others in the community to take advantage of this installation and access the Internet for their needs as well. It will be a new era for the community of Kikongo.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;Prayer requests:&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>First of all, praise God from whom all blessings flow. He made this project possible.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Secondly, please pray that the local government officials will view this as a community development project and not a private enterprise.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Finally, pray that God's will use this new tool to advance His kingdom.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;In His service,&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;Mike Lowery</div> Sat, 16 Mar 2013 02:54:14 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47321-finally-email-and-internet-access-in-kikongo- https://internationalministries.org/read/47321-finally-email-and-internet-access-in-kikongo- Missionaries Comment on International Women's Day <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">March 8<sup>th</sup> is International Women’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We invited your women missionaries to answer this question: <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>How have women leaders impacted you?</u><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></b>Their answers are printed below and they will also appear on International Ministries Facebook wall throughout the day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Some of the missionaries have taken this question to their own Facebook wall.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Jill Lowery is living in the United States right now, and wrote that she is missing the observance of International Women's Day back in Congo.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Kihomi Nzunga reported last year about parades in the streets in Haiti.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Mayra Giovanetti in Nicaragua has written a journal in tribute to International Women’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(<a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47187-women-gaining-momentum-mujeres-ganando-impulso-">Click here</a> to read it.)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And Mylinda Baits shared <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnq2QeCvwpw&amp;feature=shar">this link to a song called "One Woman"</a> from the United Nations that is a shining example of the global community working together.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Originally called International <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Working </b>Women’s Day, this annual event has a different focus depending on the country and culture.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In some places it is a general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women, while elsewhere it lifts up women’s economic, political and social achievements, and examines the struggles of women worldwide.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The day has lost its political flavor in some regions and has become an occasion for expressing love, similar to Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>How have women leaders impacted you?</u></b></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><br><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">I'm so thankful for the many women leaders that God put in my life, starting with my own mother.&nbsp; I could name several more of them, but wouldn't want to forget anyone.&nbsp; What they all have in common is their passion for the Lord and faithfulness to serve Him, even in the most difficult circumstances.&nbsp; Their example encourages me to try to do the same.&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin"> <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Jill Lowery, missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo</i></b></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Women leaders have impacted my life by showing me that I am not limited by my gender but rather I have been gifted with unique abilities to show God's grace and love. &nbsp;Others have also shown me that I can do anything I set my mind to!</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Kristy Engel, missionary in the Caribbean and Iberoamerica</span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">My seminary professor Carol Schreck invited me to do a first person narrative of the bent-over woman in Luke 13 as part of a worship service celebrating women in ministry.&nbsp; The physical act of portraying a bent-over woman, and then being set free to stand up in Jesus liberated my soul that evening.&nbsp; It marked the beginning of letting go of all the "bent-over" places in my life. It is a story I go back to over and over when I feel overwhelmed by physical &amp; emotional wounds, as well as by legalistic restrictions imposed on me by the Pharisees in my life.&nbsp; Later, I asked Carol why she chose me to enact that woman's story.&nbsp; "Lots of reasons," she responded, "But mostly because you needed to be set free."</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"> </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Joyce Anderson Reed, missionary in Mexico</span></i></b></i></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Dot Yoder was my favorite teacher. &nbsp;I took elementary school art classes from her at the Agnes Irwin School. &nbsp;She instilled in me a love for creating art that continues to this day.&nbsp;One day in early elementary school, I painted "The Parting of the Red Sea". &nbsp;It consisted of a field of red paint on the left third of the page, another field of red paint on the right third of the page and the blank, white paper in the middle. &nbsp;Mrs. Yoder laughed and laughed and said it was, "just perfect!".&nbsp;&nbsp;Come to find out later that Mrs. Yoder was a committed Christian believer and sang in the church choir. &nbsp;Memories of her warm, tender smile and encouraging spirit hover over my shoulder even now when I paint and when I teach art classes for our girls at the New Life Center. &nbsp; Mrs. Yoder passed away in 2005, and I never told her how much I loved and appreciated her. &nbsp;So here's to Mrs. Yoder. &nbsp;You made a difference in my life!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Kit Ripley, missionary in Thailand</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Manay Ruth Corvera once told me “everything you put on the table should have beauty - this is a good life rule as well!” &nbsp;Manay Ruth dedicated her life to releasing the hidden potential in others, to helping people help themselves. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;She adopted our young family in the Philippines and cared for us as friends and colleagues, even becoming an honorary grandmother to Elena and Asa, our children. &nbsp;She is a strong, fierce, loving, woman of God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Today Manay Ruth is now retired.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She was the Founder and Director of the Katin-aran Center, the Christian community outreach program of Central Philippine University. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Manay = honorific meaning respected, beloved, admired.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mercy Bedona was my dear sister and colleague in the Philippines. &nbsp;She was a female Barnabas who encouraged, guided, and mentored others in their personal and professional growth. &nbsp;She was a committed, visionary leader in both the local church and the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, urging us all to live out kingdom values. &nbsp;As my dear friend, she walked with me through some dark valleys.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Mercy and I served together at Central Philippine University, the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, and Community Christian Church in the Philippines. &nbsp;She went to be with the Lord in January 2012. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Ann Borquist, missionary in Brazil</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">My mom was a single parent for most of my early years so she taught me never to give up, the importance of education and the strength received through my relationship with God and the faith community. &nbsp; Later as a young woman growing up in the church in Puerto Rico, I was surrounded by many female role models. They taught me to acknowledge and respond to my call. God gives us what we need at the right time. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Around that same time I heard a woman preach at our church and what stands out with her was her appearance. You could hear the passion for ministry in the sound of her voice; you could see her confidence by how she stood and presented herself. I don’t remember her sermon but do remember that she wore a beautiful scarf. She taught me that public speaking is part of a complete package. The final woman I want to mention is my daughter as she shows me her willingness to meet each challenge head on, sometimes with fear and uncertainty but she continues the journey. She reminds me that the call to serve will continue even after I become a memory.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">I have met many women in ministry who have influenced me in so many ways; yet the main lesson that is repeated is the dedication, compassion and love they demonstrate to the people they serve and with whom they serve. Some are young while others wear gracefully the trophies of age; yet all of them have taught me that the struggles I have encountered are not new and that I am not alone on this journey. They are my teachers, partners and friends and part of the great cloud of witnesses. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes, missionary in Mexico</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span><p></p><p><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Women leaders gave me opportunities to try my hand at leading, encouraging me and giving me constructive criticism as I learned.&nbsp; <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Women leaders working out of feminine strength taught me that I have unique contributions to make just because I'm female.&nbsp;</span> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Debbie Kelsey, missionary in Italy</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">As a young seminary student, I had little, to no previous exposure to women in leadership, let alone those pursuing pastoral ministry. My first roommate was a graduating senior, Joan Friesen, who now serves the churches of the Indianapolis region as their executive minister. As I observed her in her studies and interactions with people, I got a glimpse of a life called out to serve within and outside of the church. Joan continues to this day to be a person who calls out the best in me, stays connected in tangible ways, and lives a life worthy of the Gospel to which she was called.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mylinda Baits, missionary in Costa Rica</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black">On this International Day of the woman, I think of so many women who have changed their world. But they all stand in the background, almost as a backdrop to one woman who changed my life. Her name was Carol Kimbriel. She was not a simple woman. She was a mother and a housewife, a leader in her church, and the financial manager of her husband´s business. But most importantly for me, she was my mentor. She was my best friend´s mother, who somehow in her busy life, found space for me. She encouraged, me believed in me, and “straightened me out” when I needed it. She changed my life and she is the inspiration for the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Talita Kumi</i> Girl´s Clubs ministry, matching young girls who need some encouragement, with women who are always willing to make a little extra room for one more.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Barbara Bolick, missionary in Chile</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p> <p></p> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 06:25:18 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47218-missionaries-comment-on-international-women-s-day https://internationalministries.org/read/47218-missionaries-comment-on-international-women-s-day Visiting brings unity ... <h6><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 11px;"><i>Behold how good and pleasant it is for God's people to live together in unity. (Psalm 133:1)</i></span></h6><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was so excited last week to get to travel to the province of Bas-Congo in south western Congo with the staff of our women's office! We went to do leadership training for our women's association in that area. It was a great trip, BUT, I have to say, the first 60 hours of that 5 day trip, were probably the most uncomfortable of my life!</h4><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">...was it worth it? Absolutely!</h4><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Our Baptist community in Bas-Congo had been divided for about 9 years and only 2 years ago did they officially reconcile. This trip was really about bringing the women back together.</h4><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We did seminars and training in 5 different districts. Our official focus was to revive the organizational structure, but we spent much more time working on the heart of the matter: forgiveness and reconciliation. Our prayer is that our time together gave them a chance to begin do that – to reorganize and work together again for His glory.</h4><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We, as a staff, experienced our own team-building on this trip. We lived through some pretty rough accommodations together – don't even talk to me about the bizarre restroom 'facilities' – or lack there of... but each morning, the six of us got up early to have devotions together and pray for one another. Despite several days of extreme discomfort and lack of sleep, we were able to support one another and function as a united team. That, my friends, is a miracle!<br></h4><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11px;"><span style="font-size: 14px;">Prayer Requests:</span></span></h4><ul><li><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Please pray for the strengthening of unity within the CBCO community, particularly in Bas-Congo.</h4></li><li><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Please continue to pray for Mitendi Women's Center and the security wall project.</h4></li></ul><h4 style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br>Thank you for all your support<br><br>God's Blessings,<br><br>Jill Lowery</h4><p></p><p></p></div><p></p> Sun, 03 Mar 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47091-visiting-brings-unity- https://internationalministries.org/read/47091-visiting-brings-unity- The "Camp" at the Pastor's Institute of Kikongo <p><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: georgia, serif; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">They call it the "Camp". It's really a humble place by Western standards. The houses are small two-room&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: georgia, serif; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px;">bungalows, o</span><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: georgia, serif; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">ften sleeping 6-8 people depending on how many children in the family. In fact, the family usually grows during the three years that the students are with us. They love to return to their villages with a new baby to remind of their time in Kikongo. The truth is that they return to their villages with many great memories, many new life changing experiences, new friends and a whole new set of skills to help them to lead the church wherever God sends them. As professors we help a bit. We teach them the theology and the truths of the Bible. But, it's in the "Camp" where the students and their families learn to live out what they believe.</span><br></p><p><font style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" face="georgia, serif"><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">The families arrive knowing no one. They are assigned a home and may not even speak the same languages or eat the same food as their neighbor in the next bungalow. This is because Congo has so many people groups and so many languages and cultures. It's the first time ever for many of them to live in anything other than a mud hut near their family. It's the first time for most of them to live in a tight knit community of Christians and to study and pray together on a daily basis. It's the first time for all of them to find a staff of leaders who want to invest in them and to help them to gain ministry and other skills.<br><br>In a lot of ways, the "Camp" is a spiritual safe-haven for these pastoral students and their families as they learn and grow stronger in their faith. As humble as it is, it is a time that the students remember fondly as the the place where their roots went deep and their faith grew.&nbsp;</span></font><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">It's in the "Camp" where the love of Christ brings healing and hope to these future pastors.&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px; font-family: georgia, serif;">&nbsp;It's a real blessing to watch these families that come from many different origins learn to love each another and to live as Christians should in community.&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: georgia, serif; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;"><br></span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;">Please pray for our students and their families.<br><br>Pray that their time in the "Camp" will be fruitful.<br>Pray that they will return to their villages with a new vision for living out the Christian life.<br>Pray that they will be trained and equipped for the ministry that God has chosen for them in the rural villages of Congo.<br><br><br>God's blessings to you and yours,<br><br>Mike and Jill Lowery</span><br style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"></p><div><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;"><br></span></div> Sat, 09 Feb 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47087-the-camp-at-the-pastor-s-institute-of-kikongo https://internationalministries.org/read/47087-the-camp-at-the-pastor-s-institute-of-kikongo We've had a very special Christmas this year! <p><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;">Thanks to International Ministries and some frequent flyer miles from a whole lot of traveling while we were home last year, all three of our children were able to be with us in Congo for Christmas. It has been a wonderful time. We've had dinners and reunions with friends. We've been able to hang out and catch up with all the new happenings in our lives. Jill has been especially happy to be able to talk and plan with Hannah for her upcoming wedding. We went camping in a old and familiar place with some close friends, and we were able to attend and serve together at our church's Christmas Eve Service. We are very thankful to God for making this time possible. It's meant a lot to us all.<br><br>Taylor and Hannah are leaving tomorrow to return to the States. We ask that you would pray for traveling mercies for them. They have several connections and long lay overs in Ethiopia, Europe and Washington, D.C. Please pray that they will make it home safely and adjust quickly to the change in time. We get to keep Matthew here for another two weeks.<br><br>We pray that your Christmas season has been as blessed as ours with grace upon grace.&nbsp;<br><br>Best wishes for a Happy New Year in 2013.<br><br>Thank you for all your support.<br><br><br>God's blessings,<br><br>Mike and Jill Lowery</span></span><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"></span><br></p> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47095-we-ve-had-a-very-special-christmas-this-year- https://internationalministries.org/read/47095-we-ve-had-a-very-special-christmas-this-year- So Much to Accomplish in So Little Time! <p></p><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);"><h4 class="null" style="font-style: italic; font-weight: normal; line-height: 14px; margin: 0px; color: rgb(128, 128, 128) !important;">This is very much the mindset of the Mitendi Leadership team.&nbsp;</h4></div><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);">&nbsp;</div><div style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);">A few weeks ago, when I first visited Mitendi Women's Center, I found&nbsp;out just how serious they are about getting things done. The staff&nbsp;mentioned that they had worked on the wall a bit last year while I was&nbsp;in the U.S. on home assignment. I asked how much, and they said, “Oh,&nbsp;you'll see when we get there.” I assumed they completed a few yards of&nbsp;the wall.<br><br>You can imagine my surprise when I found they have completed&nbsp;nearly the entire stretch that runs parallel to the road. That is&nbsp;almost ¼ of the wall project! I asked how in the world they&nbsp;accomplished this!!<br><br>They said, “We&nbsp;couldn't just sit back and wait for you to get here (and lose the&nbsp;property in the meantime). We had to do something.” So they sent out&nbsp;requests to several Baptist churches in Kinshasa and asked each one to&nbsp;sponsor one or two panels of the wall.&nbsp;Some donated money, some sent bricks and cement, others sent people to&nbsp;help.&nbsp;<br><br>I&nbsp;still don't understand how they did it, but I pray&nbsp;the rest of the wall project has equally miraculous results!<br><br>Please&nbsp;keep praying for this project. We're still raising funds and are a&nbsp;little more than half way in reaching our financial goal.<br><br><div>Please keep Congo in your prayers, especially this week. Kinshasa,&nbsp;where we are, is calm, but the war in the eastern side of Congo has&nbsp;reignited with a vengeance. We need God to intervene for peace in Congo.<br><br>Thank you for all your support.</div></div><br style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);"><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);">God's blessings,</span><br style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);"><br style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);"><span style="color: rgb(80, 80, 80); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; background-color: rgb(244, 244, 244);">Jill Lowery</span><br><p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 10:08:33 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/45663-so-much-to-accomplish-in-so-little-time- https://internationalministries.org/read/45663-so-much-to-accomplish-in-so-little-time- Welcome Reunions <p></p><p>Our recent ministry trip to Kikongo reminds us how incredibly blessed we are to be able to serve God here in Congo. Jill and I were able to travel up country together this time and we both were able to help out at the Pastor's Institute and to teach classes. That in itself was a blessing. This group of students may be the most eager to learn that we've seen in a long time at the Pastor's school. I was impressed in each class at the quality of students and the potential that each of them have for future ministry in village churches. It's an honor to be able to invest into the lives of each one of them.</p><p>Another thing that made this trip so wonderful was the welcome that we received from the Kikongo community. Pastor's and village leaders came by to welcome us back from our long stay in the U.S. The new doctors found us and introduced themselves. People yelled welcomes from across the mission. Even the kids came by after school to welcome back Pa Mike and Mama Jill. It was a very happy reunion.&nbsp;<br></p><p>Jill was very happy to get to help out at the &nbsp;Pastor's Wives school teaching reading to beginning readers. These ladies have never had the opportunity to study – until now. Being only in their 3rd week of classes, they were pretty shy when the lesson began. They quickly overcame their embarrassment, however, and threw themselves into the lesson. Jill could hardly keep up with their enthusiastic pace! It is so exciting to play even the smallest part in this life-changing phase of the lives of these future community and ministry leaders! When they return to their villages, they will be among the most educated of the women and will become community and church leaders.<br></p><p>Please keep the student pastors and their wives and the Kikongo community in your prayers. Pray that future leaders will continue to be equipped for ministry in villages.&nbsp;</p><p>Thank you, as always for your prayers and financial support. Your faith and your faithfulness make it possible for us to continue our ministries here. Thank you for your partnership.</p><p><br></p><p>Sincerely,</p><p><br></p><p>Jill and Mike</p><p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/45263-welcome-reunions https://internationalministries.org/read/45263-welcome-reunions A Great Opportunity to Support Your Missionaries Hello Friends,<br><span style="font-weight: bold;"><br></span>As many of you know, Jill and I are on Home Assignment and traveling and speaking to raise support for our ministries in Congo. We have met many great folks and have found some new partners for our missions work. We have not yet reached our support goals, but hope to do so before we return to Congo in August of this year.<br><br>The good news is that there is a new Mission Matching Gift Opportunity coming up this month. The Luther Rice Society will match gifts from individual donors who give between May 18th and July 31st. It's a great opportunity to partner with us and to help us to reach our support goals.<br><br>If you have supported us in the past, this is an excellent opportunity to partner with us again. Your gift will be matched! What a deal.<br><br>If you currently support us, then the Luther Rice Society will match your over and above gifts. Your extra support will go a long way in helping us to fund our work in Congo.<br><br>Please consider sending in a gift between May 18th and July 31st for our support. You can give online at <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6%20">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6 </a>or by sending in a check to International Ministries/Lowery Support, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Or you can call 1-800-222-3872, ext 2323 for more information.<br><br>We appreciate your prayers and financial partnership. Without you we could not continue our ministries in Congo.<br><br>God bless you,<br><br>Mike and Jill<br> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:16:54 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/42760-a-great-opportunity-to-support-your-missionaries https://internationalministries.org/read/42760-a-great-opportunity-to-support-your-missionaries Give Yourself Away <p> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Being on home assignment is a mixed blessing. It means the joy of getting to spend time with our family and people we love, but it also means spending an exhausting amount of hours on the road traveling to speaking engagements. There are good things about all this travel, though, my favorite being that we meet so many amazing people. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Yesterday we were sitting with a pastor who was telling about their church's focus, which is “give yourself away.” He talked about ways that his folks are learning to really love others and give themselves away to them, and how it's changing their lives. He was excitedly sharing about what is going on with the people in his church. He probably didn't know he was feeding my soul and inspiring my mind.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">This morning, my bible reading was from Matthew 22:37-39 where Jesus talks about God's greatest commandments: “... love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, AND love your neighbor as yourself.” I was thinking how Jesus linked these two commandments by saying that the second one is “like” the first one. My first thought was, “Jesus didn't say it that way by accident, so could it be that each of these commandments contingent on the other?” In other words, is my ability to love God and connect with him directly related to the degree to which I give myself away to others and love them? </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">In our conversation with the pastor, Michael shared about his work in Congo at the Pastors' Institute. He talked about how awesome it is to get to work with Congolese pastors like Pastor Mbu, who is the director of the Institute – a man who loves God with all of his heart. He talked about how Pastor Mbu and his wife spend their lives loving and mentoring the pastoral students and their wives, as well as the rest of the people of Kikongo. I was reminded of the many times he came to our house after hearing that one of us was sick, how he would take the time to pray with us, and would often bring a precious gift of food sent by Mama Mbu. That gift meant that someone in their family would sacrifice a meal for us that day. These are people who truly love God AND love their neighbors as themselves. They are a great example of what it means to give yourself away.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Jesus, of course, is our perfect example. As we celebrate Easter, let us remember all that he gave away for us, and be inspired to do the same for others. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Much Love,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Jill &amp; Mike Lowery</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends... John 15:13</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:12:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/42265-give-yourself-away https://internationalministries.org/read/42265-give-yourself-away Merry Christmas ! Dear Friends and Family, <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">We'd like to send you our warmest Christmas greetings! </p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">For the Lowery family, this is a very special Christmas as we are looking forward to being together for the first time in several years. In Congo, Christmas is a joyful Christ-centered celebration. We hope to continue that tradition as we celebrate with our family in the States this year . This is our hope for you, as well.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">A quick family update: Taylor, our oldest son, is attending Fuller Theological Seminary and is excited to be interning at Evergreen Baptist Church in LA. Hannah is in her last year of University and hopes to go into counseling. She is also very involved with the Children's ministries at her church. Matthew, who finished high school in Congo last June, is in his first year at California State University in Bakersfield. He's very active in the Church worship team. We're thankful that he has found a job and is settling into life in the US. We're grateful for your continued prayers for our children.<br></p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">Mike and I are home this year speaking in churches and raising support for our ministries in Congo. Our fund raising efforts are on track. We have spoken in churches and conferences in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Kansas. We still have about $2000 per month to raise before we are fully funded. We are thankful for God's faithfulness. We believe that He will touch people's hearts so that we can return to Congo with enough support to continue our ministries.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">We are especially thankful for you, our partners, who have faithfully supported us over the years. Without your prayers and financial support we could not serve God at the Mitendi Women's Center or at the Pastor's Institute of Kikongo. You are making a difference in the Congo!</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! </p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">May your Christmas days be filled with Jesus,</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US"><br> </p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0in" lang="en-US">Jill and Mike Lowery</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US">“<span lang="en-US"><i>And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.</i></span>” (<span lang="en-US">Luke 2:10–11</span>) </p> <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in"></p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/38238-merry-christmas- https://internationalministries.org/read/38238-merry-christmas- We Need You <div>This June our last Missionary Kids in Congo graduated from High School. Throughout the years we have had many missionary families with many kids who have spent most of their lives in Africa and who now must move on to study in the States. This year is significant because the last two of these MKs from American Baptist missionaries, Cassie Clemmer and Matthew Lowery, are moving on.</div><div><br></div><div>This is significant for many reasons. Cassie and Matt have know each other since they were in first grade, and maybe before. They've been through wars and evacuations and a lot of other adventures together. They've forged a life long friendship with some pretty important and significant memories. They are the end of a long line of MKs who have grown up in and love the Congo.</div><div><br></div><div>As I reflected on their lives in Congo and their new lives to come, I couldn't help but wonder if there will be new MKs to replace them. We still need missionaries in Congo and we need young missionaries who are willing to come and stay awhile. We need families that will build memories in Africa with Congolese men and women. We need folks who are willing to pray and ask God for the strength and the patience to lay down long-term roots in the Congo.</div><div><br></div><div>Jill and I are in the States for the next year. We will be reconnecting with friends and family, churches and supporters. We hope to help Matthew to get established here as he begins his studies. But, we are also on the lookout for the future missionaries for Congo. Could that be you? Would you be willing to pray about it?</div><div><br></div><div>Jill and I will be in the States until June of 2012. We'd love to see you and visit your church to tell about what we see God doing in Congo. Please ask your pastor or regional missions representative to get in touch with us through International Ministries.</div><div><br></div><div>We ask your prayers for a fruitful year on Home Assignment and for the future missionaries who will serve in the Congo.</div><div><br></div><div>God's Blessings,</div><div><br></div><div>Mike and Jill Lowery</div> Sun, 24 Jul 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/37676-we-need-you https://internationalministries.org/read/37676-we-need-you Little By Little in Congo <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Last week was an exciting week for our youth group at the International Protestant Church. It was time again for our annual retreat, and I have to say, it was our best one yet! We took 35 high-schoolers and 10 adult chaperones camping at Bombo Lumene Animal Reserve. It's always a huge task in terms of logisitcs, but it's all worth it. One major difference from last year – the road is fixed!!! Halellujah! It used to take us 4 to 6 hours of very hard driving to get there. This year, with the new road, it was a quick 2 hour scenic drive. We praise God for getting us there and back safely, as well as for the development that's happening in Congo. <br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">For the retreat this year we had a fantastic young guest speaker, Matt Elmore. His theme focused on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Our kids connected instantly with him and really responded to his messages. I know the kids had a lot of fun in activities like hiking, swimming in the river, and nightly campfires, and I'm happy for that, but I was so excited to see them intently focused on every one of Matt's messages and fully participating in discussions and prayer times. To me, there are few things more inspiring than being with a group of young people who want to grow in their faith. Please keep them in your prayers, especially our graduating seniors who will be leaving us this year, our son Matthew included. I pray everyday for them that they will have the kind of faith that can withstand the trials of college life and beyond. <br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;"><i>...What's happening with the CBCO women's work:</i></p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;">The CBCO ladies that I work with had a little surprise waiting for me when I got back. We hadn't seen each other in almost 2 weeks because I was busy with preparations for the retreat. Most of you know we've been working on our Women's Restaurant project. We're not only improving the building and landscaping, but we're also working on improving our menu and service. Just a few weeks ago the staff and I talked about starting a simple breakfast service offering tea, coffee, omelettes, and muffins. We never talked about it again, so I thought it was put on hold. I was pretty shocked when I showed up for our meeting and saw a couple of young women I'd never met before serving breakfast in our new gazebo (paillotte). It looked so nice with bright table cloths and new tea cups. <br></p><p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;"><br></p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;">One of the reasons I thought the breakfast service project was on hold was because we couldn't find a trained young woman who could get it started and manage it. But Mama Koba, our women's president, found a lady in her church who runs a little restaurant from her house in the evenings. This lady already knew a young woman, Tina, who desparately needed a job. Mama Koba's friend agreed to oversee our restaurant in the mornings, just for a few weeks, while she trains Tina for the job. It's exciting to see real improvement in the restaurant project, but I'm even more excited about the fact that, thanks to this small project, there is now one less unemployed person in Kinshasa (one less young woman to fall prey to desperation and prostitution). As Mama Koba has said to me, “Little by little we move ahead.” <br></p><p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;"><br></p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;">We thank God for His never-ending mercy. Please pray for Tina in her new job, and pray for Mama Koba and her staff that they have the strength to continue to push ahead little by little, despite the obstacles in their path. </p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;"><br></p> <p style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none;">Much Love,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"></span></span></span><i><span style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Jill Lowery</span></span></i></p> Fri, 01 Apr 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/34654-little-by-little-in-congo https://internationalministries.org/read/34654-little-by-little-in-congo Back from Kikongo <p>Hi friends,</p> <p>I'm just back from another teaching trip to Kikongo. It was a great<br>trip where I found myself teaching future pastors how to share their<br>faith and how to teach others to do the same. For me it was a dream<br>come true. That seems to happen to us a lot here.</p> <p>I'm really writing to ask you to pray with us. For about three years<br>now I've been working on a project to get a satellite internet<br>connection in Kikongo. This connection would make it possible for our<br>missionaries to communicate with their families and friends. It would<br>make it possible for our students to do online research and it would<br>be a great help to the hospital and schools that are in Kikongo. You<br>can imagine what a great communication boost this will be in a place<br>where there aren't even any telephones.</p> <p>Well, after all this time we were finally able to order the equipment<br>last week so that we can begin the installation here. We'd ask that<br>you pray with us that the equipment arrives soon and gets through<br>customs easily. Pray that we can do the installation quickly and get<br>all the proper permits and permissions from the government. Pray that<br>this project will glorify God and advance His kingdom.</p> <p>In Him,</p> <p>Mike Lowery</p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/33176-back-from-kikongo https://internationalministries.org/read/33176-back-from-kikongo Youth Sunday 2011 <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Elements of Thankfulness</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">That was the title of Nadia's beautiful message that she shared last week at the International Protestant Church of Kinshasa. Nadia is a high school senior and a member of our youth group. She has a real heart for the Lord.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">One of my great joys over the past several years has been working with the youth group of the IPCK. It's an awesome thing to participate in a student's spiritual life and watch them grow in their faith in Christ. The group of young people we're working with not only loves the Lord, but also have a passion for serving Him and others. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">One of our main objectives for the youth group is leadership development. We meet for Sunday School every week and focus on a different aspect of Christian Leadership, with Jesus, the Servant Leader, as our model. Our kids play a huge role in leading their own youth meetings, as well as participating in the church services. They're very excited about being part of what God is doing.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Last Sunday was Youth Sunday at IPCK, meaning that the members of the youth group were responsible for running the entire service, from the greeters at the door to the prayer of benediction. Personally, it's one of my favorite Sundays during the year. I love to see the students getting to use their talents in ministry to the church. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The theme they chose for the service this year was “Thankfulness”. We have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year. For a long time the youth group didn't have a place of their own to use for their meetings and worship, but at the beginning of this year, the church refurbished a large room in the Sunday School building solely for the purpose of youth ministry. The students were excited for a chance to show their gratitude and to share in a time of celebration with the rest of the church body. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The service went well. There's always so much energy when teenagers are involved. Each of the students did a great job. For Michael and me, it was especially sweet getting to see our son, Matt, help lead worship and also serve communion with his dad – the pastor. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><a name="en-ESV-29622"></a><a name="en-ESV-29623"></a>Nadia's message really touched all of our hearts. She spoke from 1 Thessalonian 5:16-18 which says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Her point was that it's easy to be thankful in the good times, but it's when we learn to trust God enough to be thankful, even in the hardest times when we can't see or understand what's going on, that's when we have the greatest opportunity to grow in our faith and know true joy. She reminded us that our God keeps his promises and that he has the 'Big Picture' under control. That is why we can be thankful in all circumstances. I hope her message is as encouraging to you as it was for me. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Please keep the IPCK Youth Group in your prayers. We're getting ready for our annual retreat. We will be taking 40 kids and 10 adults to camp at Bombolomene Animal Reserve. It's a beautiful place, but you can imagine that logistically, it's a difficult task. Our facilities are very meager: no power or water, outhouses for bathrooms, etc. What we do have is lot's of hiking, swimming in the river, and campfires at night. We also have a great student worship band to lead worship, plenty of Bible Study, and a guest speaker who specializes in youth ministry to 3rd culture kids. We're so excited. Please pray that God would grant safety and protection to everyone, and even more importantly that He would impact the lives of these students in a huge way. Thanks.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Yours in Christ,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Jill Lowery</p> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/32831-youth-sunday-2011 https://internationalministries.org/read/32831-youth-sunday-2011 A Day of Victory For the Women of Congo! <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Something great happened today!!! <br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I just got home and I'm exhausted, but I don't care.&nbsp; I can't wait to tell you all the good news!&nbsp; Today, was a day of victory for the women of CBCO, especially for Mitendi Women's Center!!!&nbsp; After almost 2 years of fighting our latest legal battle over the property of Mitendi, we finally have in our hands multiple copies of all the official documents that prove that the land and all the buildings within the property boundaries do in fact belong to the women of CBCO!</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I say “we” because I'm part of the staff, but I can claim no credit for this victory.&nbsp; All honor goes first to the Lord, and secondly to the 4 women, who tirelessly, and at great personal sacrifice, went from government office to government office badgering the officials who finally did their jobs and enforced the law. <br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I had my doubts that it would ever happen.&nbsp; Even after the court case ended positively in our favor back in October, I knew that without the official paperwork it all meant nothing.&nbsp; In order to get those documents released, the women were being asked a huge sum of money.&nbsp; It was like the papers were being held hostage and we couldn't do anything about it.&nbsp; We just didn't have the money.&nbsp; A few weeks ago, I asked Mama Koba, our women's president, if it would ever end. Her calm response was, “You'll see, we're stubborn women, and God is on our side. We are going to win.”&nbsp; We laughed together about it, but she wasn't kidding.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Out of the blue this morning Mama Koba received a phone call from the office of land management telling her, if she brought the proper amount of money, the documents would be ready.&nbsp; We had other plans for the day, but dropped everything.&nbsp; The women scraped together what money we could, knowing it wouldn't be enough.&nbsp; We jumped in the car and drove in the blistering heat through some of the worst traffic I've ever seen to their office on the other side of town.&nbsp; After more than 2 hours of tough negotiations, the women emerged victorious with papers in hand! God is so good! </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I can't tell you how excited we are.&nbsp; It was like being there to witness David beating Goliath.&nbsp; We didn't have the weapons necessary to beat our enemy (in this case money), but God brought about the victory anyway.&nbsp; This also means that the 3 small houses that were built illegally on our property also belong to us!&nbsp; As the document states, we have been threatened and in disputes over the Mitendi property going all the way back to 1999.&nbsp; Having this paperwork means we can finally stop worrying about all of that and really focus our efforts on Mitendi's true purpose: providing training and education to young women at risk to prostitution so they can move on to a new life of hope!!!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Today is a great day, but not only for us.&nbsp; Many of you have stood with us in prayer, literally for years, over this issue.&nbsp; Today we share that victory with you! </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><i><b>I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.</b></i><i> ~Phil1:3-6</i></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal;">With Much Love,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal;">Jill Lowery</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal;"></p> Thu, 10 Feb 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/32800-a-day-of-victory-for-the-women-of-congo- https://internationalministries.org/read/32800-a-day-of-victory-for-the-women-of-congo- Surprised By Fellowship <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">It's been an interesting week. We had a visit from Charles Jones, our area director at International Ministries. He was here to meet with all our missionaries and the leadership of our national partners, the Congolese Baptist Community (CBCO), to talk about the future of our partnership. I must admit that I rarely look forward to these kinds of meetings. They often feel like a disruption in a busy schedule. I was surprised, however, that it turned out to be such a meaningful time of fellowship. Because travel within Congo is so time consuming and expensive, it has been several years since all of the I.M. Missionaries have been able to meet together as a group. Charles' visit gave us the chance to be together, to pray and talk about the future of our ministries here in the Congo. I'm very thankful for that time of fellowship and to be reminded that we are part of a very gifted team of missionaries.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Another major blessing of this week was getting to celebrate the reconciliation within the Congolese Baptist Community (CBCO). For 10 long years the Baptists from the Western region of the Congo have been divided from the rest of the community. It has been a huge drain on the leadership of CBCO, but many pastors and leaders never gave up on their work to reunite the Church. It seemed it would never happen, but in December, CBCO held a special assembly meeting to try again to bring the 'dissident faction' back into the fold. They managed to come to some agreements and papers were even signed. Since that time, we haven't heard much talk about the reconciliation and even doubted its validity. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">This Sunday, however, we missionaries, along with Charles, were blessed to participate in a huge celebration service in honor of the reconciliation. The service took place at the Kintambo Lingalaphone Church. I believe there were about 1,000 people in attendance. There were so many people that tents had to be set up outside for all those who couldn't fit inside the church. Congolese church services are always exciting with all the music and energetic preaching. This service had all of that, but there was also a real sense of fellowship in this celebration that I'm not sure I can explain. You could sense the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. It really struck me to see people who had been such bitter enemies now worshiping in unity side by side. That kind of transformation does not happen without God's help and grace. This reconciliation did not come about easily. It took a lot of people working through a lot of issues and a great willingness to forgive. CBCO's struggle for unity is far from over and they really need our prayers. Pretty much all odds are against them – expect for one thing – God is on their side...</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">These days we hear so much about churches and denominations dividing, but CBCO's experience stands as an example to us that, against all odds, reconciliation can happen. I'm inspired to pray for our churches in the U.S., that we be as tireless in our striving for unity as the people of CBCO. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Please keep the Baptist Community of Congo in your prayers, that they would hold on to this spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness, and that the church may go forward in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p><a name="en-NASB-28896"></a><a name="en-NASB-28897"></a><i><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal;">Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. </span></i></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><i>2 Cor 5:18-19</i></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in; FONT-STYLE: normal;">Blessings,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in; FONT-STYLE: normal;">Jill and Mike Lowery</p> Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/32285-surprised-by-fellowship https://internationalministries.org/read/32285-surprised-by-fellowship The Kamulkenge Ate Our Kittens <p>This morning we woke up to a tragedy. We discovered that our four new<br>kittens were missing. When I say "missing" I'm being nice. We found<br>evidence of foul play and quickly surmised that the kamulkenge from<br>the forest near to us had feasted himself on our precious little pets.<br>Since the mother cat made no sounds and shows no injuries, it looks<br>like the kamulkenge waited for her to wander off and then took<br>advantage of the situation.</p> <p>A kamulkenge, or Genet, is a forest cat. Congolese folks call them<br>"foxes", but they're really more like a small house cat. The attached<br>picture gives you a good look at a kamulkenge. They're fierce<br>predators that eat birds and small rodents and like to get into nests<br>and cause havoc. We've raised a couple of them and they are great pets<br>until their vicious killer instincts kick in. Then they have to be set<br>free in the forest far away from people and their pets.</p> <p>Recently I preached on the temptation of Jesus in the desert. We<br>talked about how the devil does not want us to trust that God cares<br>for us and that we need to go it on our own. We also discussed the<br>verse in I Peter that says that the devil is like a roaring lion<br>searching for people to devour. It's a pretty graphic picture of our<br>adversary's work in the world.There's a spiritual predator out there<br>looking for weak and exposed victims so that he can tempt them and rob<br>them of their faith.</p> <p>This is the reason that I appreciate the work of the Pastor's<br>Institute of Kikongo. At the Pastor's Institute we are discipling and<br>training future leaders of village churches. They will serve in very<br>remote areas where the people are like "sheep without a shepherd".<br>They will teach the Word and help the people to reduce their exposure<br>to the enemy and his temptations. Then they will help these brothers<br>and sisters in Christ to grow towards maturity in their faith. Our<br>goal is to protect these precious believers who are in isolated areas<br>where the devil is prowling about looking for souls to devour.</p> <p>The loss of our kittens reminded me that God loves us beyond measure<br>and doesn't wish that any of His little ones should perish. We need to<br>do all that we can to build up His church and to help it to stand<br>against the schemes of the devil. We need to train pastors that know<br>how to care for God's sheep.</p> <p>Please pray with us for the Pastor's Institute and the future pastors<br>and their wives that we are training. Pray that they will be well<br>equipped to shepherd the flock that God gives them. Pray that the<br>church in Congo will be strong and continue to grow.</p> <p>In Him,</p> <p>Mike and Jill Lowery</p> Tue, 18 Jan 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/31961-the-kamulkenge-ate-our-kittens https://internationalministries.org/read/31961-the-kamulkenge-ate-our-kittens Mahinga and Son <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Courier New';">Greetings friends,<br><br>Jill and I just returned from an extended trip to Kikongo. We went up with a team from Washington State. We had a wonderful trip and Jill will fill you in on that a bit later.<br><br>I just wanted to thank all of you who wrote to say that you were praying for our student pastor who lost his wife last year. Your prayers are really making a difference in his life. He and his son,&nbsp;Benjamin, are doing very well. You can see them in the attached photo.<br><br>Please continue to pray for Mahinga and his son as he will graduate and they will return to their area in June. Pray that God's will will be done in their lives. Pray for their health.<br><br>Thank you.<br><br>In Him,<br><br>Mike and Jill Lowery</span></p> Thu, 16 Dec 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/30272-mahinga-and-son https://internationalministries.org/read/30272-mahinga-and-son Apostle’s Creed Oration <p>My recent trip to Kikongo was filled with many high points. I was able to teach all my classes without interruptions. I was able to help the administrator install a new printer and print out reports for an important meeting. I was able to repair the wiring from his solar panels to his computer, so that his laptop battery would charge. I was able to visit with our other missionaries and to fellowship with Congolese colleagues who teach at the Pastor's Institute. There was lots to be thankful for on this trip. However, for me, the highlight of this trip came through one of the pastoral students that I teach.</p> <p>Even though we Baptists often say that we aren't “creedal”, there's a lot to be learned from the ancient creeds of the Church. In the New Testament Theology class at the Pastor's Institute of Kikongo we start out the year by memorizing the Apostle's Creed. This gives us an idea of the theology of the Early Church and what we will look for in investigating the theology of the New Testament.</p> <p>When it came time to verbalize what we had memorized some of the students did very well. The first couple of volunteers recited verbatim the Apostle's Creed with no errors. It was obvious that they had worked hard to put the Creed to memory. The next few struggled and with a little help were able to make it through to the end. Others were embarrassed to even try. They hadn't put a lot of effort into it.</p> <p>Finally, Mahinga raised his hand and asked to try. I hesitated to call on him because he's had a very difficult time in the last few months. I didn't want to add any insult to his injury; especially if he couldn't recite the Creed. I wanted to give him some space to heal.</p> <p>You see, last year Mahinga's young wife died while delivering their first child. The child survived and was cared for by a fellow student and his family. This worked out well because this student's wife also had just given birth and the two babies could be cared for together.&nbsp; However, when Mahinga went home to his village during the summer break, he was attacked and beaten by his wife's family. They wanted him to pay for the loss of their child. We thought he wouldn't return to study. I thought that anyone who went through what Mahinga did would never come back. But he did. </p> <p>I knew that we were in for more than just rote recitation when Mahinga stood up and began the first line, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;”. His voice was strong and his stance was sure. It was as if he was giving an important oration or a predication. He wasn't just showing us that he had succeeded in memorizing the Creed. He was convincing us that he believed it.</p> <p>He continued, “ I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” With determination Mahinga was testifying to us that He believed. Like the Latin “Credo”, he was saying, “This IS what I believe from my very heart.” </p> <p>When he continued, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried” I couldn't help but to consider the suffering that this young student had gone through in the last year. How had he gotten through it? Why didn't he give up on his studies and return to his village? Could I have handled such pain?</p> <p>By the time we got to “The third day He rose from the dead” all the uncomfortable giggling from the other students had stopped. The uneasiness and social awkwardness was replaced by respectful quiet. We realized that somehow we were experiencing a Holy moment. The Truth was being proclaimed in faith and everyone was hushed. It was awesome.</p> <p>When Mahinga finished the Creed and sat down, I was fighting back tears. Some of the other students gave him knowing smiles or encouraging words. I couldn't help but to be proud of this young man. His faith had been tested to the very depths of his soul. He had come out on the other side saying, “I believe.” </p> <p>Please join with me in praising God that this young man is struggling to trust God through this incredible trial. </p> <p>Please pray for Mahinga and for the family that is temporarily taking care of his new child. </p> <p>Pray that God will send him to just the right church where he can be loved and respected and where he can help others to believe like him.</p> <p><br>In His service,</p> <p>Mike and Jill Lowery</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 30 Oct 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/28551-apostle-s-creed-oration https://internationalministries.org/read/28551-apostle-s-creed-oration Big Storm Damages Our Church in Kinshasa Dear friends, <br><br>We had an exceptionally long and hot Dry Season this year. In Kikongo several of our avocado trees died and most lost all their fruit. We're thankful that the Rainy Season has started in full force up there and that the trees, and peoples fields, are already turning green again. For some this could mean a very hungry November and December. Please pray that families will be able to find the food that they need. <br><br>In Kinshasa, we had our first real storm this week and it was a big one. People are still cleaning up broken limbs and fallen trees. The storm did lots of other damage as well. Jill and I were downtown at the church when the winds started. I was watching as the wind tore at the roof of a nearby building when someone came to inform me that part of the roof of the church was gone. By now, it was raining in sheets. I was soaked by the time we got to a place where we could see the damage. <br><br>Sure enough, four of the roofing sheets had been carried away by the wind and left a gaping hole in the roof. I decided to see what kind of damage was on the inside of the church and ran across the lawn. Inside everything looked okay, for awhile. Then water started to drip out of the light fixtures. Slowly at first, and then it became a stream. Soon, we had streams of water coming out of electrical outlets all over the building. With a wet floor and water coming out of the outlets, lightning everywhere outside, I decided that was my cue to leave. We cut the power to the building and made our escape. <br><br>The storm went on into the night. In fact, the city of Kinshasa pretty much shut down. Jill, who's had experiences like this before, said that we would never get back home until the roads cleared up. She was right. Traffic was blocked for miles, so we decided to go have dinner somewhere. We settled on pizza, which was a treat for us. <br><br>After dinner we tried again to get home with no luck. We sat in traffic for one hour in the rain and moved about one block. We decided to go back towards town a pay a visit on some friends. They graciously accepted us in and we talked and watch TV until about 10 PM. We were grateful to have a refuge to wait out the storm. There were hundreds and hundreds of other people who weren't so fortunate. Many were walking home after work. There weren't any taxis. They were tired and soaked and most had a long way to go. <br><br>When we finally felt sure, we left our friend's house and headed home. But, no luck. We got back to the same place where we were before and traffic was still jammed for miles. This time we waited for about half an hour and didn't move at all. In addition to that we were getting low on gas and all the stations were closed. We needed another plan. We didn't want to bother our friends again, so we went back to the pizza place and had some ice cream. Jill knows how to handle adversity! We stayed in the restaurant until about midnight and they closed up. <br><br>Sometime in there the rains stopped and traffic opened up. We were finally able to make our way home. However, the pizza that we planned for Matt's dinner was now long cold and Matt was long asleep. We were just happy to finally make it home. (I was happy to have a little extra time with Jill.) <br><br>We got some pictures of the church yesterday. There is damage to the roof and to the ceiling. We won't know how much damage there is until things dry up a bit and we can get in and inspect everything. We had a previously planned workday for tomorrow. So, I think we'll know more by tomorrow afternoon. We really need to get the roof fixed before the rains start on a regular basis. <br><br>Please pray that we get the repairs done on time. <br><br>Pray that we can work in unity with the other congregation that uses the church building. <br><br>Pray that God will be glorified in all that we do here. <br><br>Thanks for all your support, MEL Thu, 14 Oct 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/27668-big-storm-damages-our-church-in-kinshasa https://internationalministries.org/read/27668-big-storm-damages-our-church-in-kinshasa First Trip <p>I just got back to Kinshasa from a week in Kikongo. I went up for the first week of school in order to get the students oriented to me and my “Distance Education” style of teaching. I came prepared with the class work that the students need to do while I'm absent from Kikongo and a calendar for the rest of the school year with their assignments. This style is quite unusual here in Congo, but it's the only way that I can continue to teach at the Pastor's Institute and live with my family about two hundred miles away. Now that I've been making these monthly trips to Kikongo since 2004 it's understood that this is my style and for the most part I get a lot of grace from the students and the faculty.</p> <p>This first trip of the 2010-2011 school year was different for me as well. Instead of being the first to be dropped off by Mission Aviation Fellowship, the pilot decided to drop me off last on his way back into Kinshasa. I got to tag along as the pilot picked up medicines at one stop to deliver to a rural hospital at another stop. I met a Catholic doctor who has been working in a very remote mission station for 47 years. Like all the rest of us she wonders how her work will continue when she leaves.</p> <p>At another stop I was introduced to a Congolese hospital administrator who spoke English! Not only was that very unusual, but he also had been trained as a doctor in India and had quite a few interesting stories to tell. It was a great testimony of his Christian walk that someone of his qualifications chose to live in near poverty in a very rural location in order to keep the hospital running. I can only imagine the heroic things that he's done that we will never know about. But, God knows.</p> <p>On our way back west toward Kikongo we stopped in Vanga to pick up two young volunteers who had been helping at the hospital there. Both young ladies were in tears as they were leaving behind a place and an experience that had changed their lives forever. They had been working with German doctors who have given their lives to serve the community in Vanga. One of the volunteers in particular spoke to me about the great impact that working along side these doctors in such desperate conditions had had on her life. She had trouble finding enough Kleenex to wipe away her tears as she spoke in appreciation for what God had shown her there.</p> <p>When we finally reached Kikongo later that afternoon, I was met by friends and fellow missionaries and was very warmly welcomed. It was great to be there after a long summer break and soon I was feeling quite grateful to be in my home away from home.</p> <p>The first week of classes went very well. Most of the students were back from Summer break and ready to study. The third year students especially were excited to start their last year at the Pastor's Institute. There was a real healthy feeling of excitement at the beginning of the school year and I was again very thankful that God has made it possible for Jill and I to serve Him in Congo.</p> <p>Please pray for this school year that has just begun.</p> <p>Pray for the students and their families to remain healthy throughout the year.</p> <p>Pray that the Institute will find ways to meet the financial responsibilities of the year.</p> <p>Pray that these men and their wives will be well prepared to take Jesus to rural villages in Congo.</p> <p>Thank you for your support,</p> <p>Mike and Jill Lowery</p> Wed, 06 Oct 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/27207-first-trip https://internationalministries.org/read/27207-first-trip Jill’s Update <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Greetings from Congo!</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I had a great meeting with the women this morning and wanted to give you an update on what we're doing. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I'm sure that many of you remember that our program at the Mitendi Women's Center is suspended due to the fact that someone is trying to steal our land and brought soldiers to live on our property. The court case has been going on for over a year. Our goal is to get our property back and reopen Mitendi Center by the end of September. One of our major obstacles is that the “gentleman” who built a house right in the middle of our property and has soldiers guarding it refuses to appear in court or participate in any way in the proceedings. The women have done everything to keep up the pressure to settle the case. They've had several meetings with the judge and the lawyer in the last couple of weeks. Today they happily shared with me that the judge is finally ready to move forward. He wants to look over all of documents one last time before making a decision. We really need your prayers. Corruption is pandemic in the Congo and getting this case settled without having to pay a massive bribe will require a miracle. We are praying that the government officials that we're working with will not fall into that temptation and will do their jobs honorably and justly. I will keep you posted on our progress.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I also wanted to give you an update on our Women's Restaurant Renovation Project. The women's restaurant is the main source of funding for our national women's office. Without it we would have almost nothing to work with. For years we've wanted to do renovations since the building is so small and dark. We also have many more clients than we can fit into the restaurant. Suddenly, a few months ago we received a small financial gift from a woman in the U.S. We've just finished building a paillotte (pronounced 'pie-yote'), which is like an African gazebo. This nearly doubles our seating. We also reworked the plumbing in the kitchen and built a new sink and counter. Next we'll be painting everything inside and out and will begin work on the landscape. If we have any money left we'll buy new dishes and silverware, etc. It's exciting to see this old building become new again. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The women's restaurant not only provides meals for the hungry business people in our area, it is also a place where our girls at Mitendi can receive on the job training in restaurant work. As a matter of fact, the lovely young woman who manages our restaurant is from our first graduating class at Mitendi. It is our desperate hope to reopen Mitendi so that more young women like her can be rescued from a life of prostitution. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” <i>Jer 29:11</i></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Our hope and confidence is in a God who is infinitely capable of making His plans a reality in our lives.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Much Love,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Jill</p> Tue, 31 Aug 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25216-jill-s-update https://internationalministries.org/read/25216-jill-s-update U.S. Trip Dear Friends,<br><br>Jill and I just returned from a whirlwind visit in the States. The purpose of the trip was to reconnect with friends and family and supporting pastors and churches. On the whole it was a very successful trip. Jill traveled a few weeks early and laid the ground work. She spoke is several churches and met with some pastors. After I arrived later in the States we traveled to Oregon, Washington and Idaho. We spent several days in Pasadena, CA with pastors and church leaders there. In our home town of Bakersfield, CA we were showered with love and encouragement. We felt so blessed.<br><br>Two things impressed me about the US after being away for a year. The first was the&nbsp; difficulties that some families are facing due to the economic down turn. During this year we've seen good friends loose their homes, marriages broken up and several churches struggle to meet their budgets. Everywhere we went people shared with us how hard things are financially. We are all passing through a difficult place.<br><br>The other thing that impressed me was the faith of the pastors that we met with. Several of the pastors shared of their difficult situations; but, in the same breath, encouraged us not to worry -&nbsp; they and their churches were committed to keep us in Congo. Sometimes it's in this sacrificial giving that we show where our faith really lies. God is always faithful.<br><br>I can't tell you how encouraging this was to us. Not just the promise for financial support. That was good. But the real encouragement came from the pastor's confirmation that God wants us in Congo. When a pastor tells you that he believes with you that God has called you, it means a lot. We felt affirmed in our ministries and supported by our churches. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.”(GNB) All glory be to Him.<br><br>While we were in the States we took a new family picture. I'm attaching a copy to this note to thank all of you who have supported us in the last year and to remind you to pray for us as we seek to do what God has called us to do here in Congo.<br><br>May God bless you richly,<br>Mike and Jill Lowery<br><br>P.S. – Our thanks to all the pastors that gave us time to speak from their pulpit, had lunch with us and strategized with us for the future. Thanks too to our MPT (Missionary Partnership Team) who worked hard to make this trip a success. Your support means more to us than we will ever be able to express.<br><br> Tue, 10 Aug 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/24547-u-s-trip https://internationalministries.org/read/24547-u-s-trip Songbooks for the Bible League <p>Our son, Taylor, is visiting us in the Congo. He has just finished his undergraduate degree and is working on an internship with a public health organization here. In between his assignments I asked him to help me to finish up a project that I've been working on for the Bible League here in Congo.</p> <p>The Bible League is sometimes called the Scripture Union in other places. The organization hopes to encourage believers to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and to apply it to their lives. The League publishes a yearly Bible reader with daily devotions and they encourage local churches to create Bible groups that meet weekly. It's in these weekly meetings that you find Bible believing Christians who have a serious desire to follow Jesus and His teachings.</p> <p>I agreed to create a songbook for the local Kikongo branch of our Bible League because the book of choruses that they were using was outdated and difficult to find. I figured that anything that I could do to encourage people to know and apply their Bibles is a good thing. So, we chose the best songs out of existing books, re-typed them into booklet form and printed them out. They have been a big success in helping the Bible League members to worship during their weekly meetings. We're now in our second printing!</p> <p>The effort that Taylor and I put into printing, collating, stapling and shipping is nothing compared to the value of encouraging believers to grow and to become established in their faith. Think about it. How amazing is it that there are Christians in the middle of rural Africa who are taking time out of their day to do devotions and out of their week to meet together to sing and to learn from the Bible. It's almost too good to believe. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is reaching to the ends of the Earth. Let's do all that we can to encourage that and help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in a faith that is firmly founded on the Bible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mike Lowery<br>Democratic Republic of Congo<br></p> Tue, 08 Jun 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/22823-songbooks-for-the-bible-league https://internationalministries.org/read/22823-songbooks-for-the-bible-league Footsteps in Africa Today’s missionaries are following in the footsteps of hundreds of American Baptist missionaries with innovative ministries. &nbsp;<br><br>International Ministries and AB Women’s Ministries are co-sponsoring the 2011 Mission Encounter Tour of <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/places/south_africa">South Africa</a> and the <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/places/democratic_republic_of_the_congo">Democratic Republic of Congo</a> from April 21 – May 6. The deadline to join the tour, June 30th, is fast approaching.&nbsp;&nbsp; Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!<br><br>The Mission Encounter Tour begins in Durban, South Africa with American Baptist medical missionaries, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/66">Drs. Anita and Rick Gutierrez</a>.&nbsp; They will share about their ministry training community healthcare workers and providing basic community health.&nbsp; Anita and Rick are involved in AIDS education and prevention programs.&nbsp; How would your church respond if your community was holding funerals at the rate of 60 per hour?&nbsp; That’s the devastating impact of AIDS in South Africa. &nbsp;<br><br>There are many highlights on this leg of the tour in South Africa, including meeting the women of the Baptist Association of South Africa (BASA) and the Baptist Mission of South Africa (BMSA).&nbsp; You’ll also celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at a fantastic Easter worship service at the Gutierrez’s church in Durban!&nbsp; And there may even be an opportunity for you to visit and minister to children affected by HIV/AIDS. &nbsp;<br><br>Tour participants will fly north to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.&nbsp; You’ll visit medical clinics and meet with American Baptist missionaries <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/57">Ann and Bill Clemmer</a>, and <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/84">Katherine and Wayne Niles</a>.&nbsp; You’ll learn how your White Cross supplies are hard at work relieving suffering and bringing hope. <br><br>How different would your life be if you couldn’t read?&nbsp; Missionary <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/85">Miriam Noyes</a> is the technical advisor for the Congolese Baptist organization, “Literacy for Family Well-Being”.&nbsp; She will share how this program is spreading throughout Congo.&nbsp; This program improves the health, welfare and educational success of entire families.&nbsp; Reading creates economic opportunities and combats poverty. &nbsp;<br><br>Talk with missionaries <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/75">Jill and Mike Lowery</a> about an alarming new trend on the streets of the capitol city of Kinshasa – young women being trafficked into a life of prostitution.&nbsp; See how these women are being helped when you visit the Mitendi Center.&nbsp; Built with funds raised by AB Women’s Ministries, the Mitendi Center is where the Congolese Baptist women teach sewing, health &amp; hygiene and other job skills that are vital to single mothers and young women coming out of prostitution. &nbsp;<br><br>Tour participants will also worship with local congregations in Kinshasa, sharing their faith and culture. &nbsp;<br><br>The tentative cost for the 2011 Mission Encounter Tour is $4,500.&nbsp; To learn how you can be part of this exciting trip and for more information, please call the AB Women’s Ministries office at 800-222-3872, ext. 2288.<br> Mon, 31 May 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/22680-footsteps-in-africa https://internationalministries.org/read/22680-footsteps-in-africa Easter 2010 <p>Easter Sunrise Service on the Congo</p> <p>When I woke up at 4:00 AM it was raining hard. My brain went to work on options. We had planned a sunrise Easter service on a hill overlooking the Congo river in the very spot where Henry Morton Stanley made his camp in the late 1800's. I was afraid that a torential tropical downpour might dampen our enthusiasm. </p> <p>We could try to fit everyone inside nearby Simm's chapel, which is the oldest standing building in Kinshasa.&nbsp; But, the chapel would be much too small for the crowd that we expected. Really the only option was to pray. So pray we did. The rains stopped just as we were leaving our house for the river.</p> <p>When we arrived it was still dark, but already men from the congregation were setting up plastic chairs on the hillside facing the river. The choir was there and musicians began to arrive. I wondered if people would be discouraged by the rains, but soon a line of headlights appeared on the road and families with sleepy children began to arrive. </p> <p>We began the service promply at 6:00 AM as the sun rose over the Congo river. We could see fishermen in dug out canoes casting their nets. There was a hint of a roar coming from the impassible rapids nearby. The rains had freshened everything, made everything seem clearer and cooled off the city. What a great blessing to share Resurrection Sunday with others on that hill.</p> <p>Like many pastors, I was busy up front before the service making sure that everyone had what they needed for their part in the service. When I stood up to welcome everyone and pray I was surprised at all the people who came out so early on Sunday and so close to a rain. I felt that the Holy Spirit had encouraged us all to be there on this special occasion. </p> <p>We started the service by repeating the ancient Christian creed "He has risen, He has risen, indeed". We sang great Easter hymns. The choir did a wonderful job with their special music. Charles Jones, from International Ministries read the scripture for us. Ray Schooler, also from IM, gave a very encouraging sermon on the crucifixion and resurrection from Peter's perspective. There was a show-stopping moment when, just as Ray was explaining Peter's horrible realization that he had just denied Jesus for the third time, a rooster crowed loudly from the yard next door. It couldn't have been timed better. </p> <p>After the service we had a wonderful time of fellowship with coffee and cakes. Many people stayed around for a long time just to look at the river and meditate. Others, chatted and enjoyed the company. I heard many encouraging words spoken. It was a great ending to a great Easter sunrise service.</p> <p>He has risen.</p> <p>He has risen, indeed !</p> <p>( “... You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here..." - Mark 16:6)</p> Sun, 18 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19985-easter-2010 https://internationalministries.org/read/19985-easter-2010 It’s Always Encouraging to Have Visitors <p>It's always encouraging to have visitors. First of all, our eldest<br>son, Taylor, is here. Yay! He just graduated from university. Double<br>yay!!! He now holds a bachelor's degree in English. What a blessing it<br>is to see him again after almost a year, and under such happy<br>circumstances.</p> <p>Taylor isn't here only to visit us, he's also doing an internship with<br>SANRU, a public health organization – the same one that Bill Clemmer<br>and Wayne Niles work with. He is currently working outside of<br>Lubumbashi in a village called Fungurume, about 1000 miles southeast<br>of Kinshasa. He's working with a team of experts assessing health care<br>centers and water sources in that area. Later, in June, he'll be doing<br>a mosquito netting project in the Bandundu region, where he grew up.<br>He is very excited about this adventure. He asked us to keep him in<br>our prayers, not only for safety as he gallivants around some remote<br>parts of Congo, but also for God's guidance as he embarks on this new<br>chapter in his life called 'adulthood'.</p> <p>At the same time that Taylor has been here, we've had a visiting group<br>from our headquarters at International Ministries. The group consists<br>of Rev. Charles Jones, Rev. Ray Schooler, and Lonny Bruce. The purpose<br>of their visit is to fellowship with us missionaries, learn more about<br>our work, and also learn more about the work of our host church, the<br>Baptist Community of Congo (CBCO). We have&nbsp; all known each other for a<br>long time, so it's been very enjoyable sharing meals and fellowship<br>times with them.</p> <p>My favorite part of their visit so far has been getting to accompany<br>them as they and our CBCO leaders visited various churches around<br>Kinshasa. I was lucky that they needed another translator. Two of the<br>church centers we visited were completely new to all of us. Even the<br>CBCO leaders had never been to them. They were smaller churches in<br>very very poor areas of Kinshasa. At each of these churches, the<br>entire congregations were waiting (on a Monday) to welcome us, singing<br>songs and waving beautiful tropical flowers. It was fascinating to<br>learn about their ministries. It was also a blessing to pray with them<br>and hear about the things they dream of doing one day, if God provides<br>the means.</p> <p>One of the larger churches that we visited, the Kintambo French<br>Speaking Church, completely blew us away. It is one of CBCO's oldest<br>and more affluent churches. The first thing we discovered is that they<br>are halfway through a building project. In order to accommodate their<br>growing congregation, and with no outside funding, they are enlarging<br>their sanctuary to seat 1000 people. They should complete their<br>project by December of this year. Here's the amazing part about them:<br>at the same time they are doing their building project, they have also<br>planted a church in the city of Gemena in the region of Equateur, over<br>1000 miles from Kinshasa.</p> <p>Gemena is one of the larger cities in Congo and has been the scene of<br>much fighting during the war. The Kintambo church feels called to<br>reach out in the name of Jesus and help the people of that area. I<br>could barely keep from crying when they showed us a video documenting<br>how they began with church services under a tree, then once the<br>congregation grew, how they sent building materials and volunteers<br>from the Kinshasa church to Gemena and built a permanent church<br>building (big enough to seat about 300 people). The video also showed<br>the church's first baptism and their first communion Sunday. To date,<br>the Kinshasa church has invested over $20,000 in their church plant in<br>Gemena. They continue&nbsp; to support the salaries of the two pastors they<br>sent there. In the near future they are also planning to build a<br>school and a clinic to help serve the needs of the community.</p> <p>I can't tell you how awesome it is see a local church, originally<br>started by I.M. missionaries back in 1933, not only thriving, but also<br>taking seriously the Great Commission and sending out trained<br>missionaries of their own. It gives us great hope for the future of<br>the church in Congo.</p> <p>When I spoke to the pastor, he shared that it hasn't been an easy<br>endeavor, but that they are doing what God has called them to do. He<br>said that if they are to succeed, it is by God's grace alone. I kept<br>thinking about what a huge risk they're taking – and what great faith<br>they have.</p> <p>Love,<br>Jill</p> Sun, 11 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19846-it-s-always-encouraging-to-have-visitors https://internationalministries.org/read/19846-it-s-always-encouraging-to-have-visitors Mud and Other Unforgettable Things &nbsp;I can not believe how fast this month is flying by. March has been an absolute whirlwind of church and youth group activities. I'm not complaining, though. It means ministry is happening. <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Two weeks ago we had our annual youth retreat. We took 40 teenagers and 13 adult leaders camping at Bombo Lumene, our favorite nature reserve, about 3 hours outside of Kinshasa. What an adventure and a true feat of logistics! </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We did all the usual stuff that you do at youth camp. In our free time, we hiked and played in the river. We also had camp fires, skits, games, bible study, quiet time, and worship. One of my favorite things was the kids' skits. They were hilarious, as well as informative. All of them focused on our theme for the retreat, “Clay in the Potter's Hand”, but each skit was done in a different genre (tragedy, romance, cowboy, drama, musical). We have some incredibly talented and creative kids. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The best part of the retreat, though, was the teaching time. We had an awesome guest speaker for the camp. He is a chaplain for one of the big international schools in Kenya and has tons of experience in youth ministry. His topics were perfect for addressing the issues that our kids struggle with. Whenever he spoke, he really connected with the kids. God was truly working in their hearts. It's a wonderful thing to see the kids reaching out to one another and praying together as well as with the adult leaders. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The real adventure began on the last day. Just after breakfast, the sky opened up and dumped several inches of rain on us. We had planned to go down to the river following our morning program and then head back to Kinshasa right after lunch. Funny how things can change. Instead, what we did was run and 'strike our tents' (a new phrase for me) and get everyone's belongings out of the rain. We then held our morning program huddled under a make shift canopy connected to the veranda of the cook house/cabin. Kevin, our speaker, was unfazed by the down pour and so were the kids so we carried on. Everybody was soaked by the end so we moved everyone into the little cabin for the rest of the morning where the kids huddled together and shared their testimonies. Nothing we could have planned would have accomplished what happened that morning. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Knowing that the roads were going to be a challenge on the return trip, we shared a quick bowl of taco soup, packed up our vehicles and headed out. Sure enough, not an hour from camp, our convoy came to a place where they were working on road. The detour that we needed to take had become a muddy lake and there were at least 10 vehicles stuck in the mud. There was no getting by. We were already exhausted from camp. Many of us got out to look over the situation. While we stood talking, one of our missionaries, who's car was equipped with a winch, pulled out of line and drove right into the middle of that quagmire of mud and cars. One by one, he began pulling the cars out of the mud. A crowd gathered and began to cheer each time a car was unstuck. One driver, who's car was in danger of tipping over, almost began to cry when they pulled him up on to the road. He said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! Look how you missionaries love us! I would never have gotten out of there, except you came along and helped!” Michael and I can take no credit for unsticking this man, but were glad to witness our friend Todd spreading God's love by having a willing heart and using his winch. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">After Todd had freed at least half of the stuck cars, the road crew sent a huge tractor to pull out the rest. It was a couple of hours of slow progress in the mud, but we finally got through. We were pretty much home free all the way to Kinshasa. We arrived several hours late and covered with mud – but we were safe and sound. Here's the real miracle, through it all, I never heard a single complaint from the kids. I had to laugh when, as I was standing almost knee deep in soupy mud, one of the kids said, “if this isn't a perfect illustration of 'clay in the potter's hands' I don't know what is.” Well said.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">You never know what kind of sticky situation you might find yourself in, but you can be sure that God can always use it for His good.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Much Love,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Jill</p> Wed, 24 Mar 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19399-mud-and-other-unforgettable-things https://internationalministries.org/read/19399-mud-and-other-unforgettable-things